Liaison Function

Civic Spark Fellow Resiliency Project

The Ventura County Film Commission provides connective liaison for all of the elements of film production in Ventura County. Since 2013, that function has been in a development form. The linking of production to permitting and regulatory schemes and, the collection of data relative to the economic and social impacts of film production in the county is a primary purpose.


The Ventura County Film Commission core function: Liaison


“A liaison is a person and function who builds and maintains mutually beneficial relationships, facilitates communications and coordinates activities among two or more people, agencies or organizations. … They act as technical or subject matter experts for the person, agency or organization they represent.”


In the recruitment and support of the function, the following template recruitment framing is helpful:


The Ventura Film Commission Liaison function is facilitated by an organized, efficient, and communicative liaison officer to coordinate between our organization and partner/stakeholder entities. In this role, the liaison acts as the middle person between our business and the other entity to streamline operations, resolve issues, improve communications, and generally ensure that the relationship is as beneficial as possible.


  • Maintain thorough knowledge of the business, as well as an understanding of how the business impacts the other entities of contact
  • Monitor, coordinate, and communicate the strategic objectives of the business
  • Collaborate and communicate successfully with other entities outside of the business
  • Work with other staff members to develop a greater understanding of the business and any issues that arise
  • Build, develop and foster relationships with the community, stakeholders, and other entities
  • Collect, analyze, and utilize data and feedback to identify opportunities to improve the relationship between the business and the other entity
  • Identify impact of the relationships and their leveraged benefit to both the larger community and the partner organizations
  • Compile reports about particular incidents, events, or updates about an important issue for the business
  • Proactively solve conflicts and address issues that could occur between the business and the other entity
  • Promptly respond to incidents and other events as necessary
  • Act as a positive representation of the business to the community


The support of the liaison required the creation of a website. The gathering of organizational, jurisdictional – permitting regulatory schemes; through the collection of contacts and process for each scheme; resulting in an initial understanding of a path to meet the required processes for each scheme and each production.


Now, it is time to decant the knowledge that has been gained and in that decanting, create resiliency. The resiliency creates additional value through building a dynamic knowledge system and database. The product that emerges requires a new set of eyes, ears, and analysis to create a vessel for the dynamism that is all things film. This means actively interviewing the current systems, using those interviews to update the relational databases that currently exist and to iterate the next generation of those databases. The Product that comes as a result will both increase the ROI on current investment and will also set a standard for value moving forward.


This website product is designed to honor both the dynamic nature of communities as well as the continual development of both the projects that are seeking to be produced and the regulatory, location and permissions systems that are supporting this economic driver.


The current cost of the EDC – Ventura County Film Commission is $60,000 annually. The coordination of connecting production to location, support and permitting along with production impact information that is compiled through the liaison function shows that the combined impacts for 2019 are in excess of 4000 film activity days and more than $70 Million in economic impact to Ventura County.


What follows is an outline of work product that an 11 month Civic Spark Fellow deployment will engage. It envisions some of the product development for ongoing resilience with the unique industry sector that is film and media production. The short set of qualifications belies the challenges of building the resiliency products that are needed to take the Commission structures to the next level.


Liaison Fellow Requirements and Qualifications

  • Customer-oriented attitude
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to establish and nurture beneficial relationships
  • Self-motivated with a willingness to take initiative and solve complex problems
  • Capability to negotiate with and influence others
  • Analytically and mathematically minded to analyze data and create necessary reports
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced and sometimes high-pressure environment


  1. Goals


To make rigorous the template for permitting schemes in Ventura County so that tracking film impact and resiliency are a critical economic driver in the county becomes clearer.


Distillation of a dynamic data base that can interact with more than one person.


Improve messaging about connection of production to permitting


Document filming in the time of the COVID and the resiliency of systems.


Operational Health and Safety Plans that leverage best practices and save cost through systemic implementation.


GIS updates on permits, permitting and permitting schemes linked to locations in Ventura County.


Automation of Email and Contact info for Newsletter Sends and Data collection.


Mapping Taxonomy of organizational structures and connections

  1. Internal
  2. Ordinance and enabling laws
  3. Fee Structures
  4. Layers and overlaps (Permit, Environmental Health, Business Tax License etc)


Organizational structures for creating a film project


Organizational structures for allowing (Permitting) that project


Multi-level connection by and between the permitting structures


Opportunities for greater connection by and between film, permitting, locations and support structures.


2 – 16. Structure


Dynamic Manual Creation (operations and logistics)


Dynamic Relational Mapping (Regulatory and Creative Interactions)


Dynamic Process Mapping (Project creation, Project Permissions, Project Execution, Project Impact)


Dynamic Outcome and Impact data collection.


Making information a resource


In order for these past years of work to have any value (Return on Investment), the formalization of all of these processes into a dynamic, relational data structure is critical.


  1. Civic Spark Fellow Outcomes


A project portfolio that includes:


Project framing


Project Management


Project Elements and relationships


Measurement structures


Relational data base construction: (needs interview for clarity and mapping)


  • Resiliency through diversity and connection of layers of project as well as regulatory scheme


  • Public policy overview through regulation, engagement with number of projects that successfully move through the process, actual film days and some awareness of how many touches each day has from the various project structures. (Production, location, permitting)


  • An understanding of the layers of bureaucracy on both sides of a project and how to navigate the path to completion.


  • Move assumptions to element descriptions with a method to move through the various schemes; both development and execution.


  1. Products


Download Information from Head to Book

Book Contents


Relational Database

Search Function

Connection Function


Develop a System Query Framework

Who, What, Where, When to inform How


Develop a data entry template to create the buckets to pour into the                                    data lake


Give granularity to data so that the data becomes information


Operations guide


Scope, Scale, Context and Capacity Framework

For Permitting

For Production

For Coordination

For Liaison Functions

For Budgeting Framework


Data Collection and Analysis for Impacts

Direct Fees and Permits

Multiplier as economic impact

Film Days (Prep, Film, Strike)

Production type

Production size

Time of Production Impact





Sensitive Receptors impacts


Private Properties


Business Districts


Transportation corridors





Liaison Library






Production Support Resources

GIS coordination

Searchable relational database


Contact Connection


Regulatory Schemes


Property/Location Contacts


Newsletter Mailing list


Quarterly Contact


Permit Palooza Event

A gathering both physical and virtual of the layers of permitting schemes for the county.

The agenda is to put faces to names and links by and between parties.



Permit Leads


State Partners


  1. Civic Spark Fellow Activities


Establish a weekly schedule and project plan


Establish agenda for weekly meetings


Maintain schedule with supervision


Active Interview and documentation


System organization – Taxonomy Development – Documentation of process


Relationship Mapping


Search Function Framing


Scheduling for Interview and Agenda for Interview


Mapping Permit Structures


Linking Structures to Contacts


Development of Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Project Milestones with timelines.




Rule (Regulatory Scheme, Project, Who, What, Where, When –  Framing)


Conclusion and recommendation


Who, What, Where, When to inform How?


What is the Project, Scope, Scale, Context and Capacity?


What are the Foundational Principles, What is the Core Business, What are the Product(s), What is the Revenue Architecture, What are the Systems and Who is the Team?


  1. Permitting Jurisdictions



County of Ventura




Public Works


County Fire


County Environmental Health


Watershed Protection




Contacts in Hierarchy Order or Organizationally





  1. Simi Valley

City Manager’s Office

County Fire

Simi Valley Police Department



  1. Moorpark


County Fire

County Sheriff



  1. Thousand Oaks

Community Development

County Fire

County Sheriff



  1. Camarillo


County Fire

County Sheriff



  1. Port Hueneme

Public Works

County Fire

Port Hueneme Police



  1. Oxnard

Community Development

Oxnard Fire

Oxnard Police



  1. Ventura

Community Engagement

Ventura Fire

Ventura Police



  1. Ojai

City Manager’s Office

County Fire

County Sheriff



  1. Santa Paula

Parks and Recreation

County Fire

Santa Paula Police



  1. Fillmore

Film Commission/City Manager’s Office

Fillmore Fire

County Sheriff



California Film Commission


State Roads/Highways


Highway Patrol


State Fire Marshall


State Beaches


State Parks


Coastal Commission


State Agencies


Fish and Wildlife


Coastal Commission



Federal Agencies


US Forest Service


Naval Base Ventura County






Special Districts:


Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks District




Seaside Park (Fairgrounds)


Ventura Harbor District


Oxnard Harbor District







School Districts: (needs a taxonomy of organization alphabetical? Locational?


Fillmore Unified


Santa Paula Unified


Santa Clara Elementary School District (Little Red School House)


Simi Valley Unified


Conejo Valley Unified


Oxnard Unified


Ventura Unified





Colleges and Universities: (needs a method of organization)


University of California Extension Service (Faulkner Farms)


Ventura College


Oxnard College


Moorpark College


Channel Islands State University


Cal Lutheran University





Camarillo Airport


Oxnard Airport


Santa Paula Airport


  1. Industry Partners


Warner Bros.










Film LA




Location Managers Guild




Local Locations


Allied Film Studios


Fillmore & Western


John Farrow


  1. County Ecologies


Santa Clara River Valley


Fillmore, Piru, Santa Paula


Ojai Valley


Santa Paula Branch Line (Short Line Railroad)


The 33 Corridor


The Coast North and West of Mugu Rock


The PCH (Highway 1)


Santa Monica Mountains


Tapo Canyon


Simi Zone Area


Studio: Allied and the Simi District


Dedicated Back Lot Ranches: Big Sky, PW Gillibrand, 76 Ranch, Ventura Farms


Lake Sherwood Area


Potrero Road


The Coast


The Oxnard Plain


  1. Contact and links Taxonomy





Administrative (CEO, City Managers)



Economic Roundtable Members



Planning Directors Coordinating Group



Permit Permissions Ordinances



Law Enforcement Leadership



Industry Governmental Affairs Offices


  1. GIS


Managing and tagging shape files


Linking various Ecologies to mapping layers


Specific locations and film permit data


Area Ecologies


  1. See Something, Say Something




  1. Seeing the great connections of the large systems
  2. Seeing the inner connections by and between the tendrils that are the organizing structures of both there production and the permissions
  3. End Product
  4. Discreet Permitting locations
  5. Layers of behavior and areas that need a plan and permissions
  6. Documentation (moving from static to dynamic)
  7. Convening for Relationship (connecting through relationship and communications)
  8. A weekly plan to be designed and engaged.
  9. A homework metric to make sure the project is delivered as a package.
  10. Basic organizational structures (a wireframe or outline or mind map)
  11. A set of milestones to meet the completed project moment with timelines to measure the project.




  1. Computer
  2. Basic understanding of government and subsets of government
  3. Basic understanding of the elements of a production
  4. A willingness to build and then break dynamic systems to both test and demonstrate resiliency and ability to be clear in the face of larger systems static
  5. Systems Mapping
  6. Data tabs to create dynamic maps
  7. Data collection to give depth to a data point
  8. GIS base mapping to create a set of links and a path to completion of project from idea through permitting and actual image collection





  1. Fee Collection
  2. 100% recovery
  3. Multiplier
  4. Fee and taxing schemes
  5. Program Support





The project being produced

The locations where the project is being produced

The Regulatory Schemes that engage that location

The Layers of departments that have jurisdiction over a place

The support players


From Elsewhere


Production Crew


  1. When Yes means Yes and No means No




What can we do?


How long will it take to get permission to do it?


How much will it cost?


Answers needed to get to answers:


What are you doing?


Who is doing it?


Where is it being done?


When is it being done?


Things that might get in the way:


Do you have permission from the property owner?


Is the property legal to have this kind of behavior happening on it?


Are there any zoning or building and safety violations on the property?


Are you interrupting circulation flows by doing the production?


What is your footprint relative to neighborhood?


What are the ancillary impacts that your activities may create?


  1. Information Updates:


Time frames for permit




Office administering permit:

  1. Planning
  2. Fire
  3. City Manager
  4. Community Engagement
  5. Public Works


Process map




  1. Contact Update Form


Point of contact


Phone Number




Permit Forms




Special Requirements


  1. Department Contacts for All Jurisdictions


Department Head


Department Permit Lead


  1. Weekly Schedule


Check links for permitting updates


Check for new locations


GIS Data Layer Build


Updating all Locations


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