TV Series: Lifetime shot a portion of a pilot for a TV series that is “set” in San Diego about two women detectives working for our San Diego Police Department. The decision on whether the network will pick up the TV series has not as yet been made.
• NBC sent a five-person crew to San Diego for two days to film a segment for LX TV Open House showcasing several businesses in the Gaslamp Quarter and nearby condominiums.
• The History Channel selected San Diego to film “Back in my Day,” which shot in Chula Vista and several other locations in San Diego.
Commercials: A Los Angeles company spent five days at a La Jolla oceanfront estate filming a commercial for Calvin Klein. To minimize the impact to the community, the San Diego Film Commission required the production team to park most of its larger trucks and vehicles at a remote parking lot. Local company, Corporate Helicopters, was hired to provide expert aerial photography assistance. Fifteen local crew people were hired and the rest of the production team booked 310 room nights split between two La Jolla hotels.
• A Connecticut production company spent two days in San Diego filming a web-based commercial for Diageo Stirrings, which markets cocktail and beverage mixers around the world. They filmed inside several local bars and dining establishments in Pacific Beach, the Gaslamp Quarter and Old Town. The production team recently finished filming segments in New York, New Orleans and Boston. While in San Diego, they focused on the local’s favorite margarita mixes. They booked 18 room nights at a Pacific Beach hotel.
• GMC just finished a four-day shoot in San Diego. Locations used were Mesa Grande Road, Highway 79, a construction site in Carlsbad and several streets in and around downtown San Diego. Ten local crew people were hired to work on the project and 84 room nights were utilized.
• Several production companies have contacted the SDFC regarding potential car commercials and scouts. Due to the holidays, they will probably wait until after the first of January.
Reality Shows: Discovery Studios spent nine days in San Diego filming episodes of its television program, “Home Made Simple.” Families in Ramona, the city of San Diego and San Marcos were chosen to receive expert advice from the TLC show’s handyman, designer and chef. Each of these individuals works with the family to devise simple solutions for easy living. Three local crew people were hired and supplies were purchased at several local vendors — and the rest of the production team booked 63 room nights at a corporate housing location.
• Recently, Wheat Thins was in San Diego to film at the Big Kitchen. The storyboard was about someone who won a year’s supply of Wheat Thins. (I wonder how many that is?) The Big Kitchen was the location where the winner was revealed.
Documentary: A Toronto company sent a production team to San Diego to film a documentary about a local murder investigation from several years ago. Four local crew people were hired and the rest of the production team booked 22 room nights at a downtown hotel. In addition, the project contacted the local San Diego Police Museum to use its 1996 Crown Victoria patrol car to match the period when the investigation took place.
Music Videos: A local production company filmed a music video for a local recording artist in Ocotillo Wells and also a business just east of downtown San Diego. The San Diego Film Commission assessed community impact and required that all nearby businesses be notified in advance of the project.
Travel Shows: Saigon TV spent three days in San Diego getting footage in Balboa Park, Old Town, the Gaslamp Quarter and Pacific Beach. Saigon TV is based in Westminster, Calif., and specializes in travel, events and news segments of interest to Vietnamese Americans.
Educational Films: Pearson, Inc. from Arizona spent three days in San Diego filming an educational video at several locations around the city and port. The finished video will be used as an educational tool for fourth-grade social studies programs across the country. Locations included Cesar Chavez Park and pier, the Embarcadero Marina Park North, Balboa Park and La Jolla Cove.
• A local production company filmed a video for the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) at several locations around the city, including Balboa Park, Pacific Beach and the Gaslamp Quarter. The final product will be used as a “welcome” video for students and staff at the local schools in the SDCCD.
Corporate Films: A local production company was hired to film a video for the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau at several locations around the city of San Diego and Port of San Diego, including the San Diego Bay, Balboa Park, the San Diego International Airport, the Convention Center and some of the businesses in downtown San Diego and La Jolla. The spot will be viewed by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) convention in Las Vegas in January. The video will help to encourage PCMA members to book San Diego venues throughout the next year. The video will also be viewed on the Web to attract more business visitors to San Diego.
• A local production company filmed a corporate video for Life Wave at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla.
Print Advertising: Miami-based Paragon Productions shot four days in private homes and the beaches for the clothing company Limited Brands.
• Local photographer Ken West was busy shooting for the athletic brace company Breg, Inc., as well as doing some editorial work for the Sharp Experience magazine.
• Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Shannon Greer Photography and Metal Monkey from Ontario, Canada both spent a week in San Diego shooting for the Canadian clothier Mark’s. Locations included Little Italy, East Village, Balboa Park, La Jolla and Embarcadero Marina Park.
• San Diego Productions spent a busy and varied month producing projects for Ford Motor Company, a catalog for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, plus a shoe catalog for Vaneli Castalia shoes. Locations for these projects ranged from a residential neighborhood in Chula Vista to Torrey Pines State Beach, including icon locations such as Embarcadero Marina Park, Seaport Village, downtown, Balboa Park and La Jolla.
Reading scripts: The SDFC receives scripts from TV projects as well as feature film projects. We are asked to read them and let the filmmaker know if San Diego can accommodate their project. We will break down the scripts by days of filming, locations needed, evaluate stunts, pyrotechnical stunts, use of weapons and community impact.
Sometimes we will scout some locations to see if we, in fact, have what they are looking for and we may check with law enforcement and fire to see if any part of the story could be problematic.
Next, we try to lure the location scout to San Diego so they can see the locations that might work for the project first-hand. We will try to create a workable budget for them. The script becomes a road map of what the production wants to film and their goals in achieving their end result. Stephen, the SDFC’s assistant director of production, is presently reading a script for a mystery that takes place in a remote forest location. He is looking at locations that work well for this project in addition to determining what needs to be done to make sure the scenes work for the communities and assessing the impact to those areas. For example: Are there weapon being used? What action takes place? Are stunt professionals needed? Is a weapons master needed? He will also collaborate with law enforcement and fire to make sure this scene is filmed safely.
Cathy Anderson is the film Commissioner and CEO of the San Diego Film Commission — which is supported by the San Diego Tourism Marketing District, the city of San Diego, the San Diego Unified Port District and the County of San Diego.