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Cole Seidl March 8th, 2010 10:08 PM

Most affordable way for a film crew to travel
Hi there,
I'm currently making the budget for my first feature film. Unfortunately, I decided to make things difficult for myself, and am making a film that requires quite a bit of international shooting.

I am going to shoot US for Marseilles, France, for most of the scenes, but am going to need some basic footage in Marseilles and Cannes. Airfare is quite expensive, even If I only bring my primary actor, DP, and one extra crew member with me, I can only seem to manage for about $6,500. And that's without food or a place to stay.

Does anyone know of a more affordable way to travel to Europe for a small indie film crew.

I thought, perhaps I could convince A shipping tugboat or Oil Tanker to take us along for a cheaper price, but am not entirely sure if that's even possible.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Brian Drysdale March 9th, 2010 03:25 AM

Flying is the cheapest method, time of year and how far in advance you book make a big difference. There are budget airlines which operate in Europe, which may prove cheaper. when you're across the Altantic. You book these flights on line, but be aware of hidden extra costs like baggage (anything that isn't cabin baggage with some airlines), taxes, etc these can quickly add up. If you plan to use these, you can fly into London, Dublin etc rather than just into Paris or the south of France.

Camping may be the cheapest for accommodation.

Allan Black March 9th, 2010 03:51 AM

Three words .. green screen.


Richard Alvarez March 9th, 2010 07:56 AM

How will your audience know for certain - the actors are IN Marseilles?

I'm trying to understand a scene that ABSOLUTELY requires you shoot in Marseilles. As you have already determined - it's possible to substitute American locals for most of what you need. ANY interior can be built or duplicated in a soundstage. Establishing footage from virtually anywhere on the planet can be found or purchased. Is there some specific FAMOUS IDENTIFIABLE spot that you MUST shoot your actors on? If so - do you have permission to shoot there?

Best bet - rewrite the scene.

Cole Seidl March 9th, 2010 09:31 AM

We're shooting all the French interiors U.S. and We're shooting the majority of the exteriors U.S. There are simply a couple location that I can not get in the U.S. Which are key to the story.
And ironically, I am actually using greenscreen for a different short scene in spain.

Camping sounds like it would be the best bet for accommodations, as long as I can find camping grounds. Thanks for the info everyone, I'll search around for some of the European flights, and am already in the process of rewriting as much as I can.

Allan Black March 9th, 2010 02:23 PM

I wouldn't go there, weather conditions for a start. Try getting emails off to outfits like this .. note Paris and Marseilles, note 'great sense of humour.'

Froggie Production - film production services in France


Cole Seidl March 9th, 2010 03:01 PM

Thank you for that. I think that will be extremely helpful.

Bill Thesken March 10th, 2010 01:48 AM

Check out a mini van. It's a ride, hotel, and storage for gear bundled in one.
Hopefully you're filming a comedy, since we all liked the 'Merry Christmas, Craig!' short.

Richard Gooderick March 10th, 2010 02:30 AM

Flights from London to Nice can be quite cheap.

You want to make sure that you don't end up in Cannes when there is a major festival or market on. The prices shoot up.

February is the cheapest time of year which is not a lot of help to you now, unless you can shoot next year.

I wouldn't camp. Where are you going to put your kit? What happens if it pours with rain? You could piss your crew off big time.

Maybe look for an apartment that you can all stay in and cook your own food. There are a lot that get rented out during festivals so if there isn't a festival on (I'm talking about Cannes) you should be able to get a good deal. And rent a minibus for transport. I don't think you can do it cheaper than that.

My sister just cycled round the world and is presently on a freighter across the Atlantic. You could do that but it would be more expensive than flying I think!

Brian Drysdale March 10th, 2010 10:48 AM

I'd only regard my camping suggestion as a last resort if you're really stuck, an apartment (perhaps away from a main resort) would be much better and a hired vehicle (which you need anyway with gear, otherwise you're into taxis). Any camping should be done at a proper site, with a large tent(s).

If you really need to do the camping, make sure the crew and cast know and discuss it with them and how the other options have fallen through. It's only something for extremely low budget films with people who volunteer to rough it. Surprises will make people extremely unhappy. Crews normally expect hotel or bed & breakfast accommodation, ideally without sharing rooms.

Gabor Heeres March 10th, 2010 10:54 AM

Cole, do you have any choice on your departure airport? I can have a lookup for you how to fly cheap. And about a cheap but safe way to stay: what about youth hostels?

Paul R Johnson March 10th, 2010 04:20 PM

Don't forget that food and drink is much more expensive than the US, and fuel is expensive too - not as bad as in England where petrol is around $8-9 a gallon!

A typical restaurant meal for one will run out at $35 or so, and even a McDonalds meal will run about $8!

Wherever you stay, you need mains electricity (which is 230V 50Hz)

Budget proper hotels will be around $70-100 per night for a room, Branded hotels will be $120+

I don't think there is a budget way to do this?

Cole Seidl March 10th, 2010 05:43 PM

I appreciate all the feedback.
I know the two other crew members rather well, so sharing accommodations will be do-able.
We'd be leaving from Minneapolis, which is unfortunate, right smack dab in the center of the continent.
This is going to be quite a challenge, however, I'm still confident it can be done.

And Bill, Thanks for the van idea. That may be my best option. Unfortunately, it won't be a comedy, but hopefully it'll still keep peoples interest.

Richard Gooderick March 10th, 2010 05:47 PM

Minneapolis. I spent a summer there as a student. Painting clapboard houses. A wonderful city.
Regarding food. If you use village restaurants and go for the set menu they can often be very reasonably priced and often very good. You may be pleasantly surprised.
The whole area is one of the nicest parts of the world. If your experience of French culture is limited you will be in for a treat.

David W. Jones March 10th, 2010 06:03 PM

Since you are asking these questions here, I'm assuming you have never shot a film in another country. Make sure you go through proper procedures with your gear and film permits before you even dream of going there for a shoot, or you may be in for a big surprise.

Just a thought... Why not write & shoot something you can actually afford to shoot?

All the Best!

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