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Old October 11th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #1
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Documentary: Should I get permits.

Hello,

First post here. I'm about to embark on filming a documentary that requires me doing a lot of street interviews (as well as campus and other places in which I know I might have to get permits) and in different cities across the US. Would you get permits to do this? For example, I want to go to Time Square and get street interviews on a particular subject. I talked to a producer today and he said just shoot it forget the permits. I have a 5 man crew (including me). What do you guys think? I just don't want to get ticketed or my equipment taken. Also running on a small budget so...Any advice would help.

Thanks!
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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:46 PM   #2
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Re: Documentary: Should I get permits.

I think that documentary shooting is different than narrative shooting. Requiring a permit for a documentary crew would seem to me to be the same as requiring a reporter to get a permit to write a story for a newspaper. It would be tantamount to a violation of the freedom of the press.

Check this article out for instance: Guerrilla Documentary: Filming Without a Permit
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Old October 12th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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Re: Documentary: Should I get permits.

Thanks man! I think you're right. I'm just going to do it!
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Old February 28th, 2015, 03:44 AM   #4
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Re: Documentary: Should I get permits.

Everyone must assess his own level for taking risks. Some film makers get in hot water when doing public shoots without permits.

On the other hand, the best advice I ever got as a photographer during a civil rights march was when I asked an experienced journalist how he managed to invade all of the private spaces for best shots that the protesters had been excluded from was, "don't ask!" If they don't want you there they will tell you. I have carried the same thinking through with my videos, mostly news kinds of things used to advance a cause.

It is amazing how many barriers we put in front of ourselves in doing what our hearts and our passion call us to do.
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