About Washington, DC
It is safe to say that every United States citizen has some familiarity with Washington, DC. The intent of this section is to set out some facts that are not normally taught or known. It is obvious where the name “Washington” came, but the name “Columbia” is from the name of the female personification of the country. Washington, DC is not a city, but a federal district created by the constitution in 1800 under the jurisdiction of congress. The district does have one representative in the House of Representatives, although without voting power, and has no representation in the Senate.
The district does have an elected mayor and a city council stemming from the Home Rule Act of 1973. The 23rd amendment to the constitution granted Washington, DC three electoral votes. Even with the Home Rule Act and the 23rd amendment, congress retains the ultimate control of the district and can overturn any local law. Besides all the legal mumbo-jumbo, the city is stunning with all of its historical monuments, architectural wonders, and sensational parks.
Production Space Options in Washington, DC
The production spaces offered range from stately mansions to trendy lofts. The commercial spaces are the traditional office and the shared-space layouts. There are studios, improved warehouse space, and built-out spaces for interviewing, producing, and stage setting.
- Equipment Rental
Washington, DC is an obvious venue for live TV broadcasting, filming, and conventions. Therefore, vendors providing the ancillary services are located in and around the district. The terms of the rental agreement can be expanded to include crew training on the technology, technical support, and troubleshooting.
It will be important to hire a catering company with experience in providing food service to a production set. The catering staff will need to understand the time schedule, the budget, and the flow of the set. On days of multiple shoots, the caterers will need to have the capability of refreshing the beverages and the menu choices. The serving style needs to be flexible to meld with any delays and early wrap-ups affecting the schedule.
The Office of Cable TV, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) is responsible for reviewing the complete application package and issuing the permit. A film permit is required to occupy all public spaces. The permit will cover all related production services and activities. Because of the DC location, there is an added layer of contact tracing for the COVID protocol.
Production Space Companies in Washington, DC
The hiring of local talent and crew members from the DC area will be an important factor in the application for tax incentives. The creation of jobs and apprenticeship programs are required to move the incentive application through the process. The production will also benefit from the local contacts and knowledge brought to the set.
- ARV Expos
ARV Expos is in the district but serves locations nationwide with A/V equipment for rent. The products for rent include LED wall screens, staging rentals, computers, and laptops. ARV supports both live and online experiences for attendees with the equipment and crew support during the production.
- Black Diamond Catering
In 1998, the newly established Black Diamond Catering was hired to cater a feature movie in Maryland. Since this first catering job, Black Diamond has perfected its menu options and styles of service specific to meet the demands of a production schedule. The client base is large production companies in the metro core.
Part of the mission of the OCTFME is to provide liaison support services to film and digital content creators. The services include location scouting, incentives for production infrastructure, and workforce placement. This office also oversees and administers the rebate fund offering incentives to production companies.
Pros and Cons of Production Spaces in Washington, DC
The pros and cons of a project must be considered and weighed together as opposed to being mutually exclusive from the others. The negative aspects of a project can be mitigated when considered with the entire scope and the final end product. Below are a few suggested items in both the advantages and the disadvantages categories for consideration.
Along with the interior spaces offered for production, there are the outdoor iconic buildings, monuments, and public spaces for scenes. From reading through the permit requirements, a permit is not needed for indoor spaces, only for venues outdoors in public areas.
The entire district has a walkability score of 76. However, Dupont Circle downtown and the surrounding areas and neighborhoods have a score of 98. From any point downtown, it is less than one-half mile to a Metro station. The district’s overall rating of 76 defines the entire DC area as “very walkable.”
More attention needs to be made to the fact that Washington, DC is known for its parks, both local and national. The district ranks third in the nation for park space in populous cities.
The district is friendly and safe for pedestrians, but not so for those transporting by car or bike. In all of the district, there are only 56 miles of dedicated bike lanes.
Production companies and others doing business in Washington, DC need to keep in mind that, when interfacing with a local government, or quasi-government entity, the chances are very good that the staff members are federal employees or at least report to a federal agency.
- Production incentives
Although the tax incentives could be up to 50% of the qualified expenses subject to district taxes, the qualifiers for these incentives are subjective. While any tax incentive is an advantage, the additional costs to the project to meet these subjective guidelines could be more than the tax reduction.
Famous Locations in Washington, DC
- DC Moonlit Tour
While the nationally known museums, monuments, and tours are taken during the day, a change would be to take a tour by moonlight. From a private luxury coach, the tour includes stops at monuments and buildings to experience the dramatic night effect. The tour is professionally guided and takes approximately three hours.
- Ghosts of Georgetown Walking Tour
Georgetown is DC’s oldest neighborhood. Today, it is a tony neighborhood and home to members of congress and professionals. However, Georgetown does have a past of supernatural occurrences, whodunnits, and mystery. The tour will last about 3 hours and quickly sells out.
- Signature Scenic Lunch Cruise
This is a popular tour and a different way to see the district sights. The lunch cruise will meander the Potomac River past the sights usually seen by waiting in lines and dealing with crowds. The Spirit of Washington has three interior dining rooms, and the tour is led by a professional guide/captain. The cruise provides live entertainment and a cash bar. This tour is very popular and tends to sell out quickly.