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September 5, 2016

The deal: LA County's contract with FilmLA, Part IV

Think back to the last time you purchased a plane ticket, signed up for insurance or installed new software. Did you actually read, carefully read, the terms and conditions before you signed up? I'm guessing that more than a few of you, like me, just shrugged off the job of studying that a legal-length page of small printed gobbledy-goop with this consoling thought: "How bad could it be if everyone does it?"

I'll suspect that's just what happens when the film company's "authorized company representative" puts his or her John Hancock on the approved filming permit. Chances are good it's been awhile since they read the LA County Terms and Conditions that accompany each filming permit. Who would blame them? You must have that permit. You aren't going to negotiate with the County. And, you're probably busier than the fried-Twinkie vendor at the state fair So are you going to wade through four pages of stultifying legalese? Doubtful.

So, perceiving a need, AF has once again muddled through the small print to try to fill the gap.

Is this the actual active FilmLA contract?   I can’t say for certain.  But, it’s likely to be pretty close.
Here’s why:
  • This version of the contract was used for public hearings in 2009 when FilmLA was awarded a sole- source agreement. (A meeting may not have happened.)
  • The contract has the signatures of both the President of FilmLA and the LA County counsel.
  • The 2104 renewal of the FilmLA amendment says all terms and conditions “will remain the same.”
To see the 2009 FilmLA contract, click here.
To see the 2014 renewal amendment, click here.
So what's in the contract?
This posting is part 4 of an ongoing look at the contract FilmLA signed with LA County to become the provider of film permits.

In a nutshell, FilmLA is obligated to provide the four following county services:
  1. Coordinate and process film/still photography permits and fees for onlocation motion picture, television, and commercial production events
  2. Coordinate the issuance of film/still photography permits in a manner that balances the needs of, and attempts to mitigate the impact of productions on, area neighborhoods and merchant districts (my emphasis)
  3. Provide the County reports on a quarterly basis
  4. Market and promote the County to the entertainment industry
Item #1, item #2 and item #3 were summarized in previous posts. This will cover one of the contractual terms that appear in item #1: the LA County Terms and Conditions.

FilmLA is required to attached the LA County Terms and Conditions to every permit. In our view these Terms and Conditions are seriously lacking in levity, so AF will attempt to address this shortcoming by providing its own, unofficial variant.

Note: for those who would rather read the actual Terms and Conditions click here and search for "Exhibit U."

AF's Unofficial, easy-to-read reinterpretation of the
for people like me

For the purpose of this document, "We" are FilmLA and "You" are the film company.   Now that is out of the way, We can get on to the good stuff.

We have authority to issue the permit but that doesn't give You permission to use a location without getting the permission of the owner. And, by the way You will need proof that you do have permission because we just might ask if you have it.

You better have this permit in your possession when you're on location. If we request it or if the public requests "it and must be made available for inspection."

If You want, We can change your permit with a "Rider." The rider only changes what the rider says. Nothing else changes. By the way, You must attach the Rider to the original permit — the whole is the just the sum of its parts.

You just agreed to comply with all laws unless the permit says You don't have to. Incidentally that includes parking regulations.

This permit isn't worth the bits used to generate this image on your screen if You don't have the right insurance.

By the way, if something goes wrong, We are not responsible. So if there's a law suit, You are responsible for defending FilmLA, the County Supervisors and anybody who works for the County that might have been caught in the crossfire. Oh by the way, that includes any and all damages. (Oh yea, if there was gross negligence when We issued the permit, there's an exception. Don't count on it.)

No freebees. You have to pay first before you get either a filming permit or a rider

If You get caught doing any of the following, We can suspend, revoke, cancel or amend your filming permit:
  • You unnecessarily endanger health or safety
  • You are about to damage to some property
  • You are violating the conditions of the permit
  • You aren't minding the "Filmmakers' Code of Professional Responsibility." or the following do any of the following:
    • Arrive before the time on the permit
    • Depart after the time on the permit
    • Move someone's car without their permission or the cops approval.
    • Ignore the parking signs or the parking conditions on the permit
    • Park your cars on both sides of the street without specific authorization on the permit
    • Trespass on someone's property
    • Cut trees or shrubbry without permission.
    • Leave trash, cables, porta potties or other detritus before the permit expires
    • Don't try to keep the noise levels as low as possible
    • Smoke outside designated smoking areas
P.S. We can suspend, revoke, cancel or amend your filming permit without being liable for the repercussions.
P.S.S. If things get bad, We can also deny giving You future permits.

Quite a list! If they ever need to use it, FilmLA has a very big hammer.

But, holding a tight reign on film productions would be a tough assignment for FilmLA; they would be playing rough with their very customers and as Harry Selfridge, of Masterpiece Theater prominence, famously said, "the customer is always right."

Incidentally, enforcement of the Terms and Conditions is the job of FilmLA. If for some reason, enforcement appears to be a problem, contact FilmLA on their 24/7 line: 213-977-8600. If that fails try appealing to the on-site law officer. If that fails, you're probably stuck. You might consider contacting the Altadena Filming Committee ( Alternatively, You might consider taking your concerns directly to the LA County Manager responsible for monitoring FilmLA's contract. But, as far as I know, no one has ever felt the need to go there.

1 comment:

  1. This is very helpful, as have been all your blog posts that help demystify the process and the various roles and players involved in filming in neighborhoods.