In response to the state’s film production tax break, a record number of TV and movie crews have scouted NYC locations for shoots. The mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment issued 149 location permits for 72 projects to film between March 9 and March 15 alone. And as reported by Crain’s, studios will pay residents hefty sums to rent their apartments or homes for shoots. While this can be quite profitable for those occupying the property, with location managers doling out anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 per day, some neighbors are tired of the inconveniences these projects create on their block.
Image courtesy of the Office of Media and Entertainment
While New York City boasts some pretty great scenic backgrounds for filming, the state’s incentive program also entices studios to film here; a 30 percent tax credit is available for production expenses as well as a 30 percent post-production credit for local productions who don’t qualify for the former credit. Studios send location managers to explore a neighborhood that fits their project and then will leave notices in the resident’s mailboxes for places that may work. Those interested, usually around 50 to 60 people, will contact the studios and the director will then visit the locations before picking one. Whichever location gets chosen, which may even include driveways and front stoops, residents will be able to negotiate rental costs, income that is considered tax-free if the project is completed within 14 days.
Shooting in Greenpoint, Brooklyn continues to gain in popularity for many studios. Tina Fey’s show, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” paid a Greenpoint homeowner about $1,500 to shoot on her brownstone’s front steps. Rolf Carle, a woodworker in Greenpoint, started a Facebook page that lets neighbors share information and vent about the shoots taking over their streets. According to Carle, as many as 50 shoots occurred in a single week in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, sometimes filming until midnight.
While miffed residents have called 311, the city’s complaint hotline, many have yet to get adequate responses from officials, and even resort to calling the police about late-night shoots and lack of parking. To deal with the complaints, city officials have put some blocks on a hiatus list, which prevents filming there for a certain period of time. According to the city’s film commissioner, Julie Menin, there are on average 1 million calls to 311, with just 100 about filming.
At 800 Riverside Drive in Washington Heights, the Grinnell apartment building has appeared in many notable TV shows like “Law & Order” and “Orange is the New Black.” In 2013, a Corcoran broker, Bruce Robertson, made about $15,000 from renting his pad to the ABC show “666 Park Avenue.” In addition to the lack of parking, neighbors on the block had their cars towed unknowingly. To appease the neighbors, Robertson and others hired a truck to serve free waffles and bought tree guards to protect trees. But after one too many complaints, the city stopped issuing permits for shoots around the Grinnell in 2015.
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