Jeanie Haigh never knows what unusual requests will come her way. In mid-July she had just a few hours to find a pair of horses and arrange for them to be delivered to a film shoot in Livermore. The pace was a little more leisurely the following week as she toured local homes in search of the ideal nursery/playroom combination for a VISA credit card commercial.
"It's part detective work and part concierge," is the way she describes her post as assistant director of the rechristened Livermore Valley Film Office, the organization that promotes the Tri-Valley as a destination for film-making. Originally an offshoot of the Livermore Chamber of Commerce, the film office recently changed its name to reflect new backing from Pleasanton and Dublin in its mission to attract the celluloid trade.
Joining forces with the neighboring cities "broadens our appeal to production companies, giving us more variety to offer," Haigh remarks. "Pleasanton and Dublin have larger office complexes that we can tap into for business or cubical space, while Livermore has more ranches and vineyards. Every time a crew moves and does a reset, it's a major effort, so the closer they can keep things together, the better."
When it comes to logistics issues - traffic control, permits, parking, and the like-having the economic development directors of both cities, Pleasanton's Pamela Ott and Dublin's Christopher Foss, on the film office board is a major advantage. "We are able to help production companies cut through red tape and streamline the process," Haigh comments, noting, "some problems can be solved with just a phone call."
Other states offer inducements like tax credits or rebates to attract film production, and the dollar value can be quite significant, she points out. New Mexico, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are actively campaigning for film business, and the fact that California has no equivalent initiative makes it hard to lure large feature productions to our area. "Crews can stay in L.A because travel costs are minimal, but to get them up here takes more incentives, so we are also working on this. Millions of dollars are moving to other states when they could stay here," she observes.
Established three years ago, the film office itself is the brainchild of its director, Dale Kaye, also President and CEO of the Livermore Chamber of Commerce, who brings in-depth expertise from long-time work in film promotion at the municipal and state levels in Florida. Livermore's Mayor Marshall Kamena and economic development director Rob White also serve on the board, as does Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.
While the office has yet to land a major feature film, an independent production will spend a few weeks on location in Livermore in October. In the meantime, Haigh fields requests for still shoots, commercials, corporate training videos, and student work. Haigh is also committed to visiting every shoot the film office arranges, ensuring that crews have everything they need while property owners experience minimal impact. Enhanced marketing efforts, including newsy updates and featured locations of the month, are in the works. For more information, contact Haigh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (925) 447-1606.
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