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Thinking about going to NYC for 2 weeks on whim with my camera. Advice and help needed!


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#1 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 05:20 PM

Hi all. I am a 21 year old filmmaker based in the UK and have recently graduated with a 1st class honors in Film Studies. Right now I am self employed part-time making some (pretty boring) films for various charity and community projects.

I have a somewhat decent amount of cash and I am thinking about flying out to NYC for two weeks with my gear and seeing what happens. Right now is the time before I get a 'real' job and this is the last of my free time. Where I live in the North of the UK there is very little film making going on, little funding and high competition for even free work.

I have 2 ideas. The first to go and work on some projects or even offer my services to a charity to make them a film. I see on Mandy.com and other places tons of film making opportunities, pages and pages of them. My second idea is to go with an idea for a short documentary and just take to the streets and film.

My kit list is:

Canon XL2
Rode NTG1 (with Rode boom)
LetusXL 35mm adapter (50mm and 28mm lens)
Some no brand fluid tripod

I have been to New York about 3 times previously I think and I really like it. However I have never been by myself and stayed in nice places with my family. I would be very nervous about taking all my kit and staying in some lower budget accomodation. This seems to be the last point in my life where finance is not really an issue, so making money isn't a priority. I feel the experiance would be amazing and I'm looking to go on holiday by myself anyway :).

Any tips, advice or comments? I can't tell if this would be amazingly fun and exciting or lonely, unproductive and costly.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:09 PM

What's the point?
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#3 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:21 PM

What's the point?


Fun, experiance, spontaneity and a holiday? I mean like I said, I'm looking to go abroad somewhere anyway (friends are too lazy/poor to go with me) and going with the intent to shoot some stuff just makes it all the better.

I also read you do not need a permit for a camera and tripod combo in NY unless you have lighting, cables, a truck etc.
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#4 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 09:55 PM

I could be wrong, but, I think you need a permit to put down a tripod, and our cash strapped city now charges $300 for a permit. Getting a permit requires proof that you're carrying insurance ... Why not go to Newfoundland and shoot sea-birds? Less hassle, and the air is cleaner.
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#5 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 05:07 AM

I could be wrong, but, I think you need a permit to put down a tripod, and our cash strapped city now charges $300 for a permit. Getting a permit requires proof that you're carrying insurance ... Why not go to Newfoundland and shoot sea-birds? Less hassle, and the air is cleaner.


The Mayor's Office website dictates that:

Permit Not Required:
$300 permit fee does NOT apply.

- Hand-held cameras or tripods are used and the person filming does not assert exclusive use of City property.

http://www.nyc.gov/h...o_permits.shtml
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#6 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 08:38 AM

What's the point?


Really, Phil. Sometimes your cynicism is too much for even me...and I work EMS in New York City, so that's saying something!

I say go for it, man. I still hope to travel all of Europe one of these days with nothing but my SLR. Do it while you still can.

Edited by Bill DiPietra, 12 August 2010 - 08:39 AM.

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#7 Pat Murray

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 03:23 PM

I only disagree with the length of your visit. Go for it! And stay as long as you can. See what happens.

'Those who never took a chance never had a chance.'

Edited by Pat Murray, 12 August 2010 - 03:23 PM.

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#8 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 12:24 PM

I only disagree with the length of your visit. Go for it! And stay as long as you can. See what happens.

'Those who never took a chance never had a chance.'


I think I'm going to go for it! I reckon I can book some return flights cheaply and I'll save up for some decent accomodation near the heart of NYC. Staying in cheap accom with $2000 worth of kit sounds like a recipe for disaster! Going to buy a backpack for my XL2 as well for easy trekking round the city.

Can't wait :)
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 01:38 PM

Again. What's the point.

You're a just-graduated UK film student so you are one of the least likely people in the world ever to make a living behind a camera.

You're inexpereinced, so what you shoot will probably be unusable.

You're burning money for no good reason.
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#10 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 02:51 PM

Again. What's the point.

You're a just-graduated UK film student so you are one of the least likely people in the world ever to make a living behind a camera.

You're inexpereinced, so what you shoot will probably be unusable.


Is this some sort of wind up? Who are you to say anything about myself or my work? Here are some facts about myself.

- Graduated with a first class honors.
- Recieved 94% for my 2nd year drama film and 84% for my documentary dissertation film.
- My dissertation documentary has been screened in a cinema for a period of time and also shown at a film festival.
- I am currently self employed as a film-maker. I am working on 3 paid projects and have completed another 3 prior to this.

I don't know why you are so bitter but I am making a living (albeit a quite low paid one) and I have had work screened in cinemas, festivals and other venues multiple times.

I'm lost for words that you think my footage would be 'unusable'. What the hell is wrong with you? It's a wonder any young person manages to try and push themselves into this industry with people like you giving 'advice'. Just checked out your website and I really wouldn't be judging other peoples talents if you catch my drift. Look forward to seeing you from the top!

Edited by Alastair Crimshaw, 13 August 2010 - 02:53 PM.

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#11 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 03:00 PM

Again. What's the point.

You're a just-graduated UK film student so you are one of the least likely people in the world ever to make a living behind a camera.

You're inexpereinced, so what you shoot will probably be unusable.

You're burning money for no good reason.



Alistair, you posted above while I was putting this together. No need to go off on somebody who asked a concise question. Sometimes
a challenge to one's proposition is meant to be the best advice.


I think that you both have valid views, albeit probably overly optimistic and pessimistic respectively.

People attempted to caution me against ambitious projects. I think that I would have benefitted from listening a bit more.

I suggest that you make a plan to shoot something specific if you take this trip. Be open to spontaneous adventures of course
but look at what you can plan to shoot in NYC . If you like narrative, recruit some NYC actors online. Somebody might say how
good could a Mini-DV handheld short film be made by people walking around and shooting sub-guerilla style? Hey, maybe really good, right?

If you like documentary see what's going on during the time of your trip, such as a big festival or event that you could jump right into as a person walking around with a camera.

Any of these things might lead you to an entirely new plan. Take it from the worldly cynics though spend your time and money carefully. Still explore but focus intently.
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#12 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 03:21 PM

Alistair, you posted above while I was putting this together. No need to go off on somebody who asked a concise question. Sometimes
a challenge to one's proposition is meant to be the best advice.


[snip]


Thanks for the advice. Like I said earlier, I am planning on going abroad anyway so turning into something film based is really just an added bonus. Like I also said in my first post I am also interested in getting involved in other peoples projects and offering my skills to charity or community projects. I have made sub 30min documentaries for charity projects in the UK for sometimes very little pay (or free) and I find them to be extremely interesting to shoot and edit.

Sorry if I went off on one in my last post but to have some random call your work 'unusable' is a strong catalyst for anger. I somehow get the impression that a few people think I want to just walk around NYC with the camera in auto-mode.

I would post examples of my work but I'm confident enough in my past projects and commissions not to have to prove myself to a random guy on the internet.

Edited by Alastair Crimshaw, 13 August 2010 - 03:23 PM.

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#13 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 03:36 PM

Ok I lied in my last post. Phil I have checked out your site and you are the last person to talk about footage being 'unusable'.

Phil Rodes Interview:

Posted Image

My interview:

Posted Image

Mods should probably delete this thread or clean it up. Again sorry but that comment really rubbed me the wrong way.

Edited by Alastair Crimshaw, 13 August 2010 - 03:38 PM.

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#14 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 03:47 PM

The Mayor's Office website dictates that:

Permit Not Required:
$300 permit fee does NOT apply.

- Hand-held cameras or tripods are used and the person filming does not assert exclusive use of City property.

http://www.nyc.gov/h...o_permits.shtml


To Alastair: You might want to carry a print-out of that page from the NYC permit office to show to the friendly NYC policeman who might not be aware of the fine print as it were. ;-)

Best of luck on your adventure. Just don't be stupid & careless like I was (am?)! :-)
http://www.cinematog...840
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 04:03 PM

It's a wonder any young person manages to try and push themselves into this industry with people like you giving 'advice'



Yep, that's the general idea.

You will eventually get to the point where doing charity documentaries for cheap is no longer enough.


In the meantime, have a look at this:





84% in mediated enablism, eh? ;)

P

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#16 Alastair Crimshaw

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 05:19 PM

To Alastair: You might want to carry a print-out of that page from the NYC permit office to show to the friendly NYC policeman who might not be aware of the fine print as it were. ;-)

Best of luck on your adventure. Just don't be stupid & careless like I was (am?)! :-)
http://www.cinematog...840


Thanks for the tip! I had a similar embrassing moment earlier this week. I was at work shooting some interviews for a 'behind the scenes' feature for an animation. My sound recordist was away so I was by myself. I set my gear up and went through to call in the first guy. As I came out all my kit was gone! Eventually everyone was running round checking people on their way out to see if they had stolen it etc etc. Basically the place turned upside down. I felt sick at the thought that everything I had was gone.

Someone pointed outside (about 10m from where it was) and said "isn't that it?". Someone had moved it out the way of the enterance door without informing me. You live and learn I guess. I'll never hear the end of it though!


PS: Phil, yeah I watch TV too!

Edited by Alastair Crimshaw, 13 August 2010 - 05:21 PM.

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