Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

Filming Vancouver

The requests come in emails marked, “Urgent,” and are usually followed up by an over-worked casting director, talking fast, sometimes out of breath. As an editor of a newspaper in Vancouver, Washington, I get more than my fair share of these casting notices and set location inquiries from TV and film productions from places like Los Angeles, New York and Toronto.

No matter how urgent, my reply is the same: “Wrong Vancouver.”

As you might have guessed, these companies are looking to film in that other Vancouver, long a haven for Hollywood productions drawn to its generous tax incentives, relatively weak Canadian dollar, mild winters and West Coast proximity.

But imagine for a moment: What if we were the “right” Vancouver?

It’s not such a stretch. In America’s Vancouver, it doesn’t (usually) snow all that much, and to boot (not to be confused with the Canuck “a-boot”) we’re even closer to sunny L.A. via the 1-5 corridor. Further, the allure long enjoyed by our neighbors to the north fluctuates along with the fortunes of the Canadian dollar relative to our own. And alone on the West Coast, Washington enjoys a relatively business-friendly reputation – though there are some who would argue that fiscally-hamstrung California and regulation-heavy Oregon aren’t exactly giving the Evergreen State a run for its money.

So it comes as no surprise that some in Southwest Washington are already trying to draw in Hollywood – one small production at a time. To be sure, there have been big ones too, including the teen vampire film “Twilight,” TV’s “Leverage” and the soon-to-be-released “Crowley” with Harrison Ford.

In the next issue of VBJ coming out Friday, we look at a film shoot last week at Erik Runyan Jewelers – along with a joint effort by the city of Vancouver, the Southwest Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau and the state to bring in even more.

For a region looking to diversify its economy and put more unemployed Washingtonians to work, it’s hardly a trickle, but not yet a flood. But it’s a promising start.


Ed Bisquera said...

That's awesome to hear! I for one would love to see more filming and more media production done in Vancouver SOUTH.

Looking forward to hearing more about it. Btw, will the Vancouver Business Journal be hosting a blog on their own domain soon? I was hoping to see you guys get more recognition and Google search engine juice for our Vancouver Business paper and your domain.

Thanks again for the info on the filming in Vancouver. Or aka "America's Vancouver!" :-)

Ed Bisquera
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