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Old September 25th, 2008, 03:04 AM   #16
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Permits

Hey there,

I got permits for my stuff, and had to get insurance as well. (I just stayed out of Los Angeles as its super expensive) But it just depends on where you are. For example Kern County has no permit fees. If you are on the street, they might make you hire a policeman, but I think since you're just doing interviews, then you should be fine. I decided though, since I had a vintage car, not to go to Kern county, as I did not think it would make it.

But I would check with the film commissions of the areas you want to use. Its work to research it, but its available for you if you look.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #17
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This example should give a very clear idea just how out of touch local governments (especially in the great blue California) are when it comes to permit fee's like this. $1200 to for what this particular guy is trying to shoot is just robery and unrealistic. Whether the client bears the cost or the videographer, it's still absurd.

What's a shame is that if the fees were more reasonable, say under $100 in his particular instance, he would pay it and this would all be a no brainer. State would have $100 they don't have now. In this case, they're going to get ZERO because their rates are too high and their ability to enforce is so low.

This is a perfect case why governments should be working FOR and WITH it's citizens being constructive and adding value to our business.

Okay, that's my rant... I've said my peace.. :)

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Old September 25th, 2008, 11:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Matt Newcomb View Post
Yep, in many ways it makes it a lot harder to film out in California than other places. Back when I was in South Dakota, if you were making a movie, that was uncommon and businesses and public officials would bend over backwards for you.

Out here everyone is making movies, so it's nothing special, and very unfortunate that there are so many regulations.

If this is really a commercial gig, I don't know what the big question is. They should be paying the fee and if they don't, understand that they cannot get footage in the place that they would like.

If you really are a professional you should act like one, and that means making sure you have proper permits. Are you going to put copyrighted music in the piece too just because you probably won't get caught?
I think it's important in this instance to seperate "being a professional" which would certainly mean paying royalties to owners of content that are contributing to value of hte product you create. In this case, if you used copyrighted music, being a profesional and subscribing to ethical standards would absolutely have you pay for those rights. I would hope everybody would agree with this, *particularly* on a commercial project.

When it comes to paying a local government though, what value are they adding into your production? If it's on the beach, like in this example, they didn't create sand, the air, the water, etc. One could argue that even the things they did have something to do with such as the street, tree's planted etc is the property of the general public considering the public paid for it and therfore its use should be essentially public domain.

I would throw this out as well, what if the fees for the shoot were $50,000? What if they were $100,000? Would the small time videographer who refused to pay still be criminalized by not being professional for paying that fee? I don't think objecting to a fee/tax by a government makes you unprofessional.

Jon
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Old September 25th, 2008, 05:38 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jon McGuffin View Post
This example should give a very clear idea just how out of touch local governments (especially in the great blue California) are when it comes to permit fee's like this. $1200 to for what this particular guy is trying to shoot is just robery and unrealistic. Whether the client bears the cost or the videographer, it's still absurd.

What's a shame is that if the fees were more reasonable, say under $100 in his particular instance, he would pay it and this would all be a no brainer. State would have $100 they don't have now. In this case, they're going to get ZERO because their rates are too high and their ability to enforce is so low.

This is a perfect case why governments should be working FOR and WITH it's citizens being constructive and adding value to our business.

Okay, that's my rant... I've said my peace.. :)

Jon
What about the major studios and production companies that regularly shoot there and can afford and pay the fees? That's $1100 they don't have every time they shoot, which could be quite a few times a year.

There definitely needs to be an overhaul to the way things are though. If you come to LA to make movies you have a lot more obstacles than you might think.



And to the post above.

Object all you want. I think it's unfair at the current price, and think that charging to shoot anything out in public is ridiculous, but I will not willingly ignore the regulations that are in place. It's not unprofessional to disagree, but I wouldn't want to run a business by disobeying city ordinances.

If I were to take this gig, I'd get payment up front, and have something in writing about what to do if you get hassled while filming and cannot shoot where you plan on doing it.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 05:56 PM   #20
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I don't disagree with that Matt, but at the same time I don't think the fee should be based on somebodys "ability" to pay. That introduces bias and subjectivity into the process and when you're messing with public funds, I don't think that is ever a good direction to go. The assumption that the "big" guy has tons of money and can just pay is kinda absurd because, in the end, I'm going to end up paying up because they sure won't produce anything that they won't recoupe their costs + profit out of the end user which is all of us.

This, to me, is one of those situation where you are probably best served by setting up standards based on the type of shoot. For example, extension chords, mobile power, multiple camera's, lighting equipment, etc. Use of 3 or more of these items on a single shoot would put you into a certain class. You could even through things in their like paid actors, SAG actors, etc. The more equipment, time and people on the project the higher the cost goes.

When it's a guy who wants to carry a single camera, shoot either non-paid actors or actors with minor compensation, the fee's should be very reasonable and affordable. Again, something in the area of $50 - $100/day. The next level up might mean an increase fee's along with requirement to post some type of liability insurance.

What the city could do with part of the fee's to help the industry along would be to develop a good database of people applying for permits, what they are doing, etc. This could develop into a good resource for the industry in a certain local in general to help grow the business. That would, in some ways, encourage people to be part of the process and work with the city rather than the city being something that people are either A) Afraid of or B) Trying to hide to avoid absurd fees.

Jon
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Old September 25th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #21
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I agree. If you are blocking off half the beach for your shoot, and there is a potential of danger you should be required to have a permit and proof of insurance and all that jazz.

But for a single camera with a boom shooting interviews, there shouldn't be as high a fee.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 12:34 AM   #22
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I hear where everyone is coming from here. Chris Barcellos is a lawyer (THERE, outted him) and we shoot together on occasion, and yes we have filemed guerilla style.... but not for a commercial client. I'd re-read his advice, I think it is spot on.... as is the advice to find someplace cheaper.

Now, that said, I work for the State in the Dept of Corrections as a lawyer (outed me too) and we get a lot of filming requests. We have a pretty standard mantra and contract, but often get heat from the Governor's office who, understandably is film friendly and has directed the State to be as well. My issues mainly deal with when we will or won't allow filming rather than insurance etc.

What galls me is the fact that in OUR county, we need a permit to shoot inside your own house!!!! Pullease.

(Though we did a 48 hour horror movie with a a lot of screaming in it and I was surprised the sheriff did not show up and shut us down recently. Yeah you guessed it, no $110 permit)
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Old September 26th, 2008, 01:32 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
.
(Though we did a 48 hour horror movie with a a lot of screaming in it and I was surprised the sheriff did not show up and shut us down recently. Yeah you guessed it, no $110 permit)

On advice of counsel, I deny everything. But luckily, we had two lawyers on our staff to argue freedom of speech issues, if we were challenged..
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Old September 26th, 2008, 12:16 PM   #24
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Well, this brings up another can of worms... Is this a state issue or a local government issue? Shooting on your own personal property or the property of others who have granted you rights should be completely off limits to the government. It's not their property and doesn't have anything to do with the tax payers.

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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #25
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But you must have a building permit to perform major renovations, why couldn't they extend that to a film permit?

Just playing devil's advocate.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:54 PM   #26
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But you must have a building permit to perform major renovations, why couldn't they extend that to a film permit?

Just playing devil's advocate.
Sure, but one is a factor of public safety that would extend beyond your own use should you ever sell the property.

:)

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Old September 26th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #27
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This is one of those times when having an HV20 comes in handy.

Nothing says "Tourist" like a grey video camera.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #28
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San Diego is one of those locations that didn't charge for film permits (they may do now because of budget cuts) but you needed to employ two off duty policemen and a patrol car, which I consider absolutely reasonable for a shoot with a full production team, but ridiculously impractical for one/two man shoots - i.e. leave the boom at home.
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