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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old July 9th, 2006, 02:20 PM   #1
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Locations

Hi there,

I've been poking around the forums and I havent seen any detailed info on what I am looking for so I thought I would ask here. I realize this is probably one of those large topics that cant be covered here so I am really looking for pointers either to resources or basics.

I will be shooting (with a partner) our first dramatic piece. And I am concerned about locations. How do you get them? Do you talk to the owners? I realize that for public shoots you need to go to the gov and get permits and I have links to sites for that in california.

If its a shop or cafe, you need permission, of course, does it need to be written?

If its a public exterior, can you shut down an area? Park, street, whatever. Will the gov let you do that? Is it expensive?

Any experiences or tips offered would be welcomed.

Thanks everyone!

David
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Old July 9th, 2006, 03:26 PM   #2
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I certainly don't have all the answers, but I might be able to help with a few points. When it comes to getting a release for a location, yes, it is best to have all points in writing. Also, use a smaller Mom and Pop place, as opposed to a corporate owned franchise. They will insist on a large insurance policy to cover anything that might go wrong.

As far as getting permission to use a government or city location, your local City/Government office is likely to have a media liason, which is the person you need to seek out. They won't be easy to find, and most folk won't have any idea how to find them. Contact the County first, their's will be easiest to locate, and be able to point you out to the proper resources.

If you need to close off an area for filming, you will again need to contact the proper City/Gov people, and hire off duty cops to monitor and block off said area. They aren't cheap either.

Hope some of this helps.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 03:26 PM   #3
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Well the public stuff is different from state to state and probably county to county or even city to city.

We just wrapped a short and in Louisiana you don't need permission for public stuff unless it's historical or something... we only did a few public shots but we just set up and shot... to shut down stuff you would need to get with the city and/or for sure the PD as they would probably have to do it. If it's just a park or something you could post signs and hope people were curteous and went around.

For private you definitely want it in writing and specify if their company logo can or can't be used in the shots and that INCLUDES exteriors of the shops... we did a cafe scene and the place was very accomidating and WANTED his logo in the shots, including exteriors. Another scene was in a club and I knew the owner so getting perm. there was simple he let us come in on an off day and I was able to run all the club lights and smoke machines and put trusted people behind the bar blah blah blah... very nice location and he didn't care if we used the name or not... I still got it all in writing though.

*edit* looks like me and Keith both posted similar stuff at the exact same time ;)
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Old July 9th, 2006, 03:35 PM   #4
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Yeah... I'm quick for an old fart ;)
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Old July 9th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #5
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Forms?

What kind of form do you use for location permission? Anything standard? I have tons of talent release forms, but nothing for locations. Do you just write something up? Or is there a standard template?

BTW, thanks for both of your replies, exactly what kind of info I am looking for. I appreciate it very much.

David
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Old July 9th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Calvin
What kind of form do you use for location permission? Anything standard? I have tons of talent release forms, but nothing for locations. Do you just write something up? Or is there a standard template?

BTW, thanks for both of your replies, exactly what kind of info I am looking for. I appreciate it very much.

David
Hmm, my business partner takes care of that end... I'll see what I can find out when I talk to him (he's at work).
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Old July 9th, 2006, 06:55 PM   #7
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Google Location release forms. You'll likely end up with several selling books and kits, but you are also likely to find one to download.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 07:49 PM   #8
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These aren't the best, but they should work just fine and seem pretty standard from all the other release forms I've seen.

http://www.videouniversity.com/releases.htm

I can't imagine that an attorney would charge very much to "validate" these and add anything that may be required in your area.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 07:55 AM   #9
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When possible, we work exclusively in small towns for "location" shots because it tends to be much simpler (and less expensive) than in the city. Mos small towns don't even have any permit requirements for shooting on public property and asking for permission in advance is typically sufficient.

We have also had alot more luck securing locations with small businesses as well. In fact, not only are they more likely to give you the location, they are less likely to require a fee (it helps if you bring your own insurance) and alot of times they are excited about the project and are very helpful.

It's also easier to establish a relationship with the local government and property owners in this environment, at least in my experience which makes getting the next project done that much easier.

Originally we started using small-town loc's because that was all we thought we could afford, but having done a few projects this way it's now our first choice.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #10
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Awesome feedback

Thanks everyone!

I like the small town idea. That gives me some great ideas.. hadn't thought about it that way.

David
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