Although Los Angeles is known worldwide as the home of Hollywood, the film industry rarely encroaches on the daily lives of locals. Yet most students at Occidental College have seen more film crews than an average, native Angeleno. While tweets announcing Ben Affleck’s presence on campus rile up and excite much of the student body, the increasing presence of film crews serves as a disturbance to students’ daily activities.
Our residential campus is a quality, among others, which engenders the tight-knit community that defines this college. The campus is not just a place of academia, but a home for all students who attend here. Being confronted by a mammoth film crew while walking to class, or to breakfast, feels similar to having a blockade in the middle of one’s living room.
While the college makes a point of advertising the arrival of film crews via the student digest, these warnings are not nearly frequent or timely enough. Each film crew’s presence should be announced through an email which deals explicitly with how long the crew will be on campus, what parts of campus will be blocked off, and where parking will no longer be available.
If the student body is to frequently have the relatively small campus they call home disrupted, there should be transparency between the administration and the student body about the logistics of filming and the allocation of revenues. If the money from these shoots goes to maintaining the rose bushes, replace the roses with sustainable flora and get rid of the film crews. If, however, this money goes toward legitimate academic expenses, then students should have a say in the allocation of such funds.
Lastly, those who work on film sets on Occidental’s campus should be made aware that their presence on this campus is a privilege. Students are not a disturbance to a film crew; the crew is a disturbance to the students. Most community members, having never been on a set before, are unaware of film set etiquette and therefore cannot be expected to remain silent during a take or refrain from walking through a set. The boundaries of the sets are so vague, and it is so difficult to tell when a scene is rolling; thus it is no wonder students frequently walk through a shot.
If filming on campus is to continue, transparency is key. Students should know when and where shoots will occur and exactly how the revenue generated from these shoots is spent. Film crews should be informed that they are guests on a college campus, the primary mission of which is to educate its students, not be the backdrop to MTV sitcoms.
This editorial represents the collective opinion of The Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the Editorial Board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental community.