Hollywood’s Secret Extortion Problem

Project Casting

“Los Angeles is known as the extortion capital of the world for the film industry” 

Extortion is defined as the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. Something that Los Angeles is too familiar with.

Los Angeles is currently facing an uphill battle in the film industry. The city is facing competition from other cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans, and Wilmington due to larger tax incentives in the respective cities. But, that is not the only thing that is hurting the former film industry capital of the world. According to reports, extortion is becoming a major problem in Los Angeles.

Read More: Another TV Series Leaves Atlanta to Film in Los Angeles

According to a recent report from Deadline.com, producers are required to pay the city of Los Angeles a permit fee. But, that is just the start. In a recent commercial that was filmed in Los Angeles, one business owner describes how he charged producers $12,000 to film in front of his business.

The producers had paid FilmLA more than $1,600 in permit fees, but Gilmore wanted them to pay him, too. His location agent, Richard Wynn, had sent the shoot’s location manager, Jeff McSpadden, a contract and a letter demanding $12,000 for the right to film in the street and on the sidewalk outside the café — both public spaces. [Deadline]

Los Angeles film Czar Rajiv recently commented on the incident saying, “Los Angeles is known as the extortion capital of the world for the film industry.”

But, this is not something new. According to Los Angeles Police Chief, Charlie Beck this is something that has been an ongoing problem. “These monetary demands are separate from the legitimate negotiations between film locations and private property owners to film on private property,” he wrote. “Rather, these are illegitimate demands by business and property owners related to filming that is entirely on City property.”

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Read More: Los Angeles Steals a TV Production Away from Georgia

It is reported that the LAPD, City Council and the City Attorney‘s office is making an effort to cut down these practices. Which is something that should be the utmost concern for the Los Angeles mayor who recently declared war against other cities trying to take productions away from Los Angeles.

“Keeping film and TV production in Los Angeles is an urgent priority for our city,” City Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Film and TV Production Jobs, told Deadline.

“I’ve heard horror stories from location managers who suffer extortion at the hands of someone looking to make a buck off a film shoot. They threaten to disrupt the shoot if they don’t get a payoff. We need to take a hard line against that kind of criminal behavior.”

Read More: California Bill Pushes for Additional Film and TV Tax Credits

Currently, Georgia plans on expanding their tax incentives which will increase the number of productions filming in the state. On top of that, producers will not have to worry about being extorted. If Los Angeles wants to become the film industry capital of the world once again, they will have to start by breaking old habits.

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