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Production Insurance, Permit - do I need it?


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#1 David Sweetman

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 03:52 AM

I'm gearing up to shoot a 16mm 10-minute short in Santa Clarita, 30 min north of Hollywood. I want to shoot at an exterior location I've briefly scouted, but haven't contacted the people there yet -- I think it's some kind of oil refinery. Big, dirty, cool-looking equipment. I'm a student. I know I'm supposed to have a permit, but do I need one? Do I need Production Insurance? My school is not a film school, but they have given me insurance for renting props and such. I'm sure they'll be willing to give me production insurance, but that sounds so much "bigger"...what exactly does it entail? Sorry to be so vague, but this kind of stuff is where I have no knowledge, as it has never really concerned me before.
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#2 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 04:44 AM

You should always have insurance to protect yourself. You can't even get a permit without it, let alone rent equipment.
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 06:36 AM

I'm gearing up to shoot a 16mm 10-minute short in Santa Clarita, 30 min north of Hollywood. I want to shoot at an exterior location I've briefly scouted, but haven't contacted the people there yet -- I think it's some kind of oil refinery. Big, dirty, cool-looking equipment. I'm a student. I know I'm supposed to have a permit, but do I need one? Do I need Production Insurance? My school is not a film school, but they have given me insurance for renting props and such. I'm sure they'll be willing to give me production insurance, but that sounds so much "bigger"...what exactly does it entail? Sorry to be so vague, but this kind of stuff is where I have no knowledge, as it has never really concerned me before.



You should get public liability insurance at the very least. Some locations will ask how much cover you've got. Rental companies will insist that you have insurance for their equipment.

If the location is on private property you'll need permission from the owners to film there. There are standard contracts you can get them to sign.
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#4 NBC Shooter

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 12:49 AM

You're making a STUDENT film? You can't afford insurance and a permit! If you can get $1 million production liability insurance (minimum coverage required by most) from your school for free, great! If you can't . . . shoot fast, be portable, be ready to change locations at a moment's notice. Technically, you need insurance and a permit EVEN if you're shooting on private property with the owner's permission. Even if the location looks unguarded, the minute you show up with a camera, those security guys seem to come out of nowhere.

Use your judgement. I've shot in lots of locations without permits and insurance for personal projects. I've shot on private property (with owner's permission) where technically, you're supposed to have insurance and a permit from the city, plus a possible fire marshall inspection, but that's an enourmous expense for a student film.

Edited by NBC Shooter, 24 December 2005 - 12:51 AM.

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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 03:09 AM

Yeah I think the permit is something like $395, though they allude to being able to knock it down some for students. Pretty sure the 1 mill insurance would be free. I might try the guerilla approach, except the place is moderately populated and there's going to be six dummy guns in the scene. I hope I can persuade the people there to let me do it for free.

The main thing that worries me is that all the organization and paperwork sounds like a headache. But the more I think about it, the more I realize I'll need it for this shoot.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 06:06 AM

Yeah I think the permit is something like $395, though they allude to being able to knock it down some for students. Pretty sure the 1 mill insurance would be free. I might try the guerilla approach, except the place is moderately populated and there's going to be six dummy guns in the scene. I hope I can persuade the people there to let me do it for free.

The main thing that worries me is that all the organization and paperwork sounds like a headache. But the more I think about it, the more I realize I'll need it for this shoot.


With guns you need to be careful. In the UK a police firearms unit (their SWAT team) was called because someone saw the weapons on a student film shoot and thought there was a crime happening.

Unfortunately, organization and paperwork go with the territory in filmmaking. If it's a high school project include the paperwork as part of your final piece - there could be some extra marks.
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#7 Stuart C

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 07:15 AM

if you hope to one day make films professionally all of the above will be necessary...it's worth it for the experience.

Also, your cast and crew aren't going to be too thrilled if you're closed down and told to move on...will they show up to your next shoot ?
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#8 David Sweetman

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 06:52 PM

Also, your cast and crew aren't going to be too thrilled if you're closed down and told to move on...will they show up to your next shoot ?


Ah, well...I am the crew, besides my 1st AC and one or two people to help me with reflector boards and whatnot. Plus 5 actors. I'm sure my crew would stick with me no matter what, but I'm not sure about the actors. Regardless of lack of manpower, I have high ambitions for this film. One of my prospective actors is on the police force, so he'll be able to help me out, perhaps, if the authorities show up. All this makes me wish this one location I've found wasn't so incredibly perfect, because I could find some out-of-the way, uninhabited place and probably get away with no permit, like I have many times before. But I really want to shoot at this Oil place, where I'm sure they have employees and security. I think I'll just go talk to them, tell them the permit is in process, the insurance is solid, and see if they're even interested.
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#9 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 06:04 AM

not sure how much experience you have but you could get away without any permits if no-one is signing anything BUT you must consider getting your actors to sign release forms - and if they need to sign release forms then you are tied into at least a basic contract with them - which minimum is going to be public liability (PL) insurance. It should be fairly cheap to get PL insurance for a small crew for a short shoot. I have PL insurance for US10M for one year and it costs about £500 total - this also includes worldwide rented in kit of £100 000 and theft from cars on set and aircraft accidents where the Op is not the pilot.

So there must be some good deals out there.

The main reason to get PL insurance is for the rest of your crew - you don't want to have to sell your parents house to cover someone accidently walking into a power line.

NOTE in the UK you need to keep the PL insurance document for 40 years!

thanks

Rolfe
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#10 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 08:06 AM

Yes, this has to be the worst part of film making and the most boring. Yuk. The ugly paperwork.....a thorn in the side of any creative brain. But, it is true, you have to be adult about it. Cover your ass.
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CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Opal

CineTape

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Technodolly