I am producing a documentary and this is my first time as the producer on my own project. I am going to be following some people around and I requested permission to film at their hotel. It's important because I can't just tell the people to switch hotels, its their real-life situation. I expained that I will be filming people who have given me permision to film them. I won't need any special accomidations, I will only be using a small video camera. So I faxed in the release forms call them up the next week and the manager tells me I can't film there for security reasons. He won't elaboarate what the security concerns are. Just that I can't film there and I can't talk to the owner who finalized the decision either.:huh: So now I want to know if anyone has any advice for re-negoting with the hotel and manager.
05-22-2006, 12:24 PM
So now I want to know if anyone has any advice for re-negoting with the hotel and manager.
05-22-2006, 12:57 PM
If I only film in the rooms rented to the people I have expressed permission to film. I could argue that the rooms are their domicile, those rooms are controlled by those people on that particular day. Just like if I agreed to have someone come in and film in my apartment not at the exterior. I would not need permission from management or the owners (which happens to be the US Army in my case).
05-22-2006, 01:12 PM
Even if you film inside an apartment, you need the landlord's/owner's permission. He is the owner of the property, inside or out doesn't matter. However, it's much easier to pull off guerrilla style inside the apartments.
05-22-2006, 01:28 PM
Indietalk.. person of few words... BUT he's right!
You should ask them what assurences they need from you in order to film. However, if you're not saying where they are staying, and not showing anything that will cause viewers to recognize the hotel, then you might be able to get away with it, gorilla style.
However, legally, I believe that if you're shooting on private property, you need permission. Public property, you don't.
05-22-2006, 02:21 PM
I used to work in security at a hotel in Beverly Hills. You should be able to shoot inside the rented rooms with no problems... as long as you don't get any noise complaints. But, shooting in the hallways, lobby, outside etc would be a big no-no as far as the security dept will be concerned. It's mostly about respecting other guests privacy than any actual "security" issue.
If there was a specific spot you wanted to shoot in, say a ballroom, I would contact the hotel general manager directly. Maybe if you can explain specifically what you need, he may allow filming under certain condidtions. But, no hotel manager is going to give someone carte blanche to film whatever and where ever they want.
05-22-2006, 02:24 PM
Sounds like the manager is just trying to be awkward.
My advice would be to either buy something at the hotel as money talks in every language.
Or if filming is behind closed doors, just lock the door and film it.
I have taken loads of pictures in restricted areas and by time anyone says "hey you can't do that" i have already got the picture. Although in the ideal world it is best to get authorisation.
05-22-2006, 03:02 PM
they may be concerned with the content of the piece as well...make sure you are open and honest with them that it's a documentary, not adult films. For drama pieces, I like to let them see the script...that way they know it's not untoward.
05-22-2006, 03:16 PM
I called the hotel manager with all of your advice. What a cool bunch to give help and feedback so fast! Since I don't have contact with the proper person, who the owner it's difficult to negotiate. The manager said "they" won't sign anything. (my english teacher once told me "they" is a useless word). The manager also told me what I do in the rooms is not of the hotels concern. I did ask for permission to film only in the hotel rooms and I explain about litigation concerns and so on. He stonewalled me. If he seems to be akward, might I note he speaks with an Indian accent. So this is someone who is a native English speaker.
05-22-2006, 03:21 PM
You may want to check-in to one of the hotel rooms for the days of the shoot for a staging area. If you have cables, lights, boxes, people in the hallways, you'll be kicked out, or asked to go inside the shooting room, where it will cause a problem.
Loud Orange Cat
05-22-2006, 04:17 PM
If you're getting stonewalled to death, why not move the actors to a more friendly hotel and shoot there?
05-22-2006, 04:22 PM
Yes, why is this one location so important? It might be your selling technique or negotiation skills as to why he's not budging... However, if you're walking down the hall with a cam, and someone comes out of their room, Boom you can't use your footage inless you get their permission. I can see the hotel having a guest privacy issue.
Why do you need to shoot anywhere outside the hotel?
Why not have an establishing shot of the hotel, minus any trademarked logos, then cut into the room? If you shoot it from a public location and can see it publically, you would be able to use the footage.
05-22-2006, 04:28 PM
If you're getting stonewalled to death, why not move the actors to a more friendly hotel and shoot there?
It is more complicated than just that. The "subjects" will need to stay near their activities for the time. I am filming about 80 people who are using their own money to stay in the rooms. It is also in the Washington DC area during 4th of July weekend and it was very difficult for the coordinators of the event to book hotel rooms at a resonable rate. My subjects like having me around since I am potentally bring publicity to their underground sport and if nothing else they get a nice souviner movie. I will bring it up to the coordinators since I plan to film more of the tournaments. Hopefull next time permission to film and booking the rooms will go hand in hand.
05-22-2006, 04:35 PM
If it's that important for you to shoot at this particular hotel I would say shoot guerrilla-style. The question is how big is your crew? What about gear? To keep it extremely simple so as not to draw attention to yourself use a wireless LAV, a single light mounted on your camera and that's it. If the image looks "flat", which it propbably will, color correct it in post later. This will at least give it a more artistic look. And before rolling make sure there is NOTHING in the shot that has a hotel logo on it. As long as there is no visible proof where you shot you'll probably get away with it without incident.
05-22-2006, 07:05 PM
Find the corporate headquarters and ask for their PR dept...see if they'd like to have an opportunity to promote youth athletics by allowing you to film these folks in their hotel! ;)
I'm assuming it's a youth athletic kind of endeavor...correct me if I'm wrong...if it's competitive self-flagellation, they won't give you a chance to ask again, but if it's a semi-respectable sport, and they get screen credit for it (and a copy to show off). you can fax them a release and be on your way with their merry blessing...the hotel manager should get a copy of that from you once you get it signed and a name and contact number as well so he can verify its authenticity. Make sure you are respectful about not getting other guests in the shot. The way that's avoided in things like jacka$$ is that they get releases signed after the fact from the bystanders...anyone who says no gets their face blanked out. You see the 4 guys running down the street pouring buckets of poop on people and laughing...I see 20 PA's running after them with still cameras for IDs and a stack of release forms.
05-22-2006, 07:06 PM
Out of curiosity, what is the hotel name, the sport and the event?
05-22-2006, 11:15 PM
The film is going to be on the people who play competitive laser tag. I am going to follow them around to capture the fun, the rivals, stratigies, bonding, what have you. More based on characters then the game itself. It's kind of a part jock part indoor fantasy gamer type of crowd, a pretty tight group. I'm going to cover the basics too, not everyone know what laser tag is. In July they are going on a "tournament on tour" called Armegeddon competing in different laser tag brands or as they call it systems. hopefully film many more tournaments as well.
The hotel I'm having touble with is a franchised hotel so corporate can't do much for me except let me use the logos or name that might happen to show up. I don't want to post the info due to more legal concerns.
05-23-2006, 08:58 AM
Now you have my interest because I used to play, and our team was so good, we used to stomp the competition, who had automatic rifles. We only had the single shot, but more acurate pistols. There was one time, in a park where everyone in my team was gone except me and one other. They had a sniper up on a hill in the park. I sent out my friend to draw his fire.. Then I sneaked up behind the guy and stood 5 feet behind him. I killed him 3 times but he thought it was a malfunction with his sensor. So after he reset it for the third time I said in a deep quiet voice, "I think you're dead." MAN! that dude jumped up and screamed.. I scared the sh!t out of him.. LOL and we beat the best rated team in the area. Now we were the best!
Anyway, why do you HAVE to shoot in the halls? If they said no, then drop it and do what you have permission to do. If they said no, then stop wasting your time and move forward.
Is the event at the hotel? I don't really know what the problem is?
Are they actually playing in the hotel hallways?
05-23-2006, 11:10 AM
Sounds to me as if (correct me if I'm wrong) he's trying to get the BTS players outside of the game type of stuff. They are registered in the hotel already of their own volition for the event, he wants to capture them for use in the doc. If the hotel is franchised and not corporate, the franchisee has the right s to give you permission to shoot at their location as long as you don't show the corporate logo or location name...at which point it becomes a corporate level decision. Find the franchisee's name and get a way to contact them... http://www.dexonline.com is your friend. Be professional and polite...thank them for their time. Give them you name up front and to everyone else you talk to "My name is ..., I'm an independant documantary filmmaker and I'd like to talk to the manager/owner/franchise owner." Explain the event and that you'd like to get some Behind the scenes human interst footage. You'll respect the privacy of the other tenants, you'd like a release signed with all of this information on it for your protection and the protection of the franchise owner. If this is not something they'd like to support, thank them for their time and figure out a different way. The trick is to get to the right person to talk to.
05-23-2006, 11:39 AM
It's not extremely important that I shoot the exteriors of the hall, apparently no one is allowed to use this hotel for a production. I've decided to just drop the issue. I just wanted to get some establishing shots of the hotel, and show that all the players stay together and run across the street to play insane laser tag all day. It's not so important that I need to obess about it all month, So I'll just film in the rooms. I want to use the rooms to show the casual side of laser tag. I set up a little myspace page for the project. http://www.myspace.com/gothamhyperspace
and if you want coot you can read up on the events http://www.lasersport.com