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Taking It to the Streets: Caution on Location: Production Companies Will Go to Plan B If Riots Return to Los Angeles Next Month By Kathy Tyre

LOS ANGELES – Production companies have set up contingency plans for lo

Mark Thomas, executive producer with Tobin Film Co./L.A., had to calm client Leo Burnett/Chicago with an elaborate plan for an April shoot that will stretch from the West side of L.A. to the warehouse district downtown. Thomas didn’t offer details, but others reported he will establish alternate locations in the San Fernando Valley, have key personnel connected by radio, and establish a list of contacts in case of an office evacuation.
Other production executives said that since last year’s unrest they’ve made it a policy to avoid filming in all parts of the city that were affected by violence. David Dryer, director with Dryer/Taylor, L.A., which used to scout locations in East L.A. and downtown areas regularly, no longer goes to riot-affected locales. Dryer has also begun to pay close attention to the routes required for employees and clients to get to locations and where equipment trucks are left overnight.
Familiar with those concerns, city officials said there is little reason for alarm. ‘We are not anticipating any violence,’ said Beth Kennedy, executive director of the office of entertainment industry affairs for the City of Los Angeles. Between 75 and 115 film, TV and commercial companies shoot on the streets of L.A. each day, according to Kennedy. Requests for location permits are not down for the month of April, she said.
Meanwhile, at least one insurer has come up with a benefit plan should the worst occur. Chubb Insurance made available for a limited period, coverage for ‘civil authority extra expense claims,’ payable if a curfew is imposed, or if a production company is forced to shut down production because authorities restrict access to affected areas, according to Sarah Legan, assistant manager of the entertainment department for DeWitt Stern, a local broker/agent.
Not all production companies see a need for such caution. Brian Ewing, Luna Pier Films, Santa Monica, Calif., isn’t making any provisions, despite the fact Luna Pier was forced to evacuate a shoot during the riots last year. ‘I would like to think that I can rely on the system (city law enforcement) has put together,’ he said. ‘We’ve got to find faith in our environment here.’
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