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For $1,929, Mayonnaise Commercial Gets Carte Blanche Over Garfield Park

Should film companies be allowed to push park visitors around?

Who gave this man permission to sit on a tree? (Photo credit: Ajay Singh)
Who gave this man permission to sit on a tree? (Photo credit: Ajay Singh)

Every day, scores of South Pasadena residents and others come to Garfield Park to exercise, relax, picnic or just hang out. On Wednesday morning however, the leafy, rose-studded seven-acre expanse of public land was transformed into something of a movie set as film crews went about shooting what they described as a mayonnaise commercial for the Dish network.

While production trucks hogged parking spaces along the park’s western edge off Mission, crew members went about their work as if they owned the place, telling visitors to stay clear of certain areas that formed the commercial’s backdrop.

As it happened, the crews did “own” Garfield Park—for the day. According to Joan Aguado, the city’s film liaison, the production company paid South Pasadena $530 for a one-day permit fee, $199 for business improvement tax and $1,200 for renting the park from 7 a.m. till 3 p.m. (at the rate of $150 per hour).

The total fee—$1,929—is considered “average to high” for a city, says Aguado. “In Los Angeles, including very tony neighborhoods like Hancock Park and Pacific Palisades, you can film for 10 days for somewhere around $700,” she said via e-mail, adding: “The parks have a flat [fee] of $450/day rather than an hourly [charge]. Pasadena is similar to us. If you ask production people, they will tell you that we are expensive.”

While that’s terrific for the city’s coffers, you have to wonder how all those moms felt when they were forced to push their strollers away from the film camera’s view.

Correction: The initial version of this article mistakenly identified the city's film liaison as Jane Aguado. Her correct name is Joan Aguado.

Ajay Singh January 16, 2014 at 04:06 PM
Many thanks for the correction, Toby Muller. The fault is mine for misspelling Joan Aguado's first name as Jane.
Paula January 16, 2014 at 05:42 PM
I know what the city "spends" on all these film shoots. LOL
GenXsurvivor January 16, 2014 at 05:44 PM
The people complaining here simply have nothing better to do. Please go about your business. Ignore the whiners. Personally, when I see South Pasadena in films, TV shows, or commercials, it reminds me how "cool" of a place we live.
Runner2you January 16, 2014 at 10:23 PM
I like to see the filming taking place. It means people are working locally in Los Angeles. Industry tends to bring more traffic. If no commerce were taking place, it would be very quiet indeed. You can't have everything.
Betty Jean January 17, 2014 at 12:13 AM
Such sanctimonious drivel. I personally have no problem with film crews. Except for maybe the arrogant attitudes some may display at filming time and in this thread. ;)

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