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Azmyth
01-04-2012, 04:31 AM
Has anyone been successful with this?

I have a scene where I will need to shoot the exterior of a really old church, and the interior. There are lots of old churches not in use anymore around here, but I also live on the bible belt where people might not take too kindly to shooting a horror film inside a place of worship. I thought about constructing a small set for the interiors.. as its not going to be a very big scene.

mörkö
01-04-2012, 06:39 AM
Dunno about the bible belt, but I've been shooting twice in a (functional) church/chapel in Finland and everything went okay. Those were not exactly horror, but still questionable content I would imagine. Most will probably say no, but doesn't hurt to ask around. If your crew acts disrespectful on location you might all get kicked out so be careful :)

tired
01-04-2012, 06:50 AM
look for an old church that's been sold - maybe used for wedding venues

Hawk Teflon
01-04-2012, 06:55 AM
If you can, I would check with Presbyterian or Methodist churches. Two main reasons: First, they have more of a liturgical feel inside. They aren't "contemporary" for the most part. And second, they're more open to things like this. I've spent a good part of my life in different denominations, and the Presbyterian and Methodist churches would definitely be my bet for being open minded about this. The more charismatic of the denominations (Southern Baptist, Pentecostal, Assembly of God) will almost definitely say no UNLESS they have an active drama department. But those churches are usually modernized on the inside and don't look like churches. They look like coffee shops or concert venues. Non-Denominational churches are the same way about interior looks.

And yeah, I'm fully aware of the Bible Belt. Been in it my whole life (NC, TN, OK).

Azmyth
01-04-2012, 07:05 AM
Hawk.. my dad is actually a minister (southern baptist) but I'm open minded about alot of this.. but I know TONS who aren't.

The scene we need to film is pretty graphic, and violent and I need an OLD church.. like something that could have been built in the 1800s.

So, ones that are no longer in use would be best!

Hawk Teflon
01-04-2012, 07:34 AM
Well, here's some old churches for ya' ... not sure how attainable they are, but it's worth a shot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_oldest_churches_in_the_United_States#G eorgia

David W. Richardson
01-06-2012, 02:30 PM
My 2 cents...

Don't defame a church just to make a movie. Even an abandoned church has meaning to somebody. Don't desecrate their memories. Find some other place -- a place you can dress to look like an old church. Sure, it will probably cost more. But a church represents something extremely serious in the minds and hearts of people -- it is the physical, tangible anchor to the single most important thing in their lives. Whether you share that sentiment or not, please respect their beliefs and traditions, and don't dishonor the things they hold sacred.

Chris Adler
01-06-2012, 02:49 PM
You could also shoot the exterior, have some wide interior shots and then cut to tighter shots on a set that matches, or green screen and actually comp in still plates from the real building.

maranfilms
01-06-2012, 03:04 PM
I did a film a few years back, we shot a wedding scene in a church for a full day. We agreed on a donation, which I think was like 350.00 for the day. I would talk to the person in charge, but maybe not say what the scene is about unless they ask. As long as they get their donation, they might be fine.

David W. Richardson
01-06-2012, 03:54 PM
I did a film a few years back, we shot a wedding scene in a church for a full day. We agreed on a donation, which I think was like 350.00 for the day. I would talk to the person in charge, but maybe not say what the scene is about unless they ask. As long as they get their donation, they might be fine.

It's this kind of deception that gives indie filmmakers a bad name. Don't lie. Don't mislead. Don't withhold anything. Be absolutely up-front about what you plan to do in their church. Don't sugar-coat it. Make sure they fully understand, and then get it in writing. If you think they'll refuse to let you use the church if they knew what you were REALLY planning to do there, then YOU SHOULDN'T BE USING THEIR CHURCH AT ALL!!! They have the absolute RIGHT to know what you plan to do in the house of their Lord God. Just the same as if you were shooting in anyone else's house. If you have to lie to them, then you shouldn't be there. Period.

David W. Richardson
01-06-2012, 03:58 PM
The scene we need to film is pretty graphic, and violent and I need an OLD church.. like something that could have been built in the 1800s.

So, ones that are no longer in use would be best!

Please keep in mind that even though a church is no longer used, it is still a sacred place and a place of sacred memories for the people of the community. Committing atrocities -- even fake ones -- in a sacred place will only cause you ill will with a segment of the public. The last thing you should want is to alienate people. You may need them someday.

Hawk Teflon
01-06-2012, 04:39 PM
It's this kind of deception that gives indie filmmakers a bad name. Don't lie. Don't mislead. Don't withhold anything. Be absolutely up-front about what you plan to do in their church. Don't sugar-coat it. Make sure they fully understand, and then get it in writing. If you think they'll refuse to let you use the church if they knew what you were REALLY planning to do there, then YOU SHOULDN'T BE USING THEIR CHURCH AT ALL!!! They have the absolute RIGHT to know what you plan to do in the house of their Lord God. Just the same as if you were shooting in anyone else's house. If you have to lie to them, then you shouldn't be there. Period.

+1

Be honest.

J Davis
01-07-2012, 05:25 PM
Its tough. I spent 3-4 months searching for churches that would let me film my vampire film in them.
In the end I found two churches and I didn't have to lie to them. Church shots came out great.
http://vimeo.com/14144904

drapeama
01-07-2012, 07:27 PM
From what's been already said, shooting in a real church or going greenscreen with plates would lead to the same issue:

Don't desecrate their memories.
So I guess, the best solution would be to give the story a slightly different direction and use anything else than a church for that scene...
I'm definitively not the best person to give the advice, but that's what I'd do, knowing the people involved in the belt.

Chris Adler
01-07-2012, 08:56 PM
Seriously?

How are you desecrating any memories by shooting in a Church? That's just silly. First off, how many good church-going people that made special memories in the church are going to watch this particular movie? And more important, the special memories are of events that occurred and you can't do anything to change that.

People have special meaningful memories in all places, not just churches. Some maybe in an amusement park on a merry go round. Can't shoot there either? Guess what, you can't shoot anywhere! I'd shoot in the best and visually most interesting location I could find, and if the story calls for a church, then make it a church. If you can't get permission to shoot in one then improvise with a set or green screen shots or whatever.

If your story calls for violent scenes in a church them shoot them in a church.

David W. Richardson
01-08-2012, 07:56 AM
Seriously?

How are you desecrating any memories by shooting in a Church? That's just silly. First off, how many good church-going people that made special memories in the church are going to watch this particular movie? And more important, the special memories are of events that occurred and you can't do anything to change that.

People have special meaningful memories in all places, not just churches. Some maybe in an amusement park on a merry go round. Can't shoot there either? Guess what, you can't shoot anywhere! I'd shoot in the best and visually most interesting location I could find, and if the story calls for a church, then make it a church. If you can't get permission to shoot in one then improvise with a set or green screen shots or whatever.

If your story calls for violent scenes in a church them shoot them in a church.

A church isn't like an amusement park, or any other place.

Just shooting in a church isn't the problem so much as what he shoots. The OP implied the scenes would be 'graphic' and 'violent'. These are definitely not the kinds of things most folks want going on in their churches. It would be tantamount to holding a KKK rally -- even a staged one -- in a place of deep meaning and significance to African-Americans. It would be offensive to them.

The church isn't there to give filmmakers a place to ply their trade. If you can be fully up-front and honest about what you plan to do in that church, and on that basis you are able to secure permission, then fine. But ALWAYS be sensitive to the feelings and concerns of the owners of ANY property or location where you are allowed to shoot. Leave the arrogant, cocky, cavalier, "I'll do whatever I want" attitude at the door.

David W. Richardson
01-08-2012, 07:57 AM
Best bet for the OP is to build a set to represent the inside of the church, and shoot on it. The exterior of the church could be created digitally, and doesn't have to be an image of a real, existing church at all.

Chris Adler
01-08-2012, 07:58 AM
Well I assumed the filmmaker would be professional and honest, regardless of what they're doing. Assuming they are, I think there are no places that should be off limits to a filmmaker in order to tell their story. Some people may not like it, but that's how it rolls.

David W. Richardson
01-08-2012, 08:26 AM
Well I assumed the filmmaker would be professional and honest, regardless of what they're doing. Assuming they are, I think there are no places that should be off limits to a filmmaker in order to tell their story. Some people may not like it, but that's how it rolls.

On the contrary, EVERY place is off-limits to any filmmaker unless he or she has secured fully informed permission to shoot there, and gets it all in writing.

But yes, if the OP is able to secure that permission, while being completely open, honest and forthcoming about what he plans to do there, then he certainly should be allowed to shoot in any location.

Chris Adler
01-08-2012, 08:41 AM
I though I just said that. By being professional and honest that implies communication with the property owner and a contract.

MPB
01-08-2012, 08:46 AM
I though I just said that. By being professional and honest that implies communication with the property owner and a contract.

you did.

and i agree with you. either the owners of the property are amenable, or they aren't. i don't see any reason to assume that they won't be. we're talking about shooting a scene, not sacrificing virgins.

David W. Richardson
01-08-2012, 11:44 AM
you did.

and i agree with you. either the owners of the property are amenable, or they aren't. i don't see any reason to assume that they won't be. we're talking about shooting a scene, not sacrificing virgins.

Judging solely by the OP's original post, he's talking about staging all sorts of things that, if they were done for REAL, certainly wouldn't be condoned by any church. For all we know he may very well have a 'virgin sacrifice' scene. Or an orgy scene. And almost certainly some sort of massacre is planned, since he said there would be violence. The fact that it's all 'just for show' won't really matter to a lot of churches, and with good reason. Most won't allow even an imitation of anything sacrilegious or blasphemous. It's not like staging a shootout in a hospital.

My own experiences in various churches leads me to believe that most won't allow even the pretending. A church is a consecrated place, which the members take very seriously.

Azmyth
01-15-2012, 07:59 PM
We live in the bible belt.. there is NO way any church near here is going to allow us to do what I want to do in its sanctuary. A woman is raped/tortured there. The fact that its a church is what lends to its sinisterness because its the ultimate "bad deed" in a sense. I'm probably going to wind up having to construct a small set or transform a room into a primitive church and be creative with camera angles. I need to shoot another scene on the outside of a church but its more or less 2 kids walking around it a few times.