CAST & CREW -
For many film-makers, location scouting can be a headache. Companies or individuals may expect financial compensation if you shoot on their private property. As for local goverments, they may also charge you money to shoot on their public lands. They will also most certainly force you to wait for official paperwork to be done. The last thing you need to deal with are all these problems. So what do you do? Well our solution for you is to shoot guerilla style. Below is a list of potentially free locations that you can exploit for your production's benefit.
INDUSTRIAL PARKS -
The hidden jem most location scouts overlook is the industrial park. On weekends these city zones are almost completely deserted. I have found that these places are the ultimate for shooting car chases, day or night. There are parking garages, office entrances and even empty roadways, all at your disposal. However, there are potential risks that you must look into if you're going to shoot on this type of private property, without permission. It's always smart to scout around for security a few days before you use the location. That way you'll know where they are stationed, so you can avoid them during your shoot. But if security does discover you, it's best to grab your equipment and run. You must consider that security officers do not have the right to restrain you. But they will notify the police if they see you as a threat. After that it will take any where from 5 to 30 minutes for the police to arrive. Get out of there before they do. However, if the police arrive just tell them that you are a student film-maker. They will see your equipment and make their own judgement. I was caught by them once and they were gracious enough to let me finish my shoot while they watched me do it. They are usually more shocked then angry when they catch you where you shouldn't be, with a camera. So keep that under consideration. One place that never has security in an industrial site is a building under construction. It may be a little risky so you should scout the whole area first. But my experience is that you can to shoot some fancy car chases through construction sites. Just check to make sure there are no nails or other sharp objects to pop your tires. You can drive into the building when it's loading bay ramps are only partially built and you'll have access to the whole interior.
CONVENIENCE STORES AND GAS STATIONS - A great place to shoot at night without power is at any isolated, gas station or convenience store. If you search for power outside these locations, look behind ice boxes and pop machines. Usually you can unplug those machines and plug your lights into them instead. Isolated gas stations outside of the city or in industrial parks make the perfect
place to do this. A major problem with this type of shoot at night, is that you will sometimes have no choice but to rent a small mobile generator to light the scene properly. If you don't have 5000 watts worth of light, don't even bother.
If you can't afford a generator but still want to shoot, outside at night then you have two options. Asking for permission to use the power in a building near the shoot or instead find a place where the light will work during your shoot. Downtown centers in many large cities like Las Vegas, have enough light to shoot people on the street. If you look at the movie Taxi with Robert Deniro, many parts of it were shot using existing light on the streets of New York City. When you don't have the luxury of bringing in lights use what exists around you.
PARKS AND WOODLAND -
The best place to shoot Guerilla style is in a forest or very large park. That definately explains why the Blair Witch Project was shot in the woods. No one was there to bother those film-makers as they made their revolutionary film. I don't recommend that you shoot at night because it will be almost impossible to light without a generator. If you wanted to make it look like night without your primary light source "THE SUN" going down, shot day-for-night. If you shoot day-for-night you may have the problem convincing your audience it's night. Obviously if it looks dark and there's a bird flying through your shot, your audience may get just a little bit suspicious. You could also try shooting at dusk or dawn. But, you'll have to be really quick to catch what little light exists at that time.
SCOUTING IS PARAMOUNT - Guerilla film-making takes a lot of planning and a lot of tricks. Our recommendation is that you should scout all of your locations and see exactly what types of obsticals you might be faced with during your filming. Take plenty of notes and good luck in all your shoots.
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