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Old August 24th, 2003, 06:19 PM   #1
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Press Pass

Can anyone recommend how a freelancer can get their hands on press passes? I'd like to start trying to sell footage to stock houses and news, so the need is genuine.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 06:26 PM   #2
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In most cases you have to prove you belong to a legitmate organization covering the event. The city issues them to legit news organizations. Sports teams to news organizations that cover the sport on a regular basis.

If you don't belong to such group, you have to try and get one in the back door. That is, get it from a friend in such organizations. Or try and talk said organizations into getting you one because you are trying to freelance for them though that might not work.

Those were the circumstances I was under but I don't know if anything has changed.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 09:53 PM   #3
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I don't know how things work in Japan, John. But in the US if you want access to a press area, you need to affiliated with the working media in some manner. In some cases if you can go to the media person for an event, they will issue credentials for you. But you need a legitimate reason to want the pass. You might try contacting a US news agency in Japan and see if they hire stringers.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 11:02 PM   #4
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John,
what type of things do you want to film? The press here is a joke, it's mainly who you know and it seems to be a good ol' boys club, getting in might be hard, the foreign press in Japan have a hard time getting stories, most of the time they are excluded, check out this article; http://www.epnworld.com/news/fullsto...nder_Fire.html

You could try conacting the Foreign Correspondants Club of Japan. Go in and just ask them, maybe you'll get lucky.

If you want to film stuff on the streets as they happen, then you could just make your own official looking press pass, with your XL-1 you would look official enough. During the World Cup, I was working on an independant documentary, half the crew was in Korea with actual passes from FIFA to film the USA team, I was here Japan shooting the action outside the stadium, interviewing fans, I made my own pass and the police never bothered me, I went across the police lines, got some great footage on the Dotonbori Bridge of all the kids jumping in the river.

I find that with the right attidude and an XL-1, you could probably get into most situations here in Japan, unless you were trying to get into the press conference to film Beckham or some other big name celebrity, then you would need the right credentials. The Japanese are very taken by the looks of people, if you look professional enough, they will buy it.

Good luck.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 11:14 PM   #5
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Jeff and Rik,

I mentioned in another thread about a festival that I happened upon yesterday but unfortunately didn't have my camera with me. If I'd had it though, I wouldn't have gotten any good shots unless I could've gotten into the taped off press area. I saw a few gaijin still photographers roaming around in the taped area, but no gaijin videographers.

That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about. I'm really not interested in getting into press conferences and shooting someone like Beckham...more events really (although I wouldn't mind getting in to hear some of the film promo events). And I wouldn't be roaming around for news. Just shooting interesting events.

Anyway...are my reasons legitimate? Did any of you outside of Japan see any footage of a big street festival in Japan yesterday? Probably not. I think there's a market to sell some footage to foreign press...glimpses of Japan.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 11:31 PM   #6
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John, for that kind of stuff just make your own pass for now, not something as big as the BBC but something official looking, usually they won't hassle you, plus being a foreigner, they might now want to try speaking English to you. Just wear your pass and act like you belong there. You were walking by from covering another story and happened onto this event, so you decided to shoot some film to send back home as a story, tell them that if you get stopped. Plus make some cards with you phone number and your pass info so everything matches, if you have the business cards, then you got to be legit, right?
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Old August 24th, 2003, 11:47 PM   #7
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Rik,

I'll follow Jeff's suggestion first and contact the Foreign Press Club to see if I can get a "stringer" pass from someone. If that doesn't work, I'll just use my own business cards to see if that'll get me a pass.

I wouldn't feel comfortable making my own pass...so instead of that, and like you say, attitude and a business card can take you a long way here.
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Old August 30th, 2003, 04:33 PM   #8
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Look harried and carry a big camera. The camera works most of the miracle.
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Old August 30th, 2003, 10:14 PM   #9
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And wear cargo shorts with the pockets bulging. Ignore anyone who looks official unless they approach you directly, and if they do keep looking off as if you are looking for something, like your "producer".
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Old August 31st, 2003, 11:15 AM   #10
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It is amazing how many times that works (looking harried). Also its one of the advantages/disadvantages of the XL-1
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Old August 31st, 2003, 10:11 PM   #11
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I always get the question, "Am I going to be on Cops?" Or even better, "I don't want my mother to see me doing this!"
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 01:19 PM   #12
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John-

If you're intersted in festivals or cultural events why not get a schedule from the Board of Tourism or Chamber of Commerce in your area then track down those hosting the events. If you know any JET/CIRs, as they're usually involved in event planning, represent yourself professionally once and lock (no pun intended) yourself into a good gig.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 08:23 PM   #13
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Be careful.

The repercussions of your misrepresenting yourself can be pretty severe, especially in a foreign country. This can only be aggravated by a "fake ID".

If you wear something that is official looking and legit, combined with the "act as you belong" attitude, the chances of your pleading ignorance and apologizing if challenged and walking away without any significant consequences will probably increase dramatically as opposed to trying to explain forged credentials.

Remember that security is on the forefront of everyone's mind nowadays and it is not only relegated to this (USA) country.

The straight road may not always be the easiest road, but sometimes it can be the safest.

Be careful and stay safe.
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