Thanks in large part to the efforts of Teamster Local 399, the City Council is finally moving to make filming easier within Los Angeles.
At a recent meeting the Council approved a report from the Jobs and Business Development Committee, which outlined nineteen recommendations to make it easier to shoot in the city. The report was drafted by Councilman Richard Alarcón with the help of Teamsters Local 399, as well as the Screen Actors Guild, the Motion Picture Association of America, 20th Century Fox Television and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers.
The recommendations include providing tax incentives and tax breaks, opening up City of LA and Department of Water and Power property for parking and base camp locations, and working with the DWP to create utility nodes downtown. They are working to create a list of the “Top 10 Hardest to Film Locations” and working to make it easier to film in these locations, besides expanding the scope of Film LA, Inc. to include a marketing effort.
According to Business Agent Ed Duffy, the City has already begun to address some of these issues. “The Mayor and City Council are finally starting to understand,” he explained recently. “Filming in Los Angeles benefits everyone. Local 399 members get to work close to home, and they have more money to spend, which helps the local economy.” So far the City has installed one power node downtown, with two more on the way, and has identified 44 parking lots that they are going to make available in the next few months.
Secretary-Treasurer Leo Reed, who has been working closely with Duffy and the City, believes the marketing campaign has the ability to bring about the most change. “We need to educate the residents of Los Angeles and also across the entire state,” said Reed. “It is important that these residents realize that the small inconvenience of having a film crew in your neighborhood is greatly outweighed by the positive economic impact it has.”
Reed, Duffy, and Local 399 Organizer Steve Dayan have been working closely with various city agencies and coalitions on these topics. “We have been working side by side with Councilman Alarcón and Film LA to come up with a positive marketing campaign,” said Duffy, a 31-year Local 399 member and former Location Manager. The campaign will include ads on bus benches, billboards, radio and television.
“This is all about creating jobs for our members,” added Duffy. “The more of our members who are working, the better it is for our city’s economy.”