Extravagnt Filming Fees For Public Land at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 30th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: McArthur, CA
Posts: 119
Extravagnt Filming Fees For Public Land

I recently found out that the Department of Interior will start charging professional filmmakers at least $150 a day to shoot in National Parks. High fees will eventually spread to the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and their lands. Here are some links to news stories on the issue. http://www.nppa.org/news_and_events/...6/04/fees.html
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drm...660340,00.html

Since my dream is to become a wildlife videographer, who largely uses public lands, this has upset me tremendously. I recently e-mailed a letter of protest to: the Department of Interior, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, my congressman, and my senators. You can contact the DOI and find links to contacting their other agencies at http://www.doi.gov/contact.html You can also contact your congressional representative at www.house.gov and your senators at www.senate.gov

According to one website, the National Park Service fees will start being implemented on May 15 and "The final draft departmental regulations will be published in the Federal Register within two months and will be open to public comment for at least 30 days." I feel we should cooperate, organize, and encourage the federal government to modify the structure of fees to shoot on public lands so they are reasonable for the low-budget filmmaker. Below is a copy of the main version my letter, which I slightly customized for each agency.

I am bitterly in protest of the U.S. Department of Interior’s upcoming location fees of at least $150 a day to film on some federal lands. These new location fees will apply to the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This isn't fair to the public. Many filmmakers can't afford these fees and will be put out of business. You might was well say to hell with North American wildlife films made by people who aren’t rich. My dream for once I get out of college is to make American wildlife films, but federal lands like national parks and wildlife refuges are the few places where rare wildlife won't immediately run or fly away when it sees a photographer approaching.

My government is shattering my dream. BLM land surrounds where I grew up in northeastern California. If I ever become a professional and want to film in some of the favorite parts of my backyard, I'll be charged big-time by the federal government. This makes me sad beyond description. Where are people who aren't rich going to film wildlife documentaries? Just private lands and forest service lands can be limiting, especially when the wildlife in these areas is harassed or shot at.

Wildlife documentaries are films which project some of the better elements of our country. The most important thing in my life is to accomplish my dream and not be in perpetual debt. Looks like the elitist, rich loving, rich controlled federal government of mine is effectively crushing my dream and my optimism and confidence in my country. My soul is hurt and it will be reflected in how I vote.

Please understand that charging $150 a day for any professional photographer to film on Department of Interior lands is a mistake. If you want to raise revenues, you'd be better off if you could successfully encourage Congress to get rid of tax breaks for the wealthy and/or subsidies to big energy and oil companies, and have saved money channeled to the impoverished National Park Service and other agencies (okay, I know that’s nice but unrealistic).

Anyway, I think high fees are reasonable for multi-million dollar film studios but not for small-scale wildlife filmmakers. As one website stated: “A one-year project on animal behavior in a National Park could conceivably cost a dedicated videographer fees in excess of $45,000.” Putting free-lance filmmakers out of business isn’t the best way to make a profit. I’m starting to feel like government land isn’t public land but the land of whatever administration happens to be in office. I encourage you do what you can to help structure public land filming fees so ordinary non-rich people won’t be hurt.

Sincerely and sadly,
Tristan Howard

Last edited by Tristan Howard; April 30th, 2006 at 01:07 PM.
Tristan Howard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30th, 2006, 03:42 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 82
Tristan, very well put! We as independent wildlife filmmakers must adamantly protest this regulation change. We are cameramen with a tripod not a hollywood or advertising agency with production crew. We have no problem with the government charging the production crews for location fees. In fact the big companies endorse this new fee structure. But once again, congress "overlooked" the little guy. To be fair, they must set up their fee structure to distinguish between us. Here are a some important email addresses where you can voice your opinion before it becomes irreversable.

Director of the Nationl Parks: fran_mainella@nps.gov

Filming Permits Coordinator: lee_dickinson@nps.gov

Thanks for the post Tristan!
Bill Taka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,053
How can the federal government justify a fee like this?

If it's to cover impact, then I don't see how a few dozen independent filmmakers can possibly have more negative impact than millions of casual visitors.

Visitors can get a pass that's good for several days at a stretch, and filmmakers also be able do the same. The likelihood that enough good footage can be acquired in a single day is ridiculous. In reality, it'll add hundreds or thousands of dollars to a production budget. If a fee needs to be charged, it should be for a monthly or annual pass.

If nothing else, it's the independent wildlife filmmaker who helps support the protection of these national parks. Filmmakers bring the richness of the natural world to millions who might not have the opportunity to directly observe and appreciate wildlife at its best.
__________________
Dean Sensui
Exec Producer, Hawaii Goes Fishing
Dean Sensui is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Melreso Park IL.
Posts: 86
National Park charges

Tristan:
The hand writing has been on the wall for some time. Early this year I went to Puerto Rico and I was stop on a National operated Parks when they saw my GL1. They told me that if I was taping for professional purpose I had to pay a fee. Of course I told them that I was not and that was the end of it.
Mike Quinones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posts: 342
Tripod gives you up

Carrying a tripod yells 'professional' to national park people. Not only here, but overseas as well. National and local governments see the fees as a revenue generating instrument and don't really care whether it is just or fair. I used a monopod with an FX1 in Mexico a couple of weeks ago and just paid the standard civilian video camera fee charged to all the tourists.

One thing you can do is to get a letter of permission. It is a pain, but if this policy goes into effect, this might be a way around it.
Jack D. Hubbard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 2nd, 2006, 12:38 PM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,012
dreadful. i got kicked out of a park in mexico for using a 1 lb. desktop tripod on my lap, to stabilize a GL2. tripods send bureaucrats into spins. mine was probably not even as good as a monopod. what is this? footage that looks like crap is fine, but don't try to shoot anything good? i hate to see the US going this way. it's beyond ignorant of the economic realities of wildlife video. thanks for the heads up.
Meryem Ersoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3rd, 2006, 12:16 AM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Posts: 1,200
I can't believe the US Gov is considering this. I can understand that their budgets could use the extra cash but $150 a day! That's ridiculous!

I agree with Dean's statement re: annual pass etc, if they insist on something.

I
Ken Diewert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3rd, 2006, 12:31 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Posts: 1,200
oops, bumped the mouse and it clicked 'submit' before I was finished ranting.

As I was saying... I better start shooting like crazy in Canada's parks before they follow suit.

I know one of the beautiful things about living in near proximity to parks is just going to check them out for an afternoon and if lighting and nature co-operate to provide that great shot... it's worth hours of hiking and waiting. If lighting and nature don't cooperate, then at least you had an afternoon in the great outdoors. I can't imagine paying 150 and getting shut out.

If this does go through, you'd be better off paying a landowner adjacent to a Park $50 to shoot on his land and maybe accidentally wander across the park boundary.

Good Luck, I hope this gets defeated.

PS. I'm really p*ssed at politicians right now as our local gov is trying to turn a 52 acre park in our neighborhood into a subdivision

Check it out at www.echoheights.ca

Ken
Ken Diewert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3rd, 2006, 01:15 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,356
Sadly, I suspect this trend will soon gravitate to Australia seeing as how our Fed Govt. is betrothed to the coat tails of your own. Parks here are a State responsibility.

However our Federal Govt., has ways and means of making our state governments lock step, usually by means of hanging on to the tax take.

In the final run-down, what this encourages is for unmoneyed people to construct in their own minds a justification based on the principle of being doubly taxed, take the game entirely off the table and then trespass, with some trepidation about being caught but no guilt whatsoever.

If the authorities want to monitor what is going on in public lands and preserve for themselves some degree of predictable management, then the "user pays" fees should be appropriately scaled.

Wildlife photographers have or at least should have, some sensitivity to the environment.

They likely cause a much smaller impact upon it than a full-on production, which would require a clean-up and environmental rehabilitation after the circus has swarmed in, shot, stamped all over the shrubs and shoved off again, hopefully all without capsizing the honeywagon on bad roads.
Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3rd, 2006, 01:33 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 350
Sad state of our goverment

Unfortunately this is how our government is being run now. All they want is your money and yet they don't even know how to take care of it. Last I heard Medicare will exhaust its trust fund in 12 years and Social Security will exhaust its trust fund in 2040.

If you think about it, the government is engaged in all sorts of forms of double taxation (they already tax your income and yet they then make you pay sales tax and use tax or what about when you buy a used car and you pay tax on it, which was already taxed when it was new and paid by someone who's income is taxed). This is the same thing that pissed us off at the British back in Boston remember that?? These taxes on public land are nothing more than double taxation. It's like the "Adventure Pass" recreational fees that they make you pay just so that you can drive to the forest, park your car and take a walk in public land. Yes, they make you pay again just to recreate in your own country that you already pay taxes for. Also, did you know that with the Adventure Pass program, a General Accounting Office report showed that the government was spending $15M just to net $15M in fees? How's that for efficiency?

Read more about Fee Demo here:

http://www.vcnet.com/~freeourforests/whywrong.htm
http://www.wildwilderness.org/

I don't know about you but I'm tired of paying taxes again and again and seeing it get mis-managed and then they come back and ask for even more money. Heck, all I see are corrupt politicians being indicted for taking bribes and favors. What will it take for the people to say we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore?
Tim Le is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:34 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, Florida
Posts: 811
steve siegel

After reading this thread, my wife e-mailed Lee Dickinson, Special Park Uses Program Manager at the National Parks Service. Here is his answer. I assume that this also applies to individual videographers.

"There has been a great deal of miss communication when it comes to the
National Park Service Policy on location fees for still photography, which
in fact has not changed. As a rule, if a photographer is not using models,
sets or props and remains in areas open to the general public there is no
permit requirement and no fees or charges. The need for a permit for still
photography is based on the planned activity, not the eventual use of the
image.

I hope this answers your concerns. If you have further questions let me
know."
Steve Siegel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3rd, 2006, 07:58 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: McArthur, CA
Posts: 119
Steve,

Thanks for the info. I hope the criteria Dickinson mentioned does apply to individual videographers. But, we should try to find out for sure what the situation is. I'm guessing we'll find out when the final regulations are published and open for comment in a few months. Not too suprisingly, I haven't got a response back yet for my exceedinlgy irate e-mail to him.
Tristan Howard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3rd, 2006, 10:24 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 82
Steven,

I'm afraid you have been slighted by Dickenson (who is a "she" btw). Unless your letter was specifically regarding photography (which is not the issue), Dickenson answered your email to "calm your fears" knowing good and well the issue is about filming. In fact Dickenson is all for congress getting this regulation passed. Read this!

Google this LA Times Article: lee dickinson national parks
(2nd article down)

I hope there is enough public outcry for congress to re-evaluate their regulation to not included the single cameraman/filmmaker/videographer. This is not a still photographer concern... although they will be next !!!!

Last edited by Bill Taka; May 3rd, 2006 at 11:25 PM.
Bill Taka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4th, 2006, 05:13 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Taka
I'm afraid you have been slighted by Dickenson (who is a "she" btw). Unless your letter was specifically regarding photography (which is not the issue), Dickenson answered your email to "calm your fears" knowing good and well the issue is about filming. In fact Dickenson is all for congress getting this regulation passed. Read this!

Google this LA Times Article: Lee Dickinson National Parks
(2nd article down)

I hope there is enough public outcry for congress to re-evaluate their regulation to not include the single cameraman/filmmaker/videographer. This is not a still photographer concern... although they will be next !!!!
Am I reading this right, that Dickinson expects a "public outcry" to demand that videomakers ante-up to cover some imagined nuisance they cause the other park users? If this is what she needs to move Congress in that direction, we have nothing to worry about. I'm wondering, is there some active and effective national body that advocates for photographers in legal issues like this?
__________________
Steve McDonald
Steve McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4th, 2006, 08:49 AM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: McArthur, CA
Posts: 119
A "she." Well, I suppose I was a bit careless, arrogant, and over-presumptuous when I wrote "him." Anyway, it looks like we might not have too much to worry about, at least in the national parks. Check out this article: http://bozemandailychronicle.com/art.../30filming.txt
It looks like Montana Senator Baucus helped us out. We should just make sure we have small crews and don't get within goring range of the bison and elk.
Tristan Howard is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:12 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network