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Filming Deal Nears Greenlight; Rewrite Still Offers Downtown Perks

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2008, at 04:27PM
Downtown Filming Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A commercial films on 7th street in this file photo from August, 2007.

The rules for filming in Los Angeles may come out of turnaround this week, as the city's chief administrator pitches a new revision that includes some major rewrites. Studios declined to greenlight the piece last fall, but are likely to be more receptive now that the city's taken some of its demands off the term sheet.

On Thursday the city council's Public Works committee will consider a revised draft Request for Proposals (RFP) on the city's contract for film coordination services. The Chief Administrative Officer prepared a first draft last year, but nearly a year later the RFP has still not been approved to go out.

The RFP covers film permit coordination, notification and complaint resolution. All three services are currently handled by FilmL.A., Inc., whose contract expires at the end of the year.

Downtown's increasing population has created conflict between residents and film crews, who for decades have used the neighborhood as a heavily-shot backlot.

The new coordination contract would create service level requirements that should improve the filming experience for Downtown residents. While this draft still offers a significant improvement over current conditions, it substantially weakens similar dictates set in a version of the document produced last fall.

Rules on notification time in the new RFP are much softer than they were in the first draft. Shoots that require a community service are required to turn in their application five days before activity starts, instead of ten. Those that require street or lane closures see their lead-time cut from one week to five or three business days, respectively. Notification of residents and businesses is now required 36 hours in advance, instead of the 60 hours in the first draft.

Overall, though, the terms of the RFP should serve to provide an ample framework for filming conflicts to be lessened. By codifying requirements as city policy, the new contract should allow residents and business owners a much more concrete set of expectations.

The target schedule would have the draft RFP out to potential responders by Thanksgiving. Final responses would be due at the end of January, 2009. A new contract would not be executed until April 30, 2009.

The current FilmL.A. contract expires December 31st, but the city has two 60-day options that would extend it until the new contract date.

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