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Budgeting for Local Engagement

In assessing the need for local hires when shooting on location, we recommend budgeting for an additional role to improve your production’s engagement with the communities that you will be interacting with. Depending on the specifics of your production, you may require one individual, or a small team with strong local connections.

We invented a community outreach and sustainability coordinator on one of our projects... this included engaging the local community, organizing donations, partnering with local businesses + nonprofits, hosting filmmaking workshops (hiring folks who came) and getting any interested cast and crew involved in social advocacy during the project.
ReFrame ReSource Survey Respondent
Filmmaker Erica Lewis on set

A number of cities and states with frequent film production have ‘community liaisons’ staffed in their offices, and these individuals and their teams can provide support throughout production. Examples include Film LA’s Community Relations Programs, and the city of Atlanta’s Community Liaison program.

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These programs are an important component of community engagement. However, depending on the scope, size and subject matter of your production, there may be greater opportunities for responsible community partnership. These may include:

  • Developing or tying into existing local mentorship and pipeline programs
  • Connecting with background performers that have lived experiences with your subject matter
  • Understanding historical significance and local impact of locations used
  • Updating or customizing your workplace code of conduct or trainings based on the needs of local crew
  • Identifying local non-profits that could be film impact partners
  • Supporting local businesses and vendors that have lived experiences with your subject matter
  • Ensuring communications notices to the local community regarding filming are appropriately distributed
Shaz Bennett and cast on set

A proactive approach can also include evaluating potential locations based on the availability of diverse crew, as well as mentorship or other pipeline programs that exist locally. By communicating your company’s inclusion standards to representatives of the locations you’re considering, it can create additional local imperatives.

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