Jump to content


Location, location, location


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Nathan Donnelly

Nathan Donnelly
  • Guests

Posted 02 November 2005 - 10:42 AM

I'm knee-deep in another production, and having taken care of wardrobe, talent, and other little details, the locations keep falling out from under our feet. We're producing a music video, and would really like to up the ante from our last one. We've contacted the Navy for permission to shoot aboard some of the inactive (and active) aircraft carriers over in Bremerton, but after our L.A. contact said that our project wasn't "pro navy" enough, we got the boot. After that, we contacted a local electric company to see if we could shoot at an old hydroelectric power plant. After run-around after run-around, we're at a loss to how we can pull off something great without investing a small fortune. The video itself will only feature one guy and won't have a band at all. Yet despite this, I fear the "low budget music video" stereotype is making us look like some kids with a camera.

So... How do you guys get locations that also happen to be private property? I've scoured the web searching for a Producer's forum, but to no avail. You guys are my first resource.

Edited by Nathan Donnelly, 02 November 2005 - 10:46 AM.

  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 November 2005 - 01:01 PM

Basically you find the owners and ask them, and make a deal. It helps to take along an experienced locations manager with you to talk to the owners in case some of them are film-saavy and have dealt with other productions. You may have to prove you have production insurance in case you damage something on their property.
  • 0

#3 Dickson Sorensen

Dickson Sorensen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 131 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 02 November 2005 - 01:38 PM

check with your local city or state film comission. Most cities own a lot of property and can be very helpful getting clearance. Keep you mind open as to what could work for you. I once filmed at a sewage processing plant that doubled for a factory. Lots of big pumps and machinery made for intresting backgrounds though the smell made it a little challenging for the crew and actors. Generally you will not have to pay location fees for public property just permit fees.

Private property requires that you have to negotiate with the owner and there anything goes.

True Story:

We scouted a location perfect for out shoot. The house was owned by an old couple. As we told the old man what we were doing, when, how much would be paid etc. he would refer us to his wife. He was very hard of hearing. She would nod and say fine. On the day of the shoot we showed up with all the trucks, a condor crane, motor homes and so on. The old couple had no idea why we were there. Turns out his wife had Altzheimers. What he couldn't hear she quickly forgot.
Moral: Get everything in writing before you send out the call sheets and directions for the crew!
  • 0

#4 Nathan Donnelly

Nathan Donnelly
  • Guests

Posted 02 November 2005 - 03:09 PM

Thanks for the replies, guys.

David, that's who we're trying to get ahold of, honestly. Seeing as how both of these locations were owned by large entities, finding the right person to contact is just daunting.

Dickson, we've been working with the Washington film office, and the best they could produce were outdated contacts and vague instructions. I'll check with them again as a last resort, but I'm not holding my breath. (not trying to sound cocky, this is just getting a bit frustrating)
  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 November 2005 - 07:09 PM

David, that's who we're trying to get ahold of, honestly. Seeing as how both of these locations were owned by large entities, finding the right person to contact is just daunting.


There's no way around needing to find the owners. Hey, try driving through hundreds of miles of Montana trying to figure out who owns some of these big spreads... On "Northfork" we spent several days hanging out at a local bar in Augusta trying to catch the owner of some land we needed to build sets on. I think he was afraid that we were from the IRS or something (we were driving in the Montana Film Commission's SUV with government plates on it) because he kept ducking out on us...
  • 0

#6 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11944 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 November 2005 - 08:57 PM

Hi,

I shot a load of stuff on an RAF airbase. It took about an hour's worth of phoning various offices, and they went "Okay, no problem."

We were a small unit, but it was far easier to organise than many privately owned locations I've come across. They didn't even charge us. I was astounded.

Phil
  • 0

#7 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 November 2005 - 09:15 PM

Sometimes government-owned property is free to shoot on, other than the permit costs, security, insurance, etc. because you're a taxpayer. For example, I did a movie in downtown LA where we found out that any office buildings owned by the State of California (but not the City of Los Angeles) were free to us.
  • 0

#8 Gino Terribilini

Gino Terribilini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 75 posts
  • Student
  • Long Beach, CA

Posted 02 November 2005 - 11:13 PM

In my high school days, I was able to get the local fire department to reinact a car crash totally free. They got the car, bashed it up, threw it against a tree, then came in with a few fire trucks, paramedics, took the actor out of the car, onto the stretcher, then away we went! It was a lot of fun and the price was right.

Gino
  • 0

#9 Nathan Donnelly

Nathan Donnelly
  • Guests

Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:25 AM

I shot a load of stuff on an RAF airbase. It took about an hour's worth of phoning various offices, and they went "Okay, no problem." We were a small unit, but it was far easier to organise than many privately owned locations I've come across. They didn't even charge us. I was astounded.


It was exactly the opposite when we inquired with the Navy. They went "You're not doing another 'Top Gun'? Sorry, can't help you."

EDIT: Also, acccording to the WA Film Office, Homeland Security is pretty tight about stuff like this, so apparently it's difficult even for the "big guys" to shoot these places too.

Edited by Nathan Donnelly, 03 November 2005 - 10:33 AM.

  • 0

#10 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11944 posts
  • Other

Posted 03 November 2005 - 12:52 PM

Hi,

The RAF said "Oh, you're not doing another Top Gun, are you? You're not? Great! We can't stand that junk."

Posted Image

Oh, and I'd like to add - once again, it was not me who decided I'm a "director of photography."

Phil
  • 0

#11 matthew david burton

matthew david burton
  • Guests

Posted 03 November 2005 - 08:55 PM

Howdy Nathan
Most of the time when your asking permition to film at locations it depends on what your shooting.
Doing a lot of news (ENG) work in my early years i found with the help of some good journalists (yes their are some) that it can take no more than one phone call to the right person to get the location you want.
Obviously if your filming for news and not film it's quite a bit easyer.
If you can show them that you have done a risk assessment and have at least public liability insurance your well on your way to a free location.

If you have any problems let us know and i'm sure we could help you out.
-matt
  • 0

#12 Grainy

Grainy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 65 posts
  • Director

Posted 04 November 2005 - 12:22 AM

Hard to tell exactly what you're looking for/not looking for (industrial? Military?) but the city of seattle is pretty good about locations -- isn't there something at Sand Point, the water treatment plant, or even gasworks you could use?
G
  • 0

#13 Nathan Donnelly

Nathan Donnelly
  • Guests

Posted 04 November 2005 - 12:45 AM

Hard to tell exactly what you're looking for/not looking for (industrial? Military?) but the city of seattle is pretty good about locations -- isn't there something at Sand Point, the water treatment plant, or even gasworks you could use?
G


The video I linked to in the first post in this thread was shot mostly at Sand Point, so I'd rather not go back there again. Gasworks is too small and a terrible cliche in this musical genre (industrial), so that's right out. The WA film office has given us some numbers for other places further outside the city, so those will probably get called early next week. The water treatment plant hadn't occured to me though, so I'll check that out as well. ;)
  • 0

#14 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 November 2005 - 07:01 PM

the locations keep falling out from under our feet.

You might try local auctioneers. After a facility has been sold off and cleared out, the place may sit idle for a while, and the secured party in posession or whatever may be interested in a few extra bucks for letting you use it.



-- J.S.
  • 0

#15 LondonFilmMan

LondonFilmMan
  • Guests

Posted 07 November 2005 - 05:15 PM

Go to Russia, enjoy the Vodka and hospitality, give 'em some $$$ and enjoy their full co-operation!
  • 0

#16 Clampet15

Clampet15
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Student

Posted 08 November 2005 - 11:41 AM

When all else fails, just pretend to be in college and claim this thing is a student project. I'm in college... but not doing anything with film yet, but when anyone of authority (police), ask me what the heck I'm doing at 2 in the morning in a upscale shopping/loft area with a bunch of cameras and actors with fake blood on them and their shirts off making a ruckuss, I tell them "student project". Works everytime. But, I would never promote lieing. So definatly go to college.
  • 0

#17 David Gottlieb

David Gottlieb
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts
  • Director

Posted 16 December 2005 - 11:06 PM

When all else fails, just pretend to be in college and claim this thing is a student project. I'm in college... but not doing anything with film yet, but when anyone of authority (police), ask me what the heck I'm doing at 2 in the morning in a upscale shopping/loft area with a bunch of cameras and actors with fake blood on them and their shirts off making a ruckuss, I tell them "student project". Works everytime. But, I would never promote lieing. So definatly go to college.


Be careful with that - a student group once had fake guns in their movie and didn't tell the local police about it, ended up shooting in broad daylight in a crowded campus, and nearly ended up being shot by the real things when local cops saw them. :unsure: You may want to tell any local authorities about it - they write these things down so you can say you told them if there's a confrontation and when they radio in they'll find your notice. Just a helpful piece of advice - wouldn't want to end up like the above group of college students - they nearly got arrested for disturbing the peace!!

Back to topic: for finding locations, I suggest looking for places for sale - they'd love to let you use it for some quick change and publicity (you can add some spin to your offer), and there'll be no one there to bother you or interfere. I like playing the 'free publicity' angle, but a public company probably won't care. Try to look for smaller local businesses for that approach, and you may get lucky and not have to pay at all :D
Another route is to shoot it in public - I just saw a music video all shot outdoors on empty roads and the such and it turned out pretty cool and professional with a very minimal crew. Good luck whatever route you take!!
  • 0

#18 Marcus Frakes

Marcus Frakes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 40 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 December 2005 - 07:32 AM

Two words:

Green Screen

I can get you any of the background footage from here in Prague. Other guys can here can get London shots. You can layer it in post.

Think about it....and email me. marcus
  • 0


Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

CineTape

CineTape

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC