Productions such as Iron Man 3 have sought permits to film in Miami Beach homes. Bays Pain and Gain got a permit for his own house, located farther south on North Bay Road. Burn Notice producer Terry Miller said the USA Network spy series shoots on the Beach about twice a month. And telenovelas often use Miami Beach neighborhoods.
The reason we go to homes and use real locations is that theres no way on earth you could ever recreate the beauty or crispness of shooting on location in a studio, Weissenberg said. He says about one third of all Telemundo shoots occur on location.
While very few residential shoots last more than five days, crews shooting in Miami Beach enjoy a decent amount of flexibility that can help when shoots hit snags like illnesses or inclement weather.
Laws adopted a decade ago permit 60 days of shooting at a home over a six-month period. Neighbors have to be notified but their approval is required only if shoots include noise like gunfire or large crews, last late into the night or longer than two weeks, or require enough equipment and vehicles to inconvenience neighbors.
Complaints have been limited almost entirely to unpermitted shoots.
But for Friedman, who has captured the attention of Miami Beachs city commissioners and neighborhood groups, thats way too lenient. Hes pushing the city to establish restrictions, such as a list that allows homeowners to sign up and limit their neighbors to five days of filming a month.
Friedman says concerns about his plan driving business away from the city are overblown.
Im not screwing the rest of Miami Beach, he said.
Industry executives acknowledge some new restrictions may be needed. A city committee on industry issues was already discussing amendments to the citys permitting laws when Friedman complained. Amendments to the law are expected to be voted on by commissioners in the near future.
But executives like Bruce Orosz, whose Lincoln Road-based ACT Productions does location scouting, permitting and filming, said limiting shoots to too few days without neighbors consent would send a bad message to production companies.
Were talking about a community of people in the image business, whether its music videos, TV spots, movies or locations, said Orosz, who sits on the citys industry committee. If we send a message to the world that Miami isnt welcoming as a location, thats not a good message to put out there. It will impact a lot of peoples lives.
Orosz and others in the business said the cost of renting a home for a shoot varies widely. A small print shoot that lasts a couple hours might fetch a homeowner a minimum of $1,500, while a shoot at a large home that lasts for weeks could easily cost $25,000, he said. In the small percentage of instances when shoots need neighbors permission, Orosz said its not uncommon for production crews to pay for neighborhood improvements.
The sky is the limit.
Miami Beach homes are more in demand now than ever with reality shows, which require abodes that are large and sexy enough to host celebrities or would-be celebrities and their ever-present camera crews.
In recent years, Miami Beach has become a hot spot for reality shows like the defunct Miami Ink and the Bad Girls Club,. But lately, as housewives and the Hogans have gained a foothold in the industry, there has been pushback.
When MTV decided to film its Jersey Shore series in South Beach, some hotels flatly said no to inquiries. And when the Kardashian sisters went house-hunting on the Venetian Islands and then North Bay Road, they found they couldnt get the needed signatures from neighbors to film their show.
Graham Winick, film and event production manager for the city, doesnt deny that some changes are needed. But he said ideas like creating a filming blacklist or limiting shootings to five days are bad public relations moves.
When you tell an industry were reducing the amount of usable days by 80 percent, youre basically saying youre not welcome here anymore, Winick said.
Friedman said those who want to see increased filming in residential neighborhoods dont understand the impact.
Are they nuts? You want this action, go to Lincoln Road, he said.
Either way, the situation might be moot for the snowbird.
Rodriguez has put his mansion on the market for $38 million.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story mistakenly stated the owner of the Miami Beach home where Bad Girls Club Season 5 was filmed.