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Old 11-27-2012, 01:04 AM   #1
Cracker Funk
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Guerrilla - if Aronofsky can do it...

...then why can't I?

So, the most common advice is that we all play it safe. Always get permits, written permission, etc. And yet, one of the biggest movies of 2010 shot a scene on a NY subway, without permission. If they can get away with it, why the heck can't I?

It kinda makes me feel emboldened. It kinda makes me wanna write scenes that take place wherever the heck I want them to take place, and then fly under the radar. If you were to keep the scenes brief, use a small clandestine crew, lav mics, and a really shallow depth of field, I think you could get away with shooting in some REALLY public places.

Your thoughts? Something I haven't considered?
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:33 AM   #2
jax_rox
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Here's the biggest thing you haven't considered:

If Black Swan gets stung with a $5,000 fine, or a lawsuit because something they did caused someone some sort of pain, they have the budget and the insurance to deal with it.

If you have insurance, go ahead, but it really is a gamble if you don't, or don't at least budget with fines in mind.

It also depends where you're shooting - some places are really lax, especially if you're shooting low profile w/ a DSLR etc. Other places are red hot on it.

It also depends what you're shooting - yeah, sure you could rock up to the local park and shoot a quick two-hander dialogue scene in a couple hours (it may not look as good as if you had time and permission and gear, but you could still do it), but I wouldn't be trying to shoot fight scenes, or firearm scenes etc.

Plus, there's the fact of: sure, you can do it, but that doesn't mean you should. I'd much rather chuck up a 20x20 over the heads of the two people sitting at the park, augment with some pocket pars, probably hooked up to a generator, throw up some floppies and/or duve etc. rather than simply go with what we've got, because what we setup will look 100x better than just whatever we can get in 2 hours before we get caught.

Now, if there's no way that you could get a location even close to the look you're after, then maybe it has to be done..
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:39 AM   #3
Alcove Audio
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Yeah, but Aronofsky, or rather the producers of the film, could afford to pay the fines if caught, plus they have high-powered legal talent on tap. They could also threaten to move all future productions out of NYC, thus removing all future revenues the City might reap from them, so how hard would the NYC attorneys office press the prosecution of the case? They'd let them off with a slap on the wrist if they penalized them at all. And in the event that the shoot equipment was impounded/confiscated it would not halt the shoot. Do you have that kind of clout?

Add on top of that the production has the resources (highly talented and experienced personnel plus extremely reliable wireless lavs at $2k+ a pop, etc.) to pull off a really good Guerrilla shoot. Plus, it wasn't the entire film, just one scene.

And do you think that an NYC MetroCop is really going to hassle Natalie Portman, et al? She'll turn on the charm and they will grease him in some way, like a large donation to the "retirement" or "widows and orphans" fund or something similar (wink, wink).
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:42 AM   #4
Zensteve
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NYC still has the "No tripod? No permit required" thing in place, right?

Pretty sure you'd be 100& A-OK with a DSLR, a hand-held LED light and an actor, no matter the budget.

Did "Day Night, Day Night" get permits for that? I don't think they did, did they?
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:43 AM   #5
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Once it's shot, they can't be forced to pay a fine. I think permits are mostly for the big expensive shoots that need to disrupt everything in that area while they film.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:44 AM   #6
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Yeah, I'm talking about shooting in a REALLY populated place. Like, downtown city street during rush hour. An airport, a train-station, etc. And yeah, it would have to be a simple dialog scene, and a really quick one at that. But these are the types of locations that I can't fake, so either I don't put it in the script, or I go gung-ho and shoot guerrilla.

Thanks for your thoughts, btw -- I'm just kinda thinking aloud on this one, and am glad to hear feedback.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:52 AM   #7
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Dude, for my series, we've shot 3 scenes guerilla-style. We knew the audio would be unusable, but we're fine with ADR, but the shots look AMAZING.

If the scenes need to be long, try recreating the area or shooting in a similar one for the close-up shots, and just shoot the actors in the crowds for the wide shots.

A DSLR is perfect because most people don't even know they're for video... wear clothes that make you look like a tourist and noone'll think anything of you...


We even managed to find a woman willing to be an actress because she stopped and asked what we were doing (Can't use her scene though, we forgot to get her number to schedule an ADR session... too bad because the bit we wrote was hilarious, and she was some pretty good eye candy for the male audience... maybe if we dub her voice......)
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:55 AM   #8
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Steve, I had considered the possibility that the Black Swan crew actually did not break any laws. Do we think that was the case? So maybe I just do the same?

Also, considering the fact that I'm talking about filming in REALLY public places, with lots of stuff going on around, even with lav mics, I would pretty much be making the production audio useless, no? If I were to do this, wouldn't I basically be deciding, in advance, that I'd simply have to ADR the entire scene?
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:02 AM   #9
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I think it could be more risky in busier areas. In a park with few people around, you're probably unlikely going to be noticed by anyone, at least for a while. With lots of people around, it's much more lkely that someone's going to notice you, and much more likely that someone in charge is going to notice you.

Especially at an airport where they're really paranoid, and have officials around everywhere. You might get away with one or two takes, but after that they're likely to at least move you on, which kinda makes a wasted shoot day really, especially if the audio is as unusable as I can imagine it might.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:15 AM   #10
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Here's the current scoop, for NYC at least:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/ne..._permits.shtml

So, sure. No permit required for guerilla-style under many situations. You can even get an official optional permit (without needing insurance), if you need to talk to LEO and sound more legit. (I 'spose what that one's for. Avoiding hassles with the man, man.)

Do what you like with the sound. It's not like there's any soundies breathin' down yer neck on the forum... right?

For all the relevant cities you want to film in, check their specific regs. Here in CA, permit rules vary wildly from city to city.

*Oh, someone already mentioned the insurance issue, regardless of whether it's etchinically needed for the permit or not. People can sue over anything.

Last edited by Zensteve; 11-27-2012 at 02:27 AM. Reason: Can't type lol
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:15 AM   #11
Jeff Troiano
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In Stu Maschwitz's book, The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap, he talks about how expensive it was to get permits in San Fransisco. So they had a friend with a pickup truck, put the tripod in the back and filmed guerrilla style. As long as the tripod never hit the ground, there wasn't an issue.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:31 AM   #12
directorik
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This was discussed here.

Of course you can do it. If you are willing to take the risk. You will
not be arrested - you will not be fined - you will be asked to stop
filming. So you stop. Only thing lost is time and your shots.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:48 AM   #13
rayw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zensteve View Post
NYC still has the "No tripod? No permit required" thing in place, right?

Pretty sure you'd be 100& A-OK with a DSLR, a hand-held LED light and an actor, no matter the budget.

Did "Day Night, Day Night" get permits for that? I don't think they did, did they?
The DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT (which, if you recall, I did review and scour for intel) producer did have NYC permits - but while on the streets no one asked to see them, which they had with them.

Apparently a four person group consisting of an actor wearing a non-suspicious backpack, a camera operator w/ shoulder mount camera, an audio tech w/ boom mic, and the director calling out directions in broad daylight and at night no one on the busy streets gave them ANY regard, as if they were quite used to it, but were quite helpful when asked to participate in the film.

The low impact set up you describe should be fine in many situations.

IDK about ~20 guys in a public parking deck, tho.

The parking deck likely has security cameras being monitored by paid security guards charged with keeping stupid kids and vandals from causing property damage to the vehicles they're responsible for protecting. AKA insurance liability + jobs.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:08 AM   #14
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It boils down to how big your balls are, personally I'd plan in advance maybe time my route, then prepare the shoot with everything in a bag turned on then shoot ASAP after that remove the memory card put it somewhere safe then leave, but that's London police can't really do anything to us coz they don't even understand their own laws..
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:12 AM   #15
NickClapper
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As you've seen from editing FOTF we shot a fair bit of guerrilla footage on the streets of London. Just me, Phil, sound recordist and a couple of actors and it was never a problem. No one even looked at us weirdly really.

It's just one of those things, and, with the advent of much smaller cameras and the greater proliferation of HD recording material, people are getting less and less interested in disrupting public shoots.

Go for it!
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