How Much Does it Cost to Shut Down a Road for a Film Shoot?

What film production companies have to do to take over a Vancouver street.

November 22, 2016

By Stacey McLachlan / Photo: Byron Eggenschwiler

Have you ever booked a restaurant for the night to host an intimate gathering of your friends and frenemies? Yes? Can I add you on Facebook? What I’m trying to say is you’re in a position to understand how film production companies take over a Vancouver street. Essentially, it’s just cost recovery without a premium fee. Yes, you’ve got to pay for an application ($100), a film permit ($150) and a street permit ($150), as you do for any type of shoot, but there’s no special charge associated with shutting down the road: you just have to buy out the parking meters and pay for the city staff who are changing signs or directing traffic. Gregor and Co. aren’t losing their regular revenue stream, and Water Street looks like a sweet deal to the producers of Air Bud 17: Wimbledog. Win-win!

vm1216-traffic-byron-eggenschwiler
Although, even with these bargain-basement prices, it’s pretty incredible that any movies get filmed on our mean streets at all, given that there are strict rules that make road closures a crazy logic puzzle. You can’t shut down a thoroughfare during a business day unless access is assured to retailers and alternative driving routes are available. Oh, and transit still needs to be maintained somehow. And typically it can’t be on a major street during rush hour. And if you really, really, really can’t provide an alternate route, you can only film for three minutes within every 10-minute block (unless you can sweet-talk the VPD). Also, if too many other things were filmed there recently, they’re going to say no. But don’t worry: if you can’t manage to stake your claim on the viaduct, there’s always the green-screen room at the VPL…and that one’s free.

Got a question for City Informer?

stacey.mclachlan@vanmag.com
Twitter: @vanmag_com

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