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Don’t like movie shoots? ‘Get over it,’ says worker: The Fixer

Boy, did we throw gas on the fire by writing about a woman’s bus stop encounter with bossy film workers.

Our Thursday column was about a note from Karen Newton, explaining how she was shooed away from a shelter at a TTC stop on the Esplanade by two film shoot workers, one of whom wrongly told her the bus wasn’t coming.

It prompted an outpouring from readers who are fed up with ceding public space to film production — Frank Kelly described a shoot on his street as a “war zone” — and don’t care if a big star is on the set.

But the most outrage came from film workers, several of whom said they’re always nice when dealing with the public, while others seem to think the benefits of film production outweigh all else.

“Don’t like it? Get over it,” said Rudolph Mammitzsch, claiming that people who harass film workers are no less a problem and that our column was “lazy and insulting.

“Sure, there are idiots in the film industry, but there are idiots in every industry,” he said.

“Most of my fellow workers . . . try to be congenial, helpful and accommodating when we can. We don’t like being harassed and yelled at in our place of work.”

Deanne Andrews, who says her husband works gruelling hours in the film business, thinks we should give more weight to the “tens of thousands of jobs that the film industry brings to Toronto.”

“Film productions are intricate, complex and extremely time-sensitive; it is not just about catering to the actors with their fancy BMWs or whatever.”

She said film crews try to minimize disruption to the community, adding that Newton “seems to be oblivious to her own elitism and privilege while being such an armchair critic.”

Grant Boyle, who also works in film, said “please don’t try to minimize the calibre of the work we do to B-list actors and recognizable streets.

“It is easy to take a single person’s experience or point of view and try to extrapolate it across a broad industry, but that’s lazy sensationalism. Do not limit one unfortunate incident to an entire industry.”

But the truth is, most people don’t care about film production or its benefits, any more than film people care about the jobs created by, for instance, condo development.

When people are so often expected to give way to this, that and the other — always in the interests of someone else — it eventually wears them down. They focus on what’s important to them.

Look at it this way: If you’re stuck in a traffic jam because two lanes have been narrowed to one to allow condo construction to occupy a traffic lane, how do you feel about it?

Would you shrug off the delay, knowing that condo development provides construction workers with good jobs? When you’re inching along, will you feel good because the developers will cash in on it, and that it will provide people who can swing a big mortgage with a nicer selection of condos?

So it shouldn’t be a surprise if movie shoots feel like an invasion to some people, and that they’d say so.

What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Send an email to jlakey@thestar.ca . Report problems and follow us on Twitter @TOStarFixer.