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Old March 21st, 2008, 02:18 PM   #61
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Kevin,

I will give this link again http://www.filmcommissionhq.com/search.jsp?dir=0&cy=US This is the site where you can find state and city film commissions. These groups are usually affiliated with the state tourism department so they want film makers to visit thier geographic area. In the drop down menu be sure to click "regional media support office" and then the state that you want.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 04:42 PM   #62
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Here is some interesting USFS film permit information which states:

Permits are not required for filming activities, such as:

· News, and gathering of news related stories.
· Other types of documentaries not requiring the use of actors, models, sets, or props.

It can be viewed at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/Filmi...lm3_Permit.htm

"Other type of documentaries" is what I and some others such as Kevin may fall under. Although I do not want to complicate things, it would be great if we could get this verbage included in HR 5502. Then, even the $200 would not be required in some instances. I plan to carry this policy with me if confronted on USFS lands.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 04:58 PM   #63
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Mark,

That's good to know.
Hopefully this bill will make it into law and we won't have to worry about if we can or can't.

Was talking to a Park Ranger just a bit ago and he said that the rules were still not finalized.

it was interesting because I told him about what went on in trying to get a permit in Yellowstone and he said that was the exact scenario he had warned his superiors would happen.

He was glad to have that information. So I told him to please talk to whomever he could and let them know what is really going on.

I will talk to him after the holiday and see if he has some contacts that I can talk to about this as well.

Always good to have a champion on the inside. :)
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Old March 21st, 2008, 05:25 PM   #64
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Kevin,
That's good to hear. As a federal employee with first hand knowledge you would be surprised how many proceedures/policies get pushed down from Washington into the field offices with little or no input from the folks that have to implement them. Its kind of scary.

So far it looks like our efforts from muti-fronts including federal park personnel, congressmen, governors, outdoor recreation groups, tourism groups and others is a good approach, but we need to keep the pressure on. Number of contacts unfortunately is what counts and not necessarily common sense.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 05:39 PM   #65
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I've been sitting at my computer whenever I have free time sending out emails.
My eyes are killing me but change doesn't come about without work and sacrifice.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:09 AM   #66
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Hi Mark, it looks like that Forest Service guidance is just for a specific region. When I looked for the guidance for the region I live in, it was pretty confusing with a mixture of very old guidance and links to ambiguous new guidance. Some of the districts do not have anything posted at all.

I had a very nice conversation with the film permit person for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks yesterday (in Utah). I have a business trip to the area later this year, and I will try to shoot some stock footage in the parks during my free time, if I get a chance. I told her what I was planning to do and the camera and tripod I would be using (Canon XH-A1 and smallish tripod). She said that I fall into a grey area, and I would simply look like most of the tourist photographers in the parks. Technically I should get a permit, but I would not have to apply for one. She asked me to stay off the fragile soils, avoid the crowded tourist spots where photographers cluster to capture sunset images of the most popular arches, and to keep to trails and rocks to avoid impacts to the environment.

She said I might get better service if I applied for the permit, which is only $100. Then the rangers would know where I am and what I am doing and might be able to help me with shooting if they pass me in the park. It sounds like they get a large number of two person crews during a typical month, and I don't think they require ranger escorts or anything like that for these small crews. I also got the impression that insurance isn't required for what I would be doing.

These are parks that experience a lot of filming, including Hollywood productions, and they are also favorite tourist destinations for visitors from other countries. The permit person said they used to have a waiver for small crews, but the new rules have changed this.

It's good to know some parks have a sensible approach to implementing the existing rules, but I don't think we can count on consistency without rule modifications or the passage of this new resolution.

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Old March 22nd, 2008, 02:36 PM   #67
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Pat,

That's great about Arches!
I love going there and think the Moab area is my favorite second only to Yellowstone.

It's nice to see that there are some rangers who are willing to do all they can for us. The sad thing is they move around. So next year if I want to go, someone else may handle things and they may be an Yellowstone alumni and then we're screwed. :)

I think you'll really enjoy Arches. Also hit Dead Horse Point State Park if you have a chance. Great Canyonland vistas and hardly no one there. Well, I've always been in the off season so I don't know when you'll be there. :)

Let's hope the bill passes and then it'll be a non-issue if we fall into a grey area or not.
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 01:36 PM   #68
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I will send emails to whoever if I can get a list of exactly who to send to and basically what to say. If I and others had a basic draft more emails would be sent out, it would save alot of time.
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 01:47 PM   #69
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Hugh,

Here is a sample text you might want to use or modify. There are several links in this thread with e-mail contacts

I am encouraging you to support H.R. 5502: To amend Public Law 106-206 which provides for an annual permit fee of $200 annually for commercial filming activities on Federal land for film crews of 5 persons or fewer.

Permit fees to film on federal lands have increased significantly over the years to where it places an unreasonable financial burden on small film businesses. I film about 100 days a year and under current regulations I may have to pay thousands of dollars which is unreasonable. This concern is shared by many others who photograph and shoot video and film as both a hobby and for commercial projects on public lands. In my situation I have a small crew that attracts no more attention than other park visitors. Without adoption of reasonable fees small film businesses will not spend money for food, lodging and other associated expenditures in towns near federal parks.

I hope you will show support for H.R. 5502 which can be viewed at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-5502
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 03:08 PM   #70
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Pat Reddy also posted a great sample letter as well.
I'll copy and paste it below.

It's important to contact your states congressmen as many will simply ignore out of state emails which as was previously mentioned is sad because they vote on laws that effect everyone. This bill effects all filmmakers not just the ones living in their states.

Anyone who this would effect, could make a difference or could pass this on are people you should contact.

Here's Pat's letter:

The Park Service is implementing inconsistently applied rules that could affect many of your nature stock footage providers. Here is the text of an e-mail I have sent to my state representatives and various professional photographers associations about a new bill that could correct this problem. I thought I would share this with you:

"In 2000 Congress passed legislation that directed federal land managers to issue permits and collect fees for commercial still photography and filming within national parks and on federal lands. In subsequent years, the affected agencies have developed regulations to implement the mandates of this new law. I would like to call your attention to a substantial inequity in these regulations, especially the regulations that have been implemented by the National Park Service, and to ask you to support H. R. 5502 (to amend Public Law 106-206) which aims to correct these inequities.

The rules as they exist today exempt professional solo still photographers, but require a lone videographer to apply for a permit. Permit application fees are on the order of $200 per visit, and the parks have the power to charge additional fees to escort a single videographer through the park while he or she is filming. Recently a single, freelance filmmaker was told that he would have to pay as much as $4500 for a week’s worth of filming in Yellowstone National Park. Commercial still photographers who may have more equipment than a videographer, hikers, backpackers and other visitors, however, are allowed normal access to the park and trusted to observe the rules of the park without an escort.

It would seem reasonable, fair and practical for the park staff to issue a permit and trust that the videographer would observe them. I contribute money to wilderness preservation organizations, visit parks, and support their existence in part because of the wonderful work of nature videographers over the decades who have brought these places into my home. Often the best footage is that captured by the solo videographer who spends a great deal of time in the same park, knows the environment, and is able to capture footage that others simply can't. That seems to me to be a lifeline for the parks and something they should be promoting rather than discouraging. The annual incomes of freelance wildlife and nature filmmakers who work alone or with very small crews are modest at best, and the prospect of thousands of dollars of annual park fees will make it impossible for many of them to continue this work.

I would also like to call your attention to the possibility that these rules are unconstitutional, since they are arbitrary, unequally applied, and represent a possible obstruction of the constitutional protections afforded the media. It is reasonable to issue permits and charge fees when the scale of media presence in a park requires it. H. R. 5502 would correct the inequity that has been discussed by requiring that film crews of one to five in number pay for a single annual permit that would be valid on all federal lands at a cost of $200.

I urge you to support the passage of this bill and to do whatever you can to ensure that the rules for filming on national lands are fair and allow for the continued vitality of the small-scale filmmakers who provide all of us with an experience of wilderness and wilderness values that we might not otherwise have."

Regards,
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 03:27 PM   #71
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Here's a link that will get you the email address of any member of Congress.
Just click on the image of the state you want,

http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

Mark posted a link for city and state film commissions:
http://www.filmcommissionhq.com/search.jsp?dir=0&cy=US

The director of tourism in the Yellowstone region of Montana:

Robin Hoover
Executive Director
Yellowstone Country Regional Tourism Commission
1-406-556-8680
yellowstone@montana.net
1820 W Lincoln
Bozeman, MT 59715

Wyoming Travel and Tourism:
http://www.wyomingtourism.org/sitetools/contact_us.php

Idaho Division of Tourism Development:
http://www.visitidaho.org/contact/

Gateway Cities Chambers of Commerce:

Bozeman. Montana:
http://www.bozemanchamber.com/form/?fid=11

Livingston, Montana:
Visitor Information Center
303 E. Park St.,
Livingston, MT 59047
406-222-0850
info@livingston-chamber.com

Gardiner, Montana:
http://www.gardinerchamber.com/contact.asp

Cooke City, Montana:
P.O. Box 1071
Cooke City, Montana 59020
(406) 838-2495
info@cookecitychamber.org

West Yellowstone, Montana:
West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce
30 Yellowstone Avenue
P.O. Box 458
West Yellowstone, Montana, 59758
Phone: (406) 646-7701
Fax: (406) 646-9691
Email: visitorservices@westyellowstonechamber.com

Jackson, Wyoming:
For questions about area activities, attractions, and services, contact:
info@jacksonholechamber.com or 307-733-3316 continue
Our address is:
Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 550
990 W. Broadway
Jackson, WY 83001

Or, you may visit:
Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center
532 North Cache
Located just a half mile north of the Town Square. Open year-round to assist you during your vacation.

Cody, Wyoming:
Cody Country Chamber of Commerce
836 Sheridan Ave.
Cody, WY 82414
(307) 587-2777
info@codychamber.org

Kimberly Jones
Executive Director
(307) 587-2777 ext. 201
exec@codychamber.org

Kathy Thompson
Event Coordinator, Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale
(307) 587-2777 ext. 207
Direct Line (307) 587-5029
info@buffalobillartshow.com

Carri Dobbins
Event Coordinator, Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale
(307) 587-2777 ext. 202
Direct Line (307) 587-5002
art@buffalobillartshow.com

Cathy Luthy
Business Manager
(307) 587-2777 ext. 206
business@codychamber.org

Woody Searles
Administrative Assistant
(307) 587-2777 ext. 212
admin@codychamber.org

Karen Miller
Visitor Center Coordinator
(307) 587-2777 ext. 210
cody@codychamber.org
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 04:00 PM   #72
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Here is the email I sent that was mostly based around Pat's letter and response from National Park Service. The Parks response is first.
I have emailed Lee Dickinson before (I thought she was a he on a previous post here ;-)
++++++++++++++++++


Thank you for your thoughtful comments about fees for filming in National
Parks. I have forwarded your comments to Lee Dickinson, the Special Use
Permits Coordinator for the NPS in Washington. She has been hard at work on
this issue.

Thank you for your interest in the National Park Service and for taking the
time to comment on filming fees.

Joanne Blacoe
Acting Assistant Regional Director for Communications
NPS Northeast Region
200 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215.597.0136


----- Original Message -----
From: Jacques Mersereau [jacmer@umich.edu]
Sent: 03/16/2008 04:02 PM AST
To: <TBWheeler@aol.com>; <lawyer@nppa.org>; <advocacy@nppa.org>;
<dgroves@ppa.com>; <contact@nanpa.org>;
<fbutler@nanpa.org>; <info@nanpa.org>;
Subject: Independent Wildlife Videography Fee for taping in National
Parks



Hello to you all,

My name is Jacques Mersereau and I am an independent filmmaker who
specializes in producing nature documentaries.
I write you today to ask you to consider my viewpoint regarding upcoming
changes in National Park
policies concerning videotaping on National Park lands and to urge you to
support H.R. 5502 which will amend
Public Law 106-206.

In 2000 Congress passed legislation that directed federal land managers to
issue permits and collect fees
for commercial still photography and filming within national parks and on
federal lands. In subsequent years,
the affected agencies have developed regulations to implement the mandates
of this new law. I would like to
call your attention to a substantial inequity in these regulations,
especially the regulations that have been
implemented by the National Park Service.

The rules as they exist today exempt professional solo still photographers,
but require a lone videographer to
apply for a permit. Permit application fees are on the order of $200 per
visit, and the parks have the power to
charge additional fees to escort a single videographer through the park
while he or she is filming. Recently a
single, freelance filmmaker was told that he would have to pay as much as
$4500 for a week’s worth of filming
in Yellowstone National Park. Commercial still photographers who may have
more equipment than a videographer,
hikers, backpackers and other visitors, however, are allowed normal access
to the park and trusted to observe the
rules of the park without an escort.

It would seem reasonable, fair and practical for the park staff to issue a
permit and trust that the videographer
would observe them. I contribute money to wilderness preservation
organizations, visit parks, and support their
Existence. This is because of the wonderful nature documentaries produced
over the years.
Often the best footage is that captured by the solo videographer who spends
a great
deal of time in the same park, knows the environment, and is able to
capture footage that others simply can't.
Although the film my wife and I produced, “AN OSPREY HOMECOMING’ won an
Emmy Award, we have yet to see a
profit, and in fact, it is highly unlikely we will ever recoup our out of
pocket costs. http://www.anopsreyhomecoming.com/

Therefore, it is reasonable to issue permits and charge fees that take a
single independent and unfunded videographer’s situation
into consideration. H. R. 5502 would correct this gross inequity by
requiring that film crews of one to five in number pay for a single
annual permit that would be valid on all federal lands at a cost of $200.

I urge you to support the passage of this bill and to do whatever you can
to ensure that the rules for filming on national
lands are fair and allow for the continued vitality of the small-scale
filmmakers who bring wilderness and wildlife into America’s
Living rooms and who help educate the public as they help to promote our
great National Park system.

Sincerely,

Jacques Mersereau
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 04:09 PM   #73
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Jacques,

Thanks for sending the letter!

I've tried to talk with Lee many times and she's never responded to any of my emails.

Maybe if they get enough people complaining about the fee structure, they'll revisit it.
Course, if the bill passes that exempts us from everything but a yearly permit that covers all Federal lands then that's even better. :)
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 04:20 PM   #74
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I agree that all those who want to film in the National Parks should
send emails to Lee. Considerate emails with constructive ideas have
a chance of getting through. I would rather not have to pay to
videotape as we taxpayers are supposed to be owners of the Parks, but
I also know they are under attack by those who would love to exploit
the natural resources, pay only a token amount and try to paint themselves
as the Park's saviors.
Part of that argument is the genuine need the Parks have for additional
revenue during "these times". Maybe working together we can achieve
a win win solution for us and the Park system.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 02:52 PM   #75
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Talked to my NPS counter-part for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. He agree that there was a real inequity here. Appearantly there was some kind of internal audit a couple of years ago where Dept. of Interior got hit hard on not charging appropriate fees for filming on public lands. He would not elaborate further but did state that what we were asking for sounded reasonable. Anyway he confirmed that Lee Dickinson was the person to contact with NPS at lee_dickinson@nps.gov

I will work on an e-mail tonite.
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