Highland Park resident Kendra Ware frequently gets stuck in traffic when film crews take over York Boulevard. A performance artist, Ware is supportive of the industry, but she wishes the city would release a phone app that alerts neighbors to film shoots.
“You grin and bear it,” Ware said of the city's constant film shoots. “It's like traffic. It's just a byproduct of living in Los Angeles.”
Tensions between residents and production crews are common in Los Angeles, where the entertainment industry regularly shuts down city blocks. But as city officials seek to curb runaway production, both residents and entertainment workers believe that more needs to be done to soothe relations.
Kei Rowan-Young, a Los Angeles-based location manager and scout who worked on “Django Unchained” says she's seen local homeowners get angry about losing their parking, or shop owners complain about a loss of business.
By contrast, locals in small towns outside L.A. are thrilled to greet production crews, Rowan-Young said.
“It would be great if every community welcomed us, and said, hey, this is good for us,” Rowan-Young said. “I don't think (L.A.) people in general think about that. They think, ‘How is this affecting me?' They think, ‘(I) can't find parking on my street.' ”
In some cases, Rowan-Young has reached out to the local homeowners association, which sometimes will ask for donations to help ease tensions.
In Hancock Park, where the neighborhood's elegant mansions are film stand-ins for East Coast residences, donations are suggested.
Cami Taylor, film liaison for the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, declined to reveal how much film crews had given her group in recent years. But the funds have been sufficient enough to help with tree maintenance and local school beautification, Taylor said. Given the city's budget shortfall and inability to provide those services, donations were crucial for her neighborhood's upkeep, she said.
When neighbors call to complain about shoots clogging streets or flooding lights, “We explain that the company was very generous,” Taylor said.
Filming is so ubiquitous that Los Angeles residents take the industry for granted, believes Ed Duffy, business agent for Teamsters Local 399, which represents casting directors and location managers.
“Everyone thinks it's great that it is here, but no one wants it around the corner from me,” Duffy said.