Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Filming Closes Intersection, No Compensation To Drivers

Every time my life is interrupted by filming, I want a place to send a bill for the distraction and time lost. This happen most recently on Sunday, October 31. A traffic safety commercial with a fake accident scene complete with volunteer state police officers was filmed at Girard and Indian School Road NE in Albuquerque, north of the University of New Mexico.
My problem with filming disruption comes from two places. First is the idea that the government grants a privilege, a monopoly, for the use of an area for a while and if I don’t like it, that’s tough. In economics this privilege comes under the idea of rent seeking. Second, I am already subsidizing the private enterprise doing the filming through the state’s 25% rebate. It’s double rent.
The rent idea and the duration of the disruption, hours or days, makes the filming situation different from, say, waiting five minutes for a truck to back into a warehouse dock along Broadway NE in Albuquerque.

In this case, I knew about the filming thanks to a heads-up email from an organization that had vehicle access affected by the filming. Early Sunday afternoon, as I walked from this organization, I saw the crew setting up, noted the situation and continued walking.
Hundreds of others, maybe a few thousand (I don’t have traffic counts), had to have been much less relaxed about the situation. They didn’t know about the filming, which went on into the evening. Driving by, they saw three or four vehicles with flashing red lights and a couple of smashed vehicles. “What the hell was that?” would be the normal reaction.
Also, the film company’s choice of location blocked the usual route of choice into and out of the neighborhood, thereby increasing stress and danger. The intersection is preferred because it has a light, allowing drivers to avoid playing dodge-car with speeders who hit up to 55 mph on Indian School Road.
Thanks to Mark Bralley for the photos and the insight that the offers were volunteers. Their service is appreciated.

No comments: