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Film crews working in residential neighborhoods are a part of life in Los Angeles, but sometimes the productions cause inconveniences for homeowners who must endure parking shortages, noise and large crowds.
A production planned in the residential neighborhood south of Beverly Boulevard and east of Pan Pacific Park caused some concern among neighbors last week when a homeowner unveiled plans to film a cooking show inside a residence at 106 N. Vista St. The production company, Ready Freddy Productions, is planning to film a show titled “Cooking” at the residence, with filming tentatively lasting through the end of August or early September. The show would focus on resident Debi Mazar, who has an Internet cooking program, and would largely be filmed inside the house and inside a truck parked outside.
The production was granted permission to complete some pre-production work at the site on August 5, but Ready Freddy Productions had requested a permit to film through September 3. Todd Lindgren, vice president of FilmLA, said the permit was originally denied, but after a survey was distributed to residents near the production site informing them about the planned filming, many residents responded favorably. Lindgren said Wednesday that FilmLA was going to issue Ready Freddy Productions a two-week permit — running from August 12 through August 26 — if the fire department signed off on the permit. FilmLA would then review the situation afterwards if more time is requested.
Ryan Carroll, the location manager for Ready Freddy Productions, had no comment. But local resident Gary Drucker, who lives on Martel Avenue and whose backyard is adjacent to the backyard of the production site on Vista Street, said he had major concerns about the filming. Drucker said there were large trucks parked all around the neighborhood, and construction noise coming from his neighbor’s backyard. Drucker admitted that the problems have largely subsided and most of the trucks are gone, but added that he is still concerned about how things will go during the next two weeks.
“I haven’t seen a lot of vehicles around lately, and apparently they have decided to scale it back” Drucker said. “I think the issue will be now whether they will obey the terms of the permit.”
Lindgren said the production company will be allowed to have a catering truck parked on the street and a mobile home will be parked next door, which is being allowed by a neighbor. The issue of crew parking was solved by requiring them to park in a lot near the corner of La Brea Avenue and 1st Street. Production will be allowed between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., which is standard, according to Lindgren, who added that any intrusions should be minimal. Also as standard procedure, neighbors will be notified at least 24-hours in advance of filming. Lindgren added that the situation is an example of how the neighbors and production companies can work together to come to an agreement that satisfies everyone. He said FilmLA uses surveys to determine how much of an intrusion a particular production may have on the surrounding community. The survey is distributed to businesses and residences within a 300-foot radius of the production site, and responses are evaluated by FilmLA officials. Lindgren said it is not a majority vote, rather a case-by-case evaluation of the impact a production may have on the individual residences within the area. He said more consideration is given to residences that are next to a site than those on the fringes.
“The survey is a tool for residents and merchants to give feedback. It’s taken under consideration and used to evaluate the potential impacts that need to be addressed,” Lindgren said. “It’s a good faith effort to address all the concerns. As long as all reasonable concerns have been addressed, we will move forward.”
Lindgren said in the case on Vista Street, many of the nearby residents originally complained about the number of trucks in the area, so the production company was required to find an alternative place to park. He added that a majority of the residents changed their responses to the survey after they saw the problems had been resolved, which allowed the permitting process to go forward.
Paul Michael Neuman, a deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, said the council office received some complaints about the production on Vista Street, and that staff members worked with FilmLA to address the concerns. He added that it is important to balance the impacts filming have on neighbors with the economic benefits productions bring to the city.
“We heard from the community in regards to their concerns, and we worked to come up with a solution that was good for everybody,” Neuman said. “The community understands that filming is a crucial industry. What happened seems to be some good dialogue occurred, and that an agreement was reached.”
Jim O’Sullivan, the president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA), added that the MMRA created a filming policy where the Fourth District Council Office would ne notified by FilmLA when production permits were going to be issued in the area, and the council office staff would notify the MMRA at least four days in advance of filming. The policy also stipulates that productions with numerous trucks would have to find off-site parking instead parking on residential streets. O’Sullivan said the policy is a non-binding agreement with the Fourth District Council Office, but has resulted in fewer problems in the Miracle Mile.
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