Film, TV productions on campus yield thousands for campus coffers

Daily Sundial

A Sharpie commercial was filmed on campus Dec. 2, again turning CSUN into a film, television and commercial location through agreements that bring thousands of dollars to the university each year, according to the university’s liaison with the productions.

The Biscuit Filmworks production company shot a short commercial for the permanent marker-producing company on campus, which was scheduled to last between four and six hours.

The three facilities that were rented out for the commercial were a Redwood Hall locker room, Oviatt Library Room 25 and the Klotz Student Health Center, according to Karla La Rosa, facilities and trademark licensing manager at the University Corporation.

The reason it was filmed on a Friday is because that’s when there is the least amount of traffic generated on campus, La Rosa said.

Three areas will split $1,500 in revenue for the shoot, including the Student Health Center. CSUN police, Physical Plant Management personnel, and Parking Services were also paid for their services.

“Whenever we shoot commercials, television shows and movies on campus, we try to make sure as much as possible that none of these get in the way of academic programs or life,” she said. “The students and faculty always come first, and the outside companies second.”

The company shooting the commercial agreed they would not interfere with student life on campus. It waited for a class in Oviatt Library Room 25 to finish before it used the space for filming, La Rosa said, adding that it was a contractual agreement.

The same went for shooting in the Klotz Student Health Center and Redwood Hall, she said.

CSUN liaisons were at the three locations to moderate and monitor the production.

The production was scheduled to be off campus the same day.

“Normally, that’s how commercials are,” La Rosa said. “They don’t take too much time on campus and usually finish in a day. Movies and TV series, however, obviously take a lot more time.”

The filming of an episode of the CBS drama “Criminal Minds” last summer took about one week. The money made from the filming of “Criminal Minds” was dispersed among several departments on campus, La Rosa said.

La Rosa said that while she is in charge of negotiating and giving the contracts to the companies that film on campus and a TUC employee, TUC does not get all the money.

The money paid by the productions goes to Parking Services, Physical Plant Management, CSUN police, and liaisons that helped work through the event.

In “Criminal Minds,” for example, Parking Services received about $5,700, PPM received $2,200, and CSUN police received $2,691 for their services, she said.

TUC then took 10 percent of the amount left, and the rest went to CSUN President Jolene Koester’s office for allocation.

The reason for some of the fees is that when a production is shooting on campus, a police officer and PPM electrician must always be present, as well as a liaison, she said.

“Obviously these companies need a place to park all their trailers, cars and other vehicles, which cost money,” she said.

All the rental charges, fees and insurance costs are the same for all companies, La Rosa said.

“We want to be fair when renting out our facilities to anyone,” La Rosa said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re an outside company.”

The only time the fee is lowered is if the rent space is a collaborative work with students, faculty and other organizations on campus, she said, adding that forms must be completed.

The four main factors in allowing for an outside company to film on campus include availability of the facility, no interference with academic programs and classes, paying the appropriate rental fees, and purchasing insurance.

Jessica Liebling, junior CTVA major, said she considers filming on campus inconvenient.

“It’s not exactly distracting, but I sort of find it inconvenient at times,” Liebling said. “When they block off sidewalks and other areas – I really don’t want to get in their way because they have a job to do. It’s exciting yet inconvenient, but I wouldn’t make too big of a deal about it.”

Ahmed Bouguarche, a French professor from the Modern and Classical Languages Department, has neutral feelings about companies filming on campus.

“These films bring money to the university, so it’s something you can’t go against,” Bouguarche said. “Sure, it’s a little bit distracting with all the trucks in the way and everything, but I think it’d be better to take advantage of summers, winters, and weekends when most of the people are out of class.”

Mark Solleza can be reached at