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Old 09-28-2014, 12:11 PM   #1
LP13
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Don't Ask, Don't Get

So, that was embarrassing.

I'm completing a horror movie currently, and have come to film the ending. On location scouting, we found this really cool abandoned looking building in the woods, and went up there today to investigate filming there.

Now, its derelict in places, so I was unsure whether if anyone lived there - whether this would be suitable for a quick guerrilla shoot (I only need the location for a few shots, and can use another location to fake the rest) or if i would need to get permission.

So it's all boarded up and quiet, and I'm tiptoeing looking around, and all of a sudden this guy walks out of the front door with a cup of tea and I just freeze. And then walk off. Luckily at that point i was just outside the front gate having a look, so wasn't on the property (which would've looked even stranger), but still, I completely wimped it and left.

So yeah. That went well.

I just found it so difficult how to even go about approaching that situation. In my previous films, all the cool locations have been through people i know, or sort of know, but I've never had to try and secure a location with someone I have completely no link with and am literally just strolling onto his property to ask.

I know the adage "You have to ask" but does anyone have any tips on how to go about this without it being super awkward? I kind of chickened out, but I do want to go back with some kind of plan and ask confidently to secure this. Maybe over the phone or a letter would be better?

Any tips or stories of things you've pulled off appreciated.

Cheers!
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Old 09-28-2014, 12:57 PM   #2
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i don't have a lot of experience with this but most people are willing to help you out if you're willing to help them out with something...what that thing may be, you've got to ask. i'd just make sure that when you're asking to use the property for your shoot, you're also offering services, money, etc to balance the toll
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:08 PM   #3
GuerrillaAngel
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They'll want insurance, usually.

LP13, did you have your camera rolling? No? Then that's a lost shot. If you are going to jump a fence, have your camera rolling. Set it down a few times on your way in for static exterior footage. (Interiors can be shot elsewhere). If you get stopped, at least you'll have footage to make it worth your while.
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:14 PM   #4
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or if you'd left your camera rolling while jumping the fence and the guy came after you with a pitchfork, you could just say it's a "found footage" horror film and call it a day
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:39 PM   #5
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or if you'd left your camera rolling while jumping the fence and the guy came after you with a pitchfork, you could just say it's a "found footage" horror film and call it a day
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:27 PM   #6
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Try the line, "Hey, I know this is a long shot, but you never know if you don't ask.... We're shooting a movie and need your help... Your mission if you choose to accept it...." Ok, the last part went a little too far, but the first part, try it. It works more often than you'd think.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Try the line, "Hey, I know this is a long shot, but you never know if you don't ask.... We're shooting a movie and need your help... Your mission if you choose to accept it...." Ok, the last part went a little too far, but the first part, try it. It works more often than you'd think.
+1

People seem to appreciate being unfair overly polite. Recently i was in need of a psm and i managed to stumble upon a few email addresses which weren't really intended for no budget students like myself. But i essentially said "sorry if I'm asking too much, but..." Asking if they had any contacts me in the industry looking for work. One or two were dismissive, but most were incredibly helpful, and i was actually in a position where i had multiple (qualified) applicants for a crew role!

Similarly, when i was in high school, i managed to get our towns only "name actor" (in theatre circles), who reportedly hates film, to act in my first train wreck of a movie.

In both cases i assumed it was futile asking, but both situations ended well.
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:08 AM   #8
RealJasonBourne
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If you're not paying them then it's awkard as hell but if you can manage to fork out $150 - $200 then maybe you could leave a notice on their door that has your phone number and email if they are interested in your offer.
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:13 AM   #9
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People are far more like to not even read the notice on their doorstep, let alone consider your offer, if you don't talk to them directly. Over the phone is acceptable. In person is ideal. Email is ok if its your only option.
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:28 AM   #10
A.D.
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In person is ideal.
^ Definitely this. A bit like dating, you get about 2 seconds to impress them before they decide either way. It's not quite as black and white as that, but the longer it takes the more chance you have lost them, and it's definitely quicker/easier to impress them in person than any other way.

I have done a lot of random shoots with people that I have just approached in the street because they were wearing something cool, or I saw someone with a snazzy car or a beautiful newborn baby etc, and the absolute key to getting them on board is your ability to match personality and bond with them on a level (particularly over the subject you wish to shoot).

Your looks do matter (so personal appearance should at least be 'presentable'), but most importantly you just have to be polite and entheuse about their property/dress/car/hair. Literally, just get licking and pay compliments and you'll be surprised at how people take it. We vary rarely get even a smile off of strangers in this day and age it seems, and we all love to talk about things dear to us to those that would listen.

I've done this a little too well at times and ended up miles from home (but with an SD card full of cool pics) or having my ear talked off by people that would make a Financial Times columnist look exciting, but the only way to get those shots is to just ask.
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