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‘13 Reasons Why’ the TV series isn’t filming in Sonoma

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There are actually only two reasons why Sonoma won’t be a key location in next season of the popular Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”: Angry neighbors and a somewhat restrictive city filming ordinance.

Paramount Pictures and the producers of “13 Reasons Why” last week sought permission to film for the next seven months in and around Sonoma resident Steve Ledson’s home at 745 Charles Van Damme in the Armstrong Estates neighborhood.

But after surveying neighbors and reviewing the restrictions within the City of Sonoma filming ordinance, City Manager Cathy Capriola was informed on Aug. 8 that “13 Reasons” will instead film elsewhere in the Bay Area.

The production company for the popular, albeit controversial, series about teen suicide distributed a “Neighbor’s Survey” to Armstrong Estates mailboxes in early August. Neighborhood input was needed because the company was seeking several exceptions to the City’s filming ordinance. The production team was requesting permission for some late night filming and they were also seeking an exemption to the City ordinance that filming can never take place on Fridays, nor between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

City Manager Cathy Capriola said the filming ordinance is easier on shorter-term production schedules.

“Our permit process in Sonoma is favorable for one-time applications that may span a few days,” she said. “We only deny permits for major traffic issues, city construction projects, and potential damage to city infrastructure.”

The high school scenes in the series are shot at Analy High School in Sebastopol, where filming for the third season is set to resume in August. Called Liberty High in the show and set in the fictional town of Crestmont, Analy has been a key location for the series since its premiere in 2017. Funds from Paramount for the use of the venue have helped pay for a new library roof and helped support the school’s video production program, according to Jennie Bruneman, director of maintenance and operations for West Sonoma County Union High School District.

In the show’s second season, scenes were also shot at the Epicenter arcade and indoor sports center in Santa Rosa and the downtown Santa Rosa Plaza.

According to the production company, all of the show is filmed in the Bay Area, most on sound stages at Mare Island in Vallejo, and none in Los Angeles.

While the series won’t be filmed in Sonoma, locals wishing to get in on the action will still have a chance. “13 Reasons Why” is now casting for its third season.

Interested actors should visit www.13RYextras.com to schedule a live stream interview with local casting directors.

All ages, types and ethnicities are encouraged to try out. Actors who have already registered on www.mycastingfile.com, don’t need to register again.

Fame seekers younger than 18 need to apply for a California Entertainment Work Permit at https://permits.dir.ca.gov/ewp/loginForm.do. The casting company is seeking actors, extras and stand-ins for SAG and non-union paid positions.

Needed are “real people” age 18 to 26 to play high school students, football players, cheerleaders, boxers, parents, teachers, police officers, coffee shop patrons and many more, says the casting team.

Sonoma is not as busy a destination for filming as one might imagine. In all of 2017, the City had permit applications from only two reality shows and two documentaries. So far in 2018, the city has received permits for two commercials and one reality show. The city requires a film permit application fee of $706 with a refundable damage deposit of $10,000 that city staff time is charged against. Depending on the parking space needed, there is also a charge for public parking.

Steve Ledson expressed disappointment to the Index-Tribune that Netflix had walked away. He said that all proceeds from the planned filming on his property were earmarked for his Harmony Foundation for Children.

The third season of “13 Reasons Why” will air on Netflix in 2019.

Email Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

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