Analy High School ended up receiving almost $124,000 for allowing the Paramount film company to return for a second season of “13 Reasons Why” at the campus.
Paramount Pictures Corporation used the Sebastopol high school for a total of 13 days of filming between last June 19 and Nov. 11. One of those days was scheduled to be Oct. 9, but it was cancelled due to the Sonoma County firestorm that had started the evening of Oct. 8.
Paramount ended up donating all the food that had been assembled for production staff and actors, all of it went to the people staying at the hastily arranged emergency at the school gym, said Jennie Bruneman, facilities director for the West Sonoma County Union High School District.
“Other than that one big issue that came up on Oct. 8, overall filming went pretty well this year,” Bruneman recently reported to the high school board.
She estimated there were about 350 cast and crew members on filming days.
“They were in our community, they were filing up the hotels and eating in our restaurants,” she said.
The licensing agreement between the high school district and Paramount called for a flat rental fee of $63,000, which the board decided to use to fund the high school’s video production class.
In addition, Paramount paid for an additional $30,000 in improvements deemed necessary to make Analy look like the Liberty High School where screenwriters set the Netflix series.
Bruneman said the film company paid for a new varsity baseball scoreboard ($13,600), custodial services ($5,800), fixing the foul ball backstop ($4,700) and adding sleeves in the ground so baseball field fencing could be easily replaced ($3,400). Paramount also refunded the school district about $14,000 in overtime costs incurred by custodial crews.
Paramount made a big donation of $7,500 to Analy in lieu of paying hourly wages to about 1,000 extras, mostly students, needed to populate the stands during the filming of a football game on Oct. 28.
“Instead of paying each student, they made a donation to the Associated Student Body and they can use that money for a really great prom,” said Steven Kellner, district superintendent. “Of course, they had to watch the same play over and over and over again.”
Kellner said Paramount is not likely to decide until early May whether there will be a third season of the show. The second season is expected to be available on Netflix in late March or early April, he said.
The 13-part series attracted controversy during the first season from some critics who objected to a graphic depiction of a character’s suicide, from students who felt it presented a one dimensional view of school life and from mental health professionals who lamented a lack of counseling options in the show.
“You may remember that season one was based on a book, so we could read all about what to expect in the story line,” Kellner said. “There is no book on season two, so we will be off into uncharted territory on this one.”