Filming without film insurance? Police help without permit? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I want to film in Detroit but when I contacted the city's film office they told me in order to get a permit I need insurance. The secretary also told me she believes in order to film anywhere outdoors, I need a permit. Great, thanks police state.

Google makes it look as though it's a $500 minimum for the non-scam film insurance agencies (one company I keep seeing is 'wildcard' insurance - not legit) and this is an out-of-pocket production... ouch.

I'm wondering if this would be possible: having the crew wear neon orange vests, hold up signs saying "FILMING IN PROGRESS," using megaphones to tell the crowd we're filming AND going into any shops in the area and alerting them to our presence - then calling the police department and asking if an officer would kindly check out our equipment and tell the dispatchers. Having a cop on-scene and a bunch of forewarning that we are only a harmless film crew, would that work?

Some quick info about the production: The spring airsoft guns in question are probably all going to be broken, and all effects will be added in post. It's a big chase scene between the main character and government agents. These agents are actually - in the story - ordered not to use their firearms in public places, meaning agents will be chasing the main character around and only in back alleys and unpopulated areas will the actors pull out their glocks and pretend to fire upon him.

I don't want any lectures - I'm in my 20's - so before you offend me no, the scene will not be cut from the movie! I am considering doing this under-the-radar but instead of any "I heard this one kid" or "they thought it was real and..." or "better safe than sorry" I would rather hear concrete options - basically what I can get away with!

Also note that I think the general population are a bunch of sissies and cowards if they can't let some good-natured lads take to the streets and make a low-budget movie without paying $500+ in insurance and a permit. Thanks for any (good and helpful) advice!

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post #2 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickswan View Post

basically what I can get away with!

The sky is the limit.... so long as you have the necessary funds to pay any fines that happen along. My guess however is that it'll be a lot more than $500 by the time all is said and done.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 05:50 PM
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Seriously film in a place that is cheaper. Lots of places will let you film for free. Big cities are very impersonal, try a smaller city and make it look bigger.
For a real life example (big budget) Most movies about NYC are actually filmed in Vancouver Canada. Gun regs in NYC make filming there all but impossible.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 06:02 PM
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I dont know all the details, but I suspect that when you have to contact the police and ask for permission to run around town with fake guns and forewarn shop owners (what about their customers and potential business losses?) you are going to have to pay somebody or it wont end well for you.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 06:05 PM
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http://www.filmdetroit.com/

could probably answer you question more concisely, but you couldn't pay me enough to shoot a scene with firearms (fake or real) in a public place without a permit and insurance due to the potential liability.

That said, I have been on a rather large "illegal" shoot before, it was an impromptu shoot in the middle of the Las Vegas strip on a busy saturday night for the cover of a car magazine. We had insurance but no permit, I wouldn't ever shoot without insurance. That said I can get away with a lot in public b/c the magazines I shoot for are considered news outlets if your video is commercial in nature or it will ever be published for profit you will want to be more vigilant on the permit front.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 06:28 PM
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Of course for the realistic action you could simply not tell anyone and wait for your, actors/Detroit's finest, to "show up" Maybe some useful footage to come from this.

Let the chase begin... Action~!

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post #7 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbarney View Post

The sky is the limit.... so long as you have the necessary funds to pay any fines that happen along. My guess however is that it'll be a lot more than $500 by the time all is said and done.

City of Detroit has to fund their po-po's somehow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Cebu View Post

Seriously film in a place that is cheaper. Lots of places will let you film for free. Big cities are very impersonal, try a smaller city and make it look bigger.
For a real life example (big budget) Most movies about NYC are actually filmed in Vancouver Canada. Gun regs in NYC make filming there all but impossible.

That's actually a pretty helpful comment, thank you Steve. Nearby in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti may be more lenient.

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Originally Posted by workinghard View Post

I dont know all the details, but I suspect that when you have to contact the police and ask for permission to run around town with fake guns and forewarn shop owners (what about their customers and potential business losses?) you are going to have to pay somebody or it wont end well for you.

Well, they won't have guns in front of shops, perhaps you should have read the description a tad closer. It will all be in alleys and unpopulated areas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2.ooohhh View Post

http://www.filmdetroit.com/

could probably answer you question more concisely, but you couldn't pay me enough to shoot a scene with firearms (fake or real) in a public place without a permit and insurance due to the potential liability.

That said, I have been on a rather large "illegal" shoot before, it was an impromptu shoot in the middle of the Las Vegas strip on a busy saturday night for the cover of a car magazine. We had insurance but no permit, I wouldn't ever shoot without insurance. That said I can get away with a lot in public b/c the magazines I shoot for are considered news outlets if your video is commercial in nature or it will ever be published for profit you will want to be more vigilant on the permit front.

I have heard on another forum that if you take a class and put it under the flag of a "student production" you may get more leeway, I'll probably go this route.

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Originally Posted by turbe View Post

Of course for the realistic action you could simply not tell anyone and wait for your, actors/Detroit's finest, to "show up"

Let the chase begin... Action~!

I like your style - plus, free publicity! Unfortunately since it's government agents I'm aiming for, I'll have to get up to five stars on my wanted level. Just got to hide that memory card somewhere before they confiscate it...

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post #8 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 08:36 PM
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Well, they won't have guns in front of shops, perhaps you should have read the description a tad closer. It will all be in alleys and unpopulated areas.



Thats not what I mean. Just imagine the shop owners, they wake up, normal day. And then here comes this whole team of 20 somethings with orange vests, signs, fake guns, and MEGAPHONES etc, announcing this is just a video shoot, dont worry, nobody get scared. If you have to tell people not to get scared, you can pretty much bank on it that somebody is going to be getting at least a little worked up. Even if some customers enjoy your presence, the shop owners are sure to see it as a risk and that you are hassling customers, and you will be because you are going around letting them know you are "just shooting a video". You mention a crowd being gathered...could go well for the shopowners, but most likely will be an interference. In addition you are going to have cops around, adding more drama to the scene... you dont think there is a chance there will be trouble?

I think you are REALLY overestimating mankind.

Also, in your original post you wrote:

low-budget movie without paying $500+ in insurance and a permit

Which is somewhat ambiguous. Are you planning to ditch both? Are you planning on getting a permit but just ditching the insurance? If you dont have a permit either, then obviously some cops are not going to be happy, and store owners are going to be even more upset.

You also wrote:

I don't want any lectures - I'm in my 20's - so before you offend me no, the scene will not be cut from the movie!


This is fairly important, as it reveals that you yourself are very easily irritated and offended. You run the risk of offense simply because someone on a chat board to which you have posted 15 times might SUGGEST you cut the scene from your movie, AND you use your youth as an excuse for your indignation.

I wonder if you can actually trust yourself to remain calm if things get heated with a store owner or onlooker whom you are interfering with? Be honest with yourself and imagine somebody getting in your face on set while you are trying to work. You really think you are the type to keep a cool head? I cant say for sure, but only use the evidence before me.

Get the insurance dude, or take it to a smaller venue. Obviously.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-08-2011, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Well it looks like I just got served.

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post #10 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 08:20 AM
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Myself I would fear that someone would 1 grab my camcorder 2 could just shoot me dead. Thats one City to avoid being seen outside with any camera.
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post #11 of 12 Old 02-09-2011, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah but I ain't no snitch; snitches get stitches, shee?

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post #12 of 12 Old 01-23-2013, 10:46 AM
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Its never a good idea to shoot with out a permit or insurance. If you are super small, like one cameraman crew and a couple actors you may be able to get away with quick guerrilla style shooting, but if you are more than that you better face facts. I would recommend checking out the local authorities for way to get a permit. Also check out www.FilmEmporium.com for insurance information. They are who I use and love them! Best of luck!
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