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Old January 9th, 2005, 05:45 PM   #1
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Shooting in USA (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) Permissions?

I am based in Norway and I am planning a musicvideo on a shoestring budget, what I really need to know is how this is handled in the US:

We are going to be a two man crew, and one performer, we wish to travel across the states Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, we will bring a Panasonic DVX 100, a Arriflex 16bl (small 16mm) and a Tripod.

Will we get arrested, fined and/or prosecuted if we along our way set up our camera to film our performer and the lanscape/wilderness?

I have googled for permissions and as far as I can see its all locally managed, time consuming and expensive - meaning we would need 100+ permits that will all need 48 hrs for processing and some money paid, not to mention an insurance of up to 1 million dollars!
In my eyes that seems fair if we were a 40 man crew with light rights, camera cranes, 15 vans and 5 trailers... but we are 3 people and a compact...

Should I be discouraged, give up and stay at home? or should I take my firends on a three day "student" musicvideo shoot?
(Our total budget is roughly 7500US$ that will include everything, 16mm film/processing,airline tickets,rental car,motel, food- you get the picture its shoestring...)

Any help/advice from american DV filmmakers is very much appreciated, especially if you have some experience shooting with a minicrew like this.

(By the way:If you americans want to film in Norway its GREAT, unless you plan to invade (bringing large crews) you can shoot anywere public you want, with no permits and no insurance, and you will not be arrested or fined, welcome!)
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Old January 9th, 2005, 07:23 PM   #2
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If you are out in the rural areas, I shouldn't think there would be any problems- aside from tresspassing.

I tried to shoot at a park in New Mexico, and they require a state permit. The trick would be to use your DVX-100 to do that stuff and try to pass off as a tourist.

I've usually had problems shooting in city limits. There sould be a Film production office for each state. Why not google-search and find the film offices for each state- call and/or email to get more helpful info. They can even help you find good locations. We have a directory of the offices at work somewhere. It should be available on the net. They are happy to help most of the tme.

Best of luck,

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Old January 9th, 2005, 08:15 PM   #3
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My unofficial opinion is that you should just go do it, and pretend you are tourists. Take the "easier to ask forgiveness than permission" route.


And if any cops give you any trouble, tell them how much you love George W. Bush and get a "Support Our Troops" bumper sticker for your van. :)
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Old January 10th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #4
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Here's a link to the Texas Film Commission website. It includes info on state laws and shooting on roads and public property.

www.governor.state.tx.us/film
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Old January 10th, 2005, 09:29 AM   #5
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Eirik,

Just a quick question for you. You say you are going to be shooting while you travel "across" the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas...

Do you actually have particular locations in mind? Or are you going to just drive down the road and stop where it looks interesting.

That's an AWFULLY lot of territory you are talking about travelling across.

My point being, if you know what sort of locations you are looking for, it might just be possible to find them all in one state. "one stop shopping" as it were.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 10:03 AM   #6
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Richard you are absoluetely right, this whole plan has evolved a lot since I first thought about it.

Here is the updated version we will stick to shoot in Arizona (travelling in and out of Los Angeles). I have followed up on all advice here so far and sent mails to the appropriate offices.

I still think I will shoot "illegally" if I find that will benefit our project.

Thanks
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Old January 10th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Eirik Tyrihjel :

I still think I will shoot "illegally" if I find that will benefit our project.

Thanks -->>>

Call it "guerilla" it sounds much less illegal than "shooting illegally". :)
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Old January 10th, 2005, 11:24 AM   #8
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Erik, you might want to contact fellow dvinfo members in Arizona who could steer you to places that are legal or unlikekly to get harrassed.
The worst you would get is fines. Not having a permit is a misdimeaner, not a felony. Being non US Citizens, you should get buy without having to worry about employment laws. Tell them you are shooting a foreign documentary if asked.

On the other hand, since someone in Norway called Americans cheap, they've passed special laws against Norwegians doing anything in this country. Seems Bush and his cronies are sensitive to critisism now days. (hehehehe). Tell them you're Swedish if asked. hehehe.

(Just kidding about the laws against Norwegians part).

Really just stay low key. You will be pleasently surprised at how many people will be willing to help or look the other way.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 04:49 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Joe Carney : On the other hand, since someone in Norway called Americans cheap, they've passed special laws against Norwegians doing anything in this country. Seems Bush and his cronies are sensitive to critisism now days. (hehehehe). Tell them you're Swedish if asked. hehehe.
-->>>

Just whatever you do, don't tell them you are French!

:)

Sorry, I couldn't resist...
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Old January 10th, 2005, 07:41 PM   #10
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Good Luck.

A couple of things.

When you go thru immigration / customs, you are a student or a hobbyist, and the cameras are to record your vacation. If you mention doing anything professional without the right visas & permits, they may impound your cameras and send you packing. You may even wish to just rent some stuff in LA (especially more obvious things like boom poles and mics).

Out in the Arizona desert there are some areas you just do not want to go to. If you see any "No Trespassing" signs or "US Government Property" signs, do not stop, do not get out of your car, do not even have the cameras in the passenger compartment with you. Do not tape out the car window while you drive around. Do not have your cameras available if you drive by any military installations (not sure about Arizone, but Nevada has some right along the highway). Do not film any military jets. Do not record anything that could be construed as terrorist spying. Since 9/11 and GWB, these really are serious cautions in this country.

And have fun. Arizona is beautiful. Try to get to the Grand Canyon if you can. Five ways to see it. North rim, south rim, helicopter, hike/mule, and raft thru. All very different, all great. And if you have a day left over, go to Vegas. :)

HTH. Good Luck.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 07:51 PM   #11
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Oh Lawd amighty, don't go to Arizona and tell them you're French. Right wing paradise out there. Might as well wear a sign that says 'Kick my as#, please'.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #12
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Thanks for the continuing advice.

I will check with the US embassy if we need any special Visas/permits to do this job, I am sure itīs not required the other way around....

Hehe Joe... I take your point on the "cheap thing". I have travelled quite a bit in the USA, never in Arizona though, and as far as I can remember all the Americans I ever met (and talked to) were warm, welcoming and respectful. I am sure Arizona people are the same.

Although a big sticker "I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" probably will not hurt either... Last time I was in America there was already an american flag on our rental when we picked it up...

We have however had some issues with the company paying for this job and we will get their final decision tomorrow...

Also, anyone have any idea how much a "General liability" insurance will cost, these seems to be required in order to get a permit to film anywhere.

Thanks for your help so far.

PS: I will not tell anyone I am french - which is the truth, and I probably should order "freedom fries" to go with my burgers... ;-)
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Old January 12th, 2005, 10:28 PM   #13
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Erik, if you film guerilla style, then insurance shouldn't be an issue. If you are using Euro crew only and no americans, then you shouldn't worry about being sued. I've been on 2 independent shoots and one music video. They couldn't
afford insurance so everyone just kept a low profile.

On the mv shoot, we shot in DC and it was really cool. We were next to a construction site and the workers kept an eye out for the cops for us. If you are a big production and need to close streets, divert traffic, need trailers, power, large lighting sets, them by all means, do it legal and get insurance. along with permits.

Liability insurance over here is very expensive. Here in Virginia they want a minimum of 1 million dollars. Mostly to cover property damage if it occurs.

When in doubt, act you can't speak english (just kidding). Another thing would be to check with the Norwegian Embassy and see what they can do for you.

little known fact.
At Disneys Epcot Center in Orlando FL, there are several international 'areas' that have restaraunts and other things from various countries. Every year the employees have a contest for which country has the most beautiful women. The Norwegian women win every year.
Fact.

(In each area they actual nationals from the country working for up to a year).

In the French section one of the waitress' looked like Charles DeGuals twin sister. Can't get any more French than that.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 04:08 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Joe Carney :
In the French section one of the waitress' looked like Charles DeGuals twin sister. Can't get any more French than that. -->>>

Obviously you have not been to Paris. They have hot women everywhere. It's like they all get up every morning and primp for a few hours before going out for a walk to the beauty salon.
I'm not kidding. There were a lot of women in thier 50's that were quite shagable. And I usually do not find women that much older than I am, to be extremely attractive.
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Old March 19th, 2005, 08:12 PM   #15
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Whatever you do DO NOT F*CK WITH THE CACTII! Not only are they the state plant/tree/thing but its jailtime if you deface, kick, knock over, or whatever to a cactus. There are people that have their houses built around them because its illegal to move them. Get the point?
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