Once it has been determined that your area has been chosen for a film or television production (or a part thereof), there are a whole host of things that you will need to think about.
If a press release announcing the film or television program has been agreed to between the film commission and the production company, there are times when it will also be appropriate for your area to be noted in the release as well. There is no true rule of thumb here, so discuss the current production with your film commission. While you’ll want to shout it from the rooftops that you landed a production, the producers may be firm about keeping the locations under wraps and even your jurisdiction. Once the local press finds out where filming is taking place, it can create an undue burden for the police and security guards to handle crowds, especially if there is a known star involved.
Before production arrives, this is the time when you are going to need to rally your support systems and community partners.
Always start with your jurisdiction’s government agencies. If the production is going to need to use your highways or city streets, film in one of your parks, gain permission to do a stunt, or any number of other needs, the people from whom legal and/or logistical permission is necessary must be brought into the loop.
Opportunities for your residents and businesses
This is also the time when you want to gain as many opportunities for local residents and businesses as possible. Here are some examples:
o Work with your local unions/guilds or production community to get the names and information on local crew to the production immediately.
o Find a free place to hold casting calls for extras.
o Find out what the lodging needs are and connect the production with appropriate hotels, motels, apartments or houses to rent. (In some jurisdictions, a film liaison will be required to send out a bid to all hoteliers in the region – find out what the standard ethical business practices are in this regard in your area).
As mentioned previously, some actors, directors, and producers like to find a condo or a house to rent. Connecting with realtors that handle vacation rentals and high-end rental properties can be very helpful.
Whether it is a comprehensive listing of area businesses from the local chamber of commerce or your own Production Guide, the more prepared you are with businesses contacts, the better off your local businesses will be. There are a whole host of businesses likely to be needed by the production, including: 24 hour gas stations, restaurants with extended hours, car washes, hardware stores, office furniture rentals, printers, local doctors, dentists, chiropractors, masseuses, specialty shops, and babysitting services. Others might be: auto and equipment rentals, grocers, lumberyards, clothing (new and used), art stores, junk shops, parking garages, dry cleaners. Don’t forget about all the purchases crew and cast make while on location: jewelry, art, clothes, food, gifts of all kinds.
It’s always valuable to ask for the production’s vendor list when the filming is over, as this can become a template for future productions. It is also customary to put together area recreation and shopping spots so that the people from out of town have some fun things to do on their days off.