The entertainment industry is a hard field to navigate, and I am excited to be a part of The Media Chronicles to assist others along the way!
Whenever you come across a street that’s blocked off for filming, do you get annoyed or excited?
Back in freshman year of college, my friends and I were still very new to the concept of a celebrity sighting. So when my friend’s mother said Bored to Death was filming on the block of her hotel, we ran the eight blocks like our lives depended on it. The series hadn’t even aired yet, and while we were all fans of Jason Schwartzman, I think we were just excited to witness the event take place. It was a short scene: Jason crossed the street in crane-simulated rain, vintage cars parked on either side. So much work for such a brief a moment. We stayed until wrap at 2 AM. We were the last fans there, so Jason came over and introduced himself. The whole night felt magical.
This of course was more special in October of 2008. Special, not only because I was new to New York City, but because since that time the rate of NYC-based production has increased significantly. Financial incentives have encouraged many more production companies to film in the actual city as opposed to on a set that mimics it. Each year the neon-colored posted signs that block off parking for filming pop up more and more. From 2002 to 2011, film-generated income for NYC has shot up 70%, bringing in $7.1 billion in 2011 alone, according to an economic impact study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. (You can read this “backstage” article for more info.)
“Made in NY,” an initiative from The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting is what brought film culture back to New York in recent years. However, this department offers more than incentives; “Made in NY” hosts a number of engaging and informative panels each year that are open to the public. There is also a production assistant training program, an accessible list of all series and films currently under production with the specific production company’s name attached, and very straight-forward information for those of you who are curious about filming your own low-budget pet projects. To see for yourself, check out the “Made in NY” website here. For many like myself, “Made in NY” allows you to do more than witness the magic: It allows you to be a part of it.
Don’t live in New York City? If you are in or near a large enough metropolitan area, a quick web search will get you to your city’s film office page. Reach out to the department. Find out ways you can get involved with your city’s film industry. Whether you’re attempting to find your next job in the entertainment industry or you’re interested in filming on your own terms, reading up on your city’s production policies and accessing the tools your city has created for you will certainly help you along the way.