Jonas Brothers Show Inspires Film Law Amendments
Daily commercial filming fee could increase after 10 days of taping in Montville.
Not long ago, The Jonas Brothers were making teenage girls melt with their music and Disney Channel television appearances. Now, one might argue, one of them helped inspire an ordinance amendment in Montville.
Township Administrator Victor Canning said he noticed some inadequacies in the filming ordinance Montville had on the books after a request came in for filming of a charity event. The event was a Bocce tournament in which proceeds would go to Lance Cpl. Adrian Simone, a wounded Marine from the township who lost both his legs in an Improved Explosive Device (IED) explosion in Afghanistan.
But then Canning said he realized the taping of the tournament was to be used in the pilot episode of a new MTV show, "Married to Jonas," which follows the lives of Kevin and Danielle Jonas, of Denville. While the fundraiser was technically nonprofit, the show is profitable and Canning began to consider the township's ordinance.
"As I was looking through it, I realized that the existing ordinance had some inadequacies," he said.
Namely, those wishing to film in the township did not need to fill out any sort of application. The ordinance also did not clearly specify where the fee should be paid for filming in the township and did not clearly define what those fees were.
Having worked in the Township of Belleville, where filming requests are filed frequently, Canning said he has experience with filming ordinances and felt Montville should update their ordinance. Additionally, he recommended the daily fee for filming after the first 10 days be increased. The new ordinance was introduced at the June 26 meeting and received the support of the township committee.
Under the introduced ordinance, those wishing to film will have to fill out an application, which includes fees as follows: commercial filming, $200; nonprofit filming, $100 (with the exception of educational nonprofit filming, for which the fee would be $25); and "other" filming for $100. Additionally, commercial filming would cost $500 per day for up to 10 days and $750 per day for every day after. Nonprofit filming would cost $100 per day (educational, $25 per day) and "other" filming would cost $200 per day.
Canning said he felt that increasing the fee for commercial filming after the 10 days was more appropriate.
"In all fairness, these movie companies make a lot of money," he said.
The commercial fees would not only apply to movies, but television shows and advertising commercials as well. What is not included in the introduced ordinance is filming on private property, but Canning said he also hopes to address private property filming, as he believes it can cause issues for a municipality.
"I've learned through experience that even on private property, it becomes an issue for the township," he said. "Large crowds start to gather and there's crowd control issues."
Canning noted other possible issues, including increased garbage pickup needed for debris, trailors for crew members being parked along streets for an extended amount of time, and more.
"There are times where ... it now becomes a financial burden to the community," he said.
The applications will also allow the township to know who is filming and for what purpose. Canning said he is unsure whether the township would or could reject any application based on the purposes of their filming, but that it is something to be considered.
Television shows starring Montville residents, such as "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," which stars Teresa and Joe Giudice, of Towaco, and Joe and Melissa Gorga, of Montville, had been taped prior to Canning working for the township and he was unaware of whether applications were filed and what fees were charged. He also said that since the township has been discussing the ordinance amendment, the township has received several more requests for filming on private property.
The township committee will be voting on the ordinance at its next meeting.