“L.A. will become to the entertainment industry, what Detroit signifies to the automobile industry” is Beth Kennedy’s dire prediction if new measures aren’t taken to encourage filming here.
As exec director of Entertainment & Media Affairs for the Office of the Mayor , Kennedy is expected to deliver some preliminary recommendations today to members of the L.A. Film Development Committee, in her first speech since taking office 60 days ago.
She will deliver the address at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City to various reps from production companies.
Based on the text of Kennedy’s speech today, which was made available to Daily Variety, the local film czar has three objectives for her term: access, in terms of easier communication with her and her office through personal voice mail and pagers; attitude, in terms of increasing customer service and relations; and opening up dialogues, by providing regular meetings with industry reps.
For example, a fire department and safety roundtable discussion is scheduled on Dec. 8.
Kennedy says in her speech that she has begun to review procedures and logistics, including documenting procedures for film and video permits in a reference manual, reducing complex procedures for street and lane closures and posting requirements, and expanding office operating hours.
Promoting the positive
Her office is also implementing a PR campaign to promote the “positive aspects and desirability of L.A. continuing as the world’s entertainment capital ,” she says.
Kennedy says L.A. is losing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars due to projects, particularly TV movies, filmed elsewhere.
She lists other reasons for “runaway production” as “creative snobbery,” or the perception that L.A. is overused by filmmakers; the perceived higher costs of filming in L.A., and the “perceived ease” of dealing with unions in other states because of more flexible rates.
“This is a difficult job, but not an impossible one,” she says in the speech, attributing one problem to the sprawling nature of the entertainment industry itself. “There is no single entity called ‘The Entertainment Industry’ which agrees on any set of problems, issues, and priorities.”