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Are you a run and gun guerrilla filmmaker OR Are you careful about your investment and got those permits on always on hand?
If you are a risk taker what justified putting your production potentially on lock down due to the cops seizing your equipment and paying a fine that costs more than the cost of the permit?
Recently I learned that if I want to film in L.A., even if its on private property, even with the property owner's permission, even with a preacher's blessing, even if its in my garage, I still need a permit.
I know that most people DON'T get a permit. They take the risk. They are lucky bastards.
They get away with filming without a permit because:
I want to film a small thing in Venice - Man on the street style with a three person cast and crew - me, a friend, and a host.
I got the quote today from Film L.A. Based on that amount I could film a low budget fantasy series with special effects, pay their meals, pay the property owner, and maybe even set a man on fire while he jumping out of a plane.
I probably won't be filming in Venice. But let's just say in a parallel universe I did...
I'm not familiar with Venice so I have no idea what I can and can't get away with. If I was walking around with a Manfrotto style fig rig and a stylish attractive host in a crowded summer beach environment would that be pushing my luck? Here is a reference pic. That is not my rig but its very similar.
If you have shot around Venice before, is it so saturated that the only way to go is a permit?
How can I be a lucky bastard too or do I have to be born that way?
That's Portland and Seattle. Out here you can't throw a stick across the lawn without hitting a filmmaker. Law enforcement out here are trained to spot filmmakers. No matter how incognito you are, you will be spotted, but it doesn't mean they'll send you packing. If you're professional and courteous, and don't draw attention you can pretty much get away with stealing shots here.
We usually film with small groups of people/cast/crew no more than 5 at a time. Our videos are usually short comedy sketches and we never really attempt for permits with less than 5 people. If you don't really draw attention to yourself there will be no police. I guess just being conscious of where you are shooting and if it's heavily populated, if there are security cams, yada yada. I remember when we worked on an Indie film we had to call all kinds of ridiculous people and places to get permits to shoot on streets in the city or even in buildings in the city. We gave estimations of around twenty cast/crew on scene and we did have to jump through a few hoops on the phone with people so it is a HUGE pain trying to get bigger shots to add to that production value but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do, if the shot is gonna be a big set up then I'd say always go for a permit, but like most people have already said...get in and get out and be done! xD..