My mother taught me as a child to always say thank you when someone does something for me or gives me something. My parents had a retail store -- children's clothing -- and they trained me to say thank you whenever a customer paid me. To this day, the habit sticks and when a cashier or store clerk gives me change, I still say Thank You.
Showing your appreciation by saying thank you is more than common courtesy. It's good business, good customer relations and, in some cases, good public relations.
Stuart Elliott, in his weekly New York Times e-column, writes about one example of saying thanks. The N.Y. City Mayor's Office of Film and Broadcasting earlier this month unveiled a public service campaign to thank New Yorkers for hosting film and TV production in their neighborhoods. "Hosting" is a polite way to put it, because in many ways we New Yorkers "tolerate" the inconvenience of having streets or sidewalks closed off while location shooting takes place.
I must admit -- I often used to get an attitude when some kid with a walkie-talkie would politely ask me to wait or cross the street while a scene was being filmed. I used to feel, "who the hell are these people to take over an area and inconvenience all the rest of us working people."
And then, several years ago, a film crew took over my neighborhood at home as Penny Marshall was filming the Drew Barrymore-Brittany Murphy feature "Riding in Cars with Boys." The crew people were so nice and polite and genuinely thankful for being allowed to come into our neighborhood to film. My neighbor, whose house was used for several exterior and interior shots, got more than $30,000 for the inconvenience, along with new shrubs and wallpaper. We let them use our home as a "green room," so we got $2,500 along with an open invitation to eat at the craft truck. We also got to meet a nice bunch of crew people and actress Brittany Murphy, who fell in love with our dog, who was just a puppy then. They even hired our son to assist with traffic control.
Our son later got a degree in filmmaking from Emerson College and now directs music videos. We've seen him doing location shoots, and it reinforced our realization that the film crews are, for the most part, a nice group of (mainly) young people trying to earn a living from their craft. They don't assume that because they have a film permit they can run rampant through people's neighborhoods. The vast majority of the crews are very appreciative of the public's tolerance.
So it's a smart move -- both good public relations and good business -- for the New York City Film & TV Office to run a campaign that thanks New Yorkers for their understanding and, in the process, makes them aware of the amount of revenue film and TV bring to the city.
More than 100,000 New Yorkers, including many of my son's friends and classmates who now work in film here, are employed by the industry. More than $5 billion is pumped into the New York City economy every year by film and TV.
So the city is trying to remind us with a PSA campaign. Hopefully, it will make more of us a bit more understanding the next time we're inconvenienced by a location shoot.
We New Yorkers benefit in many ways. Film and TV work helps the city's economy. And it's fun to see neighborhoods we know on TV or the big screen. It makes us appreciate and love our city even more.