‘Managing fatigue’ in Vancouver’s film industry

Film business generated $409 million for local workers in 2016

12th and Cambie

So here we are in 2018.

Happy new year, everybody.

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I trust some of you were able to take a few days off, get together with family and reacquaint yourself with your couch.

Those of you working in the film industry could probably use the rest.

That’s evident after reading through the latest dump of memos and emails posted on the city’s website from city manager Sadhu Johnston to city council.

A quick stat: The city hosted 3,301 filming days in 2016, which is more than double the 1,518 days in 2015. The numbers for 2017 were expected to be equally impressive when Johnston typed up the memo in August.

Johnston’s memo was based on a report authored by Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s general manager of engineering services. Before I get to some more stats, here’s a quote from Dobrovolny to illustrate just how busy the business of making movies and television shows was/is in Vancouver.

“Based on the number of applications on file and discussion with the Directors Guild of Canada BC and local film studios, location filming levels are expected to reach close to 2016 levels for the remainder of the year,” Dobrovolny said. “Should that situation materialize, the city and its industry partners will need to assess resourcing and carefully manage capacity and fatigue while providing the excellent service on which the city has built its reputation.”

Did that “situation materialize?”

I looked for an answer to that question this week and learned a couple of things from an email I received from a communications staffer: the city’s film and special events office is still processing year-end figures; plus, the city “has not had to engage in any extraordinary mitigation efforts.”

City council is expected to get an update in February.

So while we wait for that update, here’s some interesting numbers and insight from Dobrovolny’s report in August 2017:

· The film and television industry employed 18,883 people and paid $409 million in payroll to Vancouver workers. The statistics do not include crew who worked on commercials, reality television, documentaries and independent projects.

· Warner Bros. remained Vancouver’s biggest location filming client, with 13 series and three pilots filmed in 2016. That includedSupernatural, Arrow, Riverdale andLucifer.

· Accounting firm MNP LLP produced a report in early 2017 that showed the five filming seasons of Arrow contributed more than $360 million in direct spending to the province and created the equivalent of 7,087 full time jobs.

· More than 200 commercials were produced in 2016, up from 158 in 2015. TV pilots were down slightly in 2016, from 16 in 2015 to 13.

On a semi-regular basis, the city will post memos and emails that Johnston has sent to city council. Like the one about the film industry, they can make for some semi-interesting reading.

Some readers may recall the piece I wrote last April when I learned via a memo from Johnston about how the city got rid of a rotting sea lion carcass found on the shoreline adjacent to Fraser River Park.

For the record, they burned it.

If you’re curious what else Johnston wrote about in his memos and emails to council over the first nine months of 2017, you can click here.

A quick scan shows a variety of topics broached, including a “derelict vessel” in English Bay, the removal and conservation of the Kwakwaka’wakw Centennial Pole and new 911 signs in the Downtown Eastside related to the fentanyl crisis.

Happy reading.



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