Film shoots boost business
December 18, 2009
My name is Charley Case, and I manage the Annabelle Inn in Aspen. As a local business manager, I have been following the discussion among the county commissioners regarding the permit process for filming in Pitkin County. I urge the commissioners (and the city government as well) to ease regulations, deadlines and fees. In my humble opinion, our community is not feeling a negative impact from filming. We could bear a little more.
In early December of 2006 and 2007 the Annabelle Inn hosted commercial film crews. They left after their 2007 shoot saying they loved the Annabelle Inn and Aspen but would not be returning because of the difficulty dealing with the local governments. Clearly the “not seeing that we do a lot wrong” view as expressed by Commissioner Hatfield is wrong.
The state film commission did not make the trip to the county meeting to give the county a pat on the back. Perhaps, helicopters should be limited, not eliminated. Maybe, fees could be mitigated through discounts offered for taxable dollars spent in Pitkin County (kind of a TDR for Hollywood). We should be looking for what we can do that would be better and not settling for “not doing a lot wrong.”
The loss of one commercial being filmed here is extensive. The Annabelle Inn has lost about 45-50 room nights a year (minimum), caterers lose three or four days of lunches, restaurants lose a few hundred dinners, taxi drivers a few fares, and the list goes on. Those are all taxed services that could have put thousands of dollars in the coffers – for only one commercial. Ask the waiters, housekeepers, taxi drivers and chefs if they would have liked a few more days work this month.
Production companies do not choose to shoot here on a whim. They know that our views, town and culture appeal to buyers. In a not too surprising corollary, those people also visit or may visit Pitkin County and Aspen. How many impressions and dollars have been lost due to the indifference to filming here? Ask the marketing experts at the chamber how important these can be.
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The time has come to stop not doing much wrong, and start doing more right. If the county machine can create a level playing field, local business will do the footwork to bring these productions and their dollars to town. A vote to ease restrictions, deadlines and fees is a vote for jobs and income.