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Property resource for film production predicts even more growth for SCV

Posted: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Actors are put in place prior to the explosion of the bus bench constructed near the Hyatt Regency Valencia Hotel.

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When Monica Harrison launched L.A. Film Locations in 2003, the Santa Clarita-based company that serves as a film location property resource for location managers, it was the perfect marriage between Harrison’s background in commercial property asset management and coming from a family of film industry professionals.

Managing the locations for well over 100 film and television shoots per year, of which many productions can shoot for 14 days or more, L.A. Film Locations is kept busy working year-round with national and international projects.
The film location company has regularly worked to accommodate TV series such as “The Mentalist,” “Bones,” “NCIS: LA” and “NCIS,” “Agents of Shield,” “The Bridges,” Franklin & Bash,” and more, Harrison said.

Between the numerous commercial, residential and retail centers with lush landscaping as backdrops, to the local movie ranches and wide open, nature land spaces, Santa Clarita makes it easy to adapt to almost any kind of look a production company needs, she said.

But, Harrison’s background in commercial property management also serves as a perfectly suited match for the local businesses who want to maintain their properties for clients.

“We’ve had an excellent experience with her,” said Frank Di Tomaso, CEO and executive chairman for the Bank of Santa Clarita. “What her company does is make sure everything is left exactly as it was when they arrived. In some cases, it (the property) looks better than it did originally. They have excellent follow up.”

Home to a rapidly growing film industry, filming in Santa Clarita in 2013 was a blockbuster success for the area referred to by many as “Hollywood North.” The city broke its own records for on-location film permit and film days for each of the last three consecutive years.

Offering incentives, lower fees and an easy permitting process, the city focuses on attracting television productions in the city to provide quality, long-term jobs for its more than 6,000 film industry residents who live in Santa Clarita – providing a local talent pool that makes filming locally attractive to filmmakers.

“We work very closely with the city all the time,” Harrison said. “They’re a huge support. The city makes it very easy for productions.”

Managing a difficult shoot in January, L.A. Film Locations worked closely with the city and the Hyatt Regency Valencia hotel to make an explosion happen in the center of town, at a newly constructed bus bench made specifically for “The Mentalist.”

“We all work together as an association,” Harrison said.

And all the filming activity brings millions of dollars in economic activity to the community, Harrison said. Also for a business, residence or HOA allowing filming on its property - that could mean a few thousand extra dollars in income, she said.

“It allows property owners to use the money for improvements, offset costs, continue expansion plans or just plain make ends meet,” she said.

When in Santa Clarita, production companies also spend money that goes directly into the local economy.

“They eat here and go to local hotels, dry cleaners, Home Depot, local paint store, janitorial and glass companies and other local businesses,” Harrison said. “I try to use as many local vendors as possible.”

And Harrison expects filming to only grow locally with the recent approval for Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch to construct up to 12 new sound stages and expand eight sound studios.

“I think there are going to be shows based there that will be looking for more local locations here in Santa Clarita” she said. “They’re not going to shoot everything at Disney. They’ll look around and filming’s going to grow exponentially. I think it’s going to be great.”

L.A. Film Locations has successfully worked with Disney, area studios and multiple movie ranches for more than 11 years now. Located in Hollywood’s “Thirty Mile Zone” makes Santa Clarita ideal for productions that need to manage their costs.

“We can get anyone situated out here,” Harrison said. “We all work hand-in-hand, and we all benefit.”

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