Montrose mulls changes for filming shoots

Merchants in Montrose are mulling ways to better accommodate a burgeoning demand for their location from production companies who have been flocking to the area for its quaint setting.

On Monday, NBC’s “Awake” shut down the first block of Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park for much of the day and a commercial shoot could close off a block all day later this month. The easternmost block of Honolulu Avenue, especially, is popular with film shoots because of its high density of small shops and restaurants.

Current rules limit filming to between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., since shooting during business hours could negatively impact businesses. But for the right price, that could change, Montrose Shopping Park Assn. board members said Thursday.

Although many on the board said they were against changing the rules, some said they wanted to review the money-generating potential of film shoots before making their decision.

“It doesn’t hurt to hear what people have to say,” said board member Jake Menachian, owner of Critters.

The association currently is paid between $1,500 and $3,000 for film shoots, depending on their impact, according to the group’s 2005 film guidelines. For the “Awake” shoot, the group got more than $3,000 because of the extra time involved, said Steve Pierce, the association’s filming liaison. He declined to say how much more.

Money earned from film shoots goes toward advertising and promotions for the shopping park. In 2011, the association made about $20,000 from film shoots, according to its 2012 budget.

“It’s a fine line,” Pierce said. “We have to understand filming is important for Montrose, and on the other hand we’re a business community.”

Merchants that are directly impacted are supposed to negotiate compensation deals with production location managers, but not everyone knows that, Pierce said. Nor do they know how to negotiate.

The filming guidelines suggest merchants ask for $100 to $750 per day.

Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon a Time Bookstore, which is often in the middle of a film shoot, said she negotiates a price, but sometimes film crews do more than location managers promise.

“I think as long as merchants are compensated fairly for what they actually did, and not what they think they’re going to do, that’s fair,” Palacios said, adding that actors used her shop to apply makeup recently, something she wasn’t prepared for.

Kirk Gelsinger, owner of nearby Zeke’s Smokehouse, said he likes the excitement film shoots bring, adding that merchants can make more money off a shoot then they normally would on a slow day.

“As a person who just had his restaurant rented out for a whole day because of a film shoot, I’m happy,” Gelsinger said.

But only those within 500 feet of a film shoot can be compensated. Andrea Beatty, owner of Village Travel Services in the second block of the shopping park, said she may not be directly impacted by a shoot, but if the first block is closed, customers are impeded from reaching her storefront.

“They block access into my block and I don’t like that,” she said.
 
 

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