View Full Version : How to gain approval for public area shooting

03-04-2011, 02:40 AM
I just wanted to know what is the best way to approach manager/supervisors about shooting indiefilms on their property (walmart, convenient store etc.) So far Ive been shot down getting all sorts of excuses like, "we cant have yer equipment here cuz you might hurt other customers, and its distracting!" So for those who have been in my shoes, what is the best tactic??

03-04-2011, 04:05 AM
If possible, shoot at night when there is no customers. You might need to pay for the owner's representative to be there and make sure you are not doing anything stupid on their premises.

I've found most people wouldn't have a problem giving you permission if they were absolutely sure there is zero change they could get into some kind of trouble. Main worries are usually higher management, and accidents - the company could get trouble letting untrained people around their possibly dangerous... things. The excuses often start popping around when it's time to make some written contracts; name on paper = responsibility. So if you are doing guerrilla-style and willing to take risks, you might want to keep the process very informal, paperless and be very casual about asking.

On a more professional setting, it helps to demonstrate you have all the contracts, insurances and everything taken care of. What REALLY helps is to have even only a verbal/telephone permission from some high management, like the head of marketing or CEO. Specially in case of chain stores, they are often really busy, loose and uninterested of your endeavours ("yeah yeah whatever i guess it's okay bye *click*"). So with this "permission", you can go to the actual store and do some namedropping like "Hi I was in talks with Patty McImportantson, and I was directed to ask you about blah blah.." Best of luck, and just as a disclaimer, I'm not from the US so things might be different there....

05-14-2011, 07:51 AM
If all that fails remember that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission!


05-14-2011, 05:35 PM
A big corporation like Walmart will have a zillion rules and regulations that the local manager has to follow, and you can bet that will include film crew use of their premises. You're more likely to have luck at a smaller owner-operator business where they can make their own decisions.

Try to fit in with their business, e.g. if they're not open on Sunday mornings then suggest shooting then. (Although if you need to get inside their premises, that can raise security issues.)

Think about insurance (what happens if your crew knock over something valuable) and inconvenience to the business (will they lose income due to you hogging the place). How are you going to compensate them for this risk and inconvenience? A big fat fee? :) Don't assume that a 'thank you' and a credit will be enough.

And sort out copyright/licensing issues - e.g. they may not allow/want the business's name to be visible, which will affect your shots. (I've had that a couple of times, the business insisted that their location be unidentifiable in whatever we shot - some intense shot planning was needed.) And similarly you may need to hide/avoid commercial logos and trade marks etc

05-16-2011, 12:42 PM
Small, local businesses are the way to go if you can make them work with your script. If it requires a time investment on their part and you are on a limited budget, I have had luck offering video services to them in exchange for their help.

06-06-2011, 01:09 PM
I've shot in two different bars/pubs because I have friends that have worked in them. Though I had to do over night shoots after they closed which was not fun at all.

Best place is to find friends who own or work in the locations you need