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Why London?

Okay, so most places gravitate toward big cities. Mozart and the musicians went to Vienna. Picasso and the Surrealists went to Paris.

I get that if you're born in London, you grow up there. You start writing about and build on your surroundings. It has west end for actors (mainly British, unless you do ballet) and a fairly good infrastructure. But, other places have the same things. If you speak another language, you have choices.

What I don't get is why all these European filmmakers go to London. I mean, yeah, English is the international language and all that, but I prefer taking photos up north. London's so expensive, and all these people complain that there's no British film industry anyway. It's almost the antithesis of creativity, they even adapt movies into musicals there now.

In the US, you just make films where you are. George Lucas and his buddies left LA after film school to start companies a few hours away to San Francisco. The Coen Brothers found their investors out east. Seattle, Florida, even Tucson have some kind of film industries.

Sure, London's where a lot of money is, but Hollywood was founded to get away from the money guys in New York.

I'd especially like to hear from the French, Italians and Germans who go there. I mean, all those countries seem to have strong indigenous film industries that don't just do horror and gangster films. Portuguese producers even base themselves in Paris.

Why London? What am I missing?

  • If some people say there's no British Film Industry they are living on a different planet. Despite not providing the most generous tax and grant benefits Britain still manages to absolutely dominate production because of its facilities and great depth of technically advanced and creative people, few of whom, sadly, have the time or inclination to participate with us here on Shooting People.

    The names of the entities credited as being the producers may most often be American but one ought not take everything at face value. Sony for example quite overtly owns quite a bit of it. Other and significant owners are not so overt. Not long ago I read a report that suggested that the biggest single invested interests in American movies were European pension funds, with Germany first followed by the UK; but even that doesn't reveal the full picture. Behind many big financial entities there's even bigger ones whose presence is harder, but far from impossible, to detect.

    The UK's vast and ungovernable, by either Law or Parliament, international financial assets are centred in the City of London, as opposed to the metropolis of London, whose bizarre and medieval exceptionalism is hidden in plain sight. Through deeply entrenched layers of devices, that include Lichtenstein and other offshore redoubts, the actual beneficial ownership and ultimately control of much more of the international film and media industry than might appear is in their hands. We see just the tip of that iceberg.

    Perceptions of worldly affairs from the sofas of ordinary folk reveal little, but it doesn't take the brains of a rocket scientist to see why London is so prominent.

    The UK film industry is centred in and around London for lots of practical reasons, but the whole of the UK benefits from it.

    9 months ago
  • There are conveniences that come from shooting in London - all your crew and kit are local and it makes foreign sales more confident to see red double deckers and London backdrop to establish "UK". It means you're able to save on hotel costs, the "norm" is that you don't hotel for a shoot within the M25. It's kinda perverse, but as it's a big concentration of film crew and cast, there are some savings to make there, especially on the small budgets we often have. I'd love to get more made outside London, I'm trying in fact to draw some international productions away to the SouthWest since much of the crew is flying in anyway - but they all want London.

    9 months ago
  • Vasco, To someone not from the UK and in romantic terms, London is magic. The locations alone. You can't fake Tower Bridge or St. Paul's. You can't fake that on a sound stage in LA.
    International audience's love London. I'll bet my career on bringing my take on that to the masses.

    9 months ago