Los Angelenos, Londoners and Manhattanites are used to seeing movie and television shoots in their neighbourhoods and workplaces.
From the iconic Santa Monica Pier, which has featured thousands of times on screen, through to the financial district – where Pacino and De Niro blazed up West 5th St in heist movie Heat's classic final gun battle – location filming is part of Los Angeles' historic fabric.
The city's Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works recently further streamlined the process to approve road closures for filming, indicating the priority the local authority puts on the tens of billions the screen industry contributes to Los Angeles' economy each year, and the jobs it supports.
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Across the Atlantic, Daniel Craig's latest Bond movie began filming on location at numerous sites around London in June. As with the previous two Bond outings, location shoots are temporarily closing some of the capital's most hallowed streets and bridges, including Whitehall, Embankment and Horse Guards.
It's all part of having a thriving screen and creative industry, along with the spin-off economic benefits. There is a significant tourism aspect, too, as international fans visit places where their favourite shows and movies were filmed – drawn to experiences featuring memorabilia, costumes and props, and themed rides.
But it worries me when big productions wanting to come to Auckland say that it seems harder to get location shoots across the line in Auckland than it is to block off a street in Manhattan. In an industry so based on word of mouth, that kind of perception will hurt our chances in the global marketplace.
Known as "Hollywood North", and with a resume of dozens of TV and film productions, Vancouver's wider screen industry delivered an economic impact of NZ$3.9 billion in 2017/18 and supported the employment of more than 60,000 workers.
Vancouver – which isn't much more populous than Auckland – has more than 250 businesses that directly serve screen production, including 65 film studios, 30 post-production companies, and 100 animation and visual effects companies.
Like Auckland, Vancouver consistently rates among the world's most liveable cities and its creative sector contributes to its reputation as a hip, cosmopolitan place to live, work, invest in, and visit.
Auckland can realistically aspire to emulate renowned, but modest-sized screen production hubs such as Vancouver and Albuquerque.
Statistics NZ's latest screen industry survey (2017/18 financial year) revealed that Auckland's screen production and post-production industry earned gross revenue of more than $1b for the second straight year – including an estimated $315 million of international investment.
Auckland's screen and creative sector has grown at an average of 6.2 per cent per annum in the past five years – a growth rate only outpaced by construction (8.5 per cent), tourism (7.7 per cent) and retail (6.6 per cent).
In Auckland, the wider screen sector employs about 7400 people in quality jobs and supports about 1800 companies. Screen production/post-production alone employs about 3500 people across 1600 companies – many in the screen heartland of Auckland's west.
We already have world-class talent and capability, and state-of-the-art facilities; the public and private sectors are collaborating successfully on scaling up infrastructure and on initiatives to grow our skills base.
The filming of Warner Bros/Gravity Pictures' The Meg in Auckland in 2016 was the catalyst for the development of privately owned Kumeu Film Studios – a facility that transformed our region's screen industry. Hot on The Meg's heels came several other significant international productions which all added to the region's reputation as a production destination.
Major productions typically directly employ hundreds of people, many spending discretionary income in the area around their studio base. The productions spend a lot with Auckland's props makers, special effects and visual effects companies; and with local suppliers of materials such as timber for set building, additional security if using locations, rental equipment such as generators, food for staff on site, and accommodation for visiting crew and cast.
During The Meg's production here, 13,300 accommodation nights were spent in New Zealand; 87 per cent of the 909 crew, and 14 heads of departments were New Zealand residents. The Meg employed more than 2200 New Zealand extras.
Hopefully, as it continues to grow, Aucklanders can appreciate the industry's value and embrace all that comes with being a busy screen destination.
When big visiting productions are in full swing, there may be times when it's busier than normal around our studios; and on-location shooting may require occasional road or public space closures.
ATEED's screen attraction specialists play a key role, in collaboration with the New Zealand Film Commission, in bringing productions to Auckland.
Saturday's announcement that Netflix Originals is filming its anticipated new television series Cowboy Bebop here – based at a converted warehouse in East Tamaki – is a significant milestone.
The global media giant's production will be the largest budget television series ever filmed in our region and will provide substantial new direct and indirect economic value, and jobs.
Netflix plans to showcase Auckland's cityscapes and landmark buildings alongside the actors, and that is exciting news for our region. But in return, Auckland should show Netflix true manaakitanga (welcome and respect).
In recognition of the screen sector's huge value, Auckland Council is committed to a film friendly approach. While Screen Auckland works with Auckland Transport and local boards to minimise impact on businesses, the public and sensitive environments, it's important we ensure productions have a great experience and continue to spend and create jobs here.
A good example was last year's downtown location filming for Guns Akimbo, when Harry Potter fans got the chance to glimpse Daniel Radcliffe in his latest movie. That required the closure of Customs St, and other traffic controls.
As Auckland comes of age as a world-class screen destination, I hope Aucklanders fully appreciate the industry's value to our entire region and embrace everything that comes with being such a sought-after destination.
• Pam Ford is the general manager of economic development at ATEED