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Still Feeling All Lit Up

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2005, at 02:17PM
Movie Lights at Night Eric Richardson [Flickr]

I'm in Day 3 of my saga trying to find out the permit information for the shoot that's lighting my apartment every night.

To briefly recap, I called the EIDC Monday and was told I would be called back. I wasn't. Tuesday I called back and was told they couldn't find me in the call log. The girl took down my information and told me that the coordinators had already left for the day (it was indeed only a few minutes before the end of their office hours), but that someone would call me in the morning. But they didn't.

So just now I called again, and spoke to a very friendly girl named Amy who promised to look into it and make sure someone called me today. And just before I went to post this, I did get a call back with the name of the location manager. The girl from the EIDC only gave me information on the nights they were permitted to film, though; she didn't have anything helpful on how a shoot gets permission to light a building. So now I get to call "Kei" and see what I can find from her.

Update (5pm): I just talked to Kei, the location manager for the film that's shooting, and she was very nice in explaining the process. After the jump I'll add what I learned from her.

It isn't as if I'm angry. I just want to know what the shoot was given permits for, and if those permits included lighting up a residential building into the late hours of the night (three nights now they've been on when I've fallen asleep, visible through my blinds). If the permit does include that permission, I want to know if the owner of my building signed off on it. If he did, I want an answer from him. If he didn't, I want an answer from someone else. All I want is to know who to get annoyed with.

My favorite bit of irony last night was seeing one of the lighting guys taking a nap on the roof of the smaller building next to the Palace. He had a full spread with pillow and sleeping bag. His choice of sleeping spots may well have been darker than mine.

The Location Approval Process

I just talked to Kei, location manager for the film. She explained that the film company will go to the building management to get them to sign off on location shooting. That includes any building in the mandated periphery of the shoot (500 feet from filming, 200 feet from parking). I asked her what sort of specificity they bring when they're getting approval for a shoot, and she indicated it varies and that often they don't know exactly where, for instance, they're going to be throwing lights until the director is on-set.

So now I'm especially curious to see what was signed for our building, and who signed it. The apartment manager told me the other day he didn't know what was going on with the filming, but somebody had to sign off.

I understand why apartment managers are allowed to sign instead of requiring that the shoot go door-to-door and survey tenants. The latter would be a bit of a mess logistically, and there are always going to be people who just object to everything.

At the same time, though, the current system is broken. By placing a third party in the process you create a situation where everyone can pass the onus off to someone else. The film company can say they got building approval, and the building management can say they didn't see notification, and all the while the resident has no way to say who's right.

The EIDC may be changing its name and moving Downtown, but until it enters this century and starts using technology to make the permitting process more transparent to the community, I can't really welcome them.

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