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19 Ways that Could Bring the Film Industry Back to L.A.

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Photo by Tamsin Slater via Flickr


Photo by Tamsin Slater via Flickr
On-location shoots for advertisements may be on the rise, but filming in Los Angeles has been on the downtrend for some years now, thanks to incentives that lured shoots to Alabama, New York City, Canada and elsewhere. That might be good for complaining neighbors, but it's not for the larger picture that is Los Angeles' economy. "There is no single issue that keeps companies from filming in Los Angeles - instead, it is a death by a thousand cuts, each cut being a policy or practice that makes it harder to film in our City.," said Councilmember Richard Alarcon.

So in an effort to entice the industry at-large back to their home, the L.A. City Council approved 19 measures, for better or for worse, that will hopefully turn things around. None of the measures are immediate, but they include looking at opportunities in tax incentives and breaks, free parking at city facilities, utility nodes throughout downtown (to spare neighbors of generator pollution) and better community relation. The full list, provided by Alarcon's office, is below.

1. DIRECT the Business Tax Advisory Committee (BTAC) to evaluate a
business tax credit for building owners that allow the exteriors to be
filmed for free.

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2. DIRECT the BTAC to evaluate a business tax credit for building
owners that allow interior filming for a “reasonable rate.”

3. INSTRUCT the Office of Finance to report to the Jobs and Business
Development Committee in 30 days on the feasibility and fiscal impact of
a sales tax refund for purchases made for filming within the City when
at least 75 percent of the shooting is done in the City of Los Angeles.

4. DIRECT the Department of General Services (GSD) and Los Angeles
Department of Transportation (LADOT) implement a free parking program,
except for the cost of providing security, in all available City parking
lots after business hours and during weekends and further DIRECT the GSD
and LADOT to report in 30 days to the Jobs and Business Development
Committee, with the assistance of the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA),
in regard to said free parking program.

5. DIRECT the BTAC to evaluate a proposal to provide business tax
incentives to private parking companies which provide parking to film
shoots as a “reasonable rate.”

6. REQUEST the Council President and Chair, Jobs and Business
Development Committee, to send a letter to the Los Angeles Department of
Water and Power (LADWP) requesting that the LADWP create three power
utility nodes as part of a pilot project in Downtown Los Angeles that
film production companies can use in lieu of generators.

7. REQUEST the LADWP to provide free parking/base camp use for up to
one week under LADWP power lines and further REQUEST the LADWP to report
back to the Jobs and Business Development Committee with a map of
locations.

8. DIRECT the Film Industry Parking Task Force to report back to the
Jobs and Business Development Committee in regard to partnering with
other government entities to find additional parking opportunities.

9. REQUEST the Council President and the Chair, Jobs and Business
Development Committee, to send a letter to all Councilmembers asking for
them to designate one staff person per office that is the film contact.

10. DIRECT the City Administrative Officer (CAO) and CLA to collect,
distribute and place on the City website a list of each of the City
Department contacts regarding filming.

11. DIRECT the CAO and CLA to work with film industry location managers
to create a “10 hardest to film in” location list and further DIRECT
the CAO and CLA to report back to the Jobs and Business Development
Committee in 30 days with solutions to identified problems.

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12. DIRECT the CAO and CLA to work with FilmLA to develop a process
whereby FilmLA can manage vacant City property.

13. DIRECT and REQUEST the CAO, CLA and City Attorney, as appropriate,
to prepare and present an ordinance whereby the Los Angeles Police
Department (LAPD) can legally enforce properly permitted film shoots to
include making it illegal to disrupt a properly permitted film shoot.

14. DIRECT the CAO, with assistance of the CLA and City Attorney, to
review the draft contract for FilmLA and to look for opportunities to
increase FilmLA’s role in marketing the film industry to City
residents and to act as an ambassador between the City and the film
industry.

15. DIRECT the Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) to report back
to the Jobs and Business Development Committee within 30 days on its
film policy and with said report to include cost and availability of its
locations; the film coordinator for each location; and the discrepancies
found between locations.

16. DIRECT the RAP to report back to the Jobs and Business Development
Committee within 30 days with recommendations on how to make it easier
to film in RAP locations.

17. DIRECT FilmLA, which is currently creating a comprehensive location
website, to include on that website a list of City properties, City
incentives, contact information, parking and base camp locations and
costs and further DIRECT that said website should highlight locations
outside of the Downtown area in areas where there is less filming.

18. DIRECT the GSD to report back to the Jobs and Business Development
Committee with a comprehensive list of vacant City properties that will
update the list that was prepared in 1996.

19. [ADDED BY FRIENDLY AMENDMENT] DIRECT the City of Los Angeles work
with the Los Angeles delegation of State Senators and Assembly members
to create a strategic plan to keep film production in Los Angeles.