Of course the early years of film traces its history to Europe. But when filmmakers decided to set up shop in the United States, New York seemed the logical place. Back in the silent days of filmmaking, it wasn't uncommon for a "studio" to have a glass ceiling to let as much light in as possible. Or to film without a roof.
Of course to anyone who is familiar with The Big Apple, not having a roof can prove troublesome during certain parts of the year.
With so much filming occuring outside, or without cover, California was thought of as the new perfect destination. Near year round sun, very little development with wide open space. So the decision was made by some to head out west. In fact, they went so far west that they reached the Pacific Ocean.
But, for some, Hollywood wasn't the first destination. It was San Diego. The sleepy little town just a matter of a few miles from the border seemed like a filmmakers dream come true. The beach and ocean were within sight, the "city" was still small enough that filming in rural areas meant a short 10 minute drive, and mountains and deserts were close by.
There was one small problem, however. The city didn't want any filmmakers and "actor types" loitering around.
With today's classy celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsy Lohan and Tom Sizemore, it's difficult to believe there was a time when actors were thought of as being no better than common prostitutes. Granted there were celebrities who caught the eye of the general public, but for highbrow types, actors were not welcome.
So moved north they did, and, well the rest is history.
Of course the great thing about Southern California is the near year round sun. The bad thing about Southern California can be, at times, the year round sun.
Today a fire broke out in the Griffith Park area of Los Angeles. While a fire may not seem like a big thing to some, out here it is a big thing. Los Angeles, San Diego and the surrounding areas are primarily desert communities. There has been, of course, a great deal of development, water brought in from other states, green lush landscapes abound and water sprinklers irrigate lawns, schrubs, trees and the like. But for a city the size of Los Angeles, you would be surprised at how much undeveloped land there is.
And it's that undeveloped land that doesn't get water. No rain, equals dry brittle brush. Of course when the rare rain does drop during our short "winter" months, sometimes it does more harm than good by providing nourishment to those shrubs, which, later in the year, dry out from lack of water, and become prime tinder for an errant spark, or as is reported in this case, a carelessly discarded cigarette.
I only recently wrapped a project that was both fun, and a little frustrating to cast. It just seemed like one obstible after another would fall in our path. But all those things were dealt with, and everything seemed to be set to go. That is until today. The first location for filming was the Griffith Park area.
I understand filming permits have been revoked in this area for the time being. Our production schedule doesn't have us there for a few more days, and were told at one point that things should be back to normal by then, but with news reports that the fire ended up being more extensive than earlier thought, production is now scrambling for a back-up. And, you might be surprised that Los Angeles has a lot more rural areas all within a few minutes drive from downtown. So a back-up shouldn't be hard to findd.
As of this writing, no structures were lost in this fire, and you can bet I'm happy for that. And in thinking about all things I have to say I think Los Angeles was a great choice for the movie capitol of the English speaking world. Even with its lack of rain, fires and Paris Hilton.
I'm glad Hollywood is Hollywood.