Hollywood is getting a little closer to Orange County, with a little help from Liz Ervin.
As producers have begun to look for areas beyond Los Angeles for prime location shooting, many companies have found that Orange County can provide everything from mansions to slums.
That's where Ervin comes in.
The free-lance production coordinator has been running her own location-search firm, Pacific Location Search, in Laguna Niguel for six years. She has scouted locations for small independent filmmakers and for major studios, including Warner Bros.
She gets about five calls a month from producers in Los Angeles, usually with a specific request, Ervin said, such as a large house on the ocean with a swimming pool and a dock.
"A lot of people request very non-California looking buildings or residences," she said. "I get a tremendous amount of requests for no palm trees, no stucco, no tile--they don't want to travel back East, but they want something that looks like back East, or the Midwest. And Orange County is very convenient."
Ervin often finds her locations by driving around the county, or she recruits the homes of friends and neighbors--she most recently persuaded her doctor to let a production company use his Cape Cod-style house. (Production companies always pay residents when they use their homes.)
Ervin is also sometimes responsible for finding certain types of people for producers, which can be a challenge: She remembers trying to recruit 20 bicycle riders, all more than 65 years old, for an IMAX film she worked on a few years ago.
Ervin has just published the sixth edition of Encore, a film resource directory that covers Orange and San Diego counties. The directory provides information about free-lance production crews, production companies, equipment, support services and permits. Producers must obtain a permit from each city before filming there.
Many cities make the process of getting permits so difficult they discourage producers, Ervin said. Garden Grove, for example, has a 30-day waiting period. But in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, companies can receive a permit within a day.