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Filming resumes in Santa Monica during COVID-19 closures

Published on November 10, 2020

It’s the Ferris wheel seen ‘round the world’ and it could be all yours for your next production.

Since releasing guidance for film production in June, FilmLA reports that they have issued over 1,200 film permit applications from nearly 1,000 unique projects. While these numbers represent just half the volume reported a year earlier, the permits being issued are a sign that Hollywood is getting back to work in Los Angeles. Although most amusement parks in California remain closed as part of state-wide efforts to limit people’s potential exposure to each other, the iconic Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier is now prepared to host Hollywood productions, location shoots, and commercial productions.

A growing trend during the pandemic closures is the ability to shoot in large, public venues at quiet times where exposure risk can be minimized. While the Santa Monica Pier is now open 24-hours a day, the rides inside Pacific Park’s remain closed to the public but the amusement park is available for film and video productions that seek locations for boardwalk, carnival, and beach scenes. Pacific Park has been a popular location for many feature films, TV shows and music videos and the crew is experienced in accommodating any production needs.

Filmmakers are now required to comply with health protocols outlined in the Health Order amended by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health last updated on June 12, 2020, and are subject to further amendment. Current orders impose requirements on film productions regarding workplace social distancing, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), hours of filming activity, regular sanitation and employee testing. The protocols do not limit the size of productions in terms of people, beyond what is safe and practical for social distancing in a confined space.

The County’s recommendations also include scouting potential filming locations virtually whenever possible. Location scouts can see the amusement park and Pier on Pacific Park’s live-streaming webcams anytime of the day or night. A virtual tour conducted via Zoom can also be arranged through the Park’s film and location department.

For Pacific Park, filming comes naturally; in 1997 a star was born as the first Hollywood production took place around Pacific Park and the Santa Monica Pier with the filming of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Other productions include TV’s Modern Family, American Idol, Private Practice, and New Girl; feature films such as Iron Man 2 and Think Like a Man; television commercials for the NFL, Tostitos, Nike, and Xbox; still photography shoots with Roar Clothing, Nordstrom, Time-Life, and music videos featuring Chris Brown and Keith Urban.

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier offers amusement rides, midway games, an oceanfront food plaza and beach-side shopping. In addition to the Pacific Wheel solar-powered Ferris wheel, Pacific Park’s signature rides include the current West Coaster roller coaster and Inkie’s Air Lift Balloon Ride, the high-flying, family-sharing kids’ ride. Continue reading for information about filming at the Santa Monica Pier.