Creative projects change frequently, and in so doing, demand careful focus and oversight. Having just four production people on staff at the Film Commission to cover the San Diego region is inadequate, and yet we are efficient.

Students last year decided, since they were on private property, they didn’t need our oversight. They filmed after hours in a bank, (with permission of the bank) emulating a bank robbery with masks and guns. It didn’t take long for a witness to see the bank lit up and the scene of a robbery. No one noticed the cameras. Police showed up with their guns drawn and it was a miracle that no one was killed, since the students appeared armed with their masks in place.

We followed up with visits to film classes at all our universities and colleges explaining that teachers needed to read scripts before sending students out to film on location and that we urged them to use us at the Film Commission in their process. Our process mandates reading and breaking down scripts for liability, risk, safety and community concerns, all of which would have labeled this project in dire need of assistance and oversight. Film Commission staff ask about weapons, licensing, insurances, and experience with weapons, not to mention the oversight of a weapons expert or master. Law enforcement would be crucial to any project such as this.

We support workforce training and we see student filmmakers as our future customers and want to equip them with the best training we can provide. Many of our student filmmakers have gone on to be professionals in this industry and we are very proud of that.

CATHY ANDERSON

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