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EP2005
07-13-2005, 12:27 PM
Just wondering if anyone NOT in high school has had any luck filming in a high school environment?

I have a feature thats takes place 40% in a high school. When I was in high school writing this, i never thought about problems with location because I was in film classes and could shoot anywhere in school. Now its 4 years later and I've realized that its not so easy to film in a public school when you're not a student.

Any comments or suggestions on how to pull this off, who to talk to, when to shoot. I've tried talking to some of the principals and in-house staff of 2 local schools, but all said no after hearing about some of the subject matter (drug use outside of school, nothing over the top, typical high school stuff) The script does makes the high school look bad, but I dont see why that would be an issue for a movie. Thanks for any and all help!

Neil Rowe
07-13-2005, 12:45 PM
The script does makes the high school look bad, but I dont see why that would be an issue for a movie.

...uhhhhhh ok.

anyway, i have shot in a school auditorium before nothing fancy .. just a few hours. i had an open window because they lease the building out during non school hours.

weltonfilment
07-13-2005, 01:18 PM
I have some friends that are working on a indie feature ($500K budget) that takes place almost entirely in a high school. The climax of the film is a school shooting. I'm sure there's drug use in the film (doesn't there have to be in order to make it a high school film?). Not sure how much they paid to use the school (they are filming during summer), but it's also a small community and the director went to that school. So it helps if you are still a part of the community in some way (and if it's one of those small towns where everyone knows each other), even if you're not in high school any more. Are you willing to pay any money? If so, that would help, as well as shooting during the summer.

Dyrseve989
07-13-2005, 02:31 PM
now you said that you were in a film class during high school, I suggest you get your films teacher(assuming you are in good standing with him/her) and have them pull for you, share your ideas your concept, your absolute obsession and need for creating this film and since the teacher does teach film hopefully they will understand and help you to gain access in filming at the school. If not your old films teacher, then any teacher that cared for you or you had a relationship with that would help you to film in this school, I dont suggest mentioning money until it really comes to the point where your 99.99% sure that you are not getting the school, cause when it comes to making a film, it is all about squezzing every last resource to do what you love with out going bust - give us an update on what happens, It would make a nice reference in case some1 is in the same predicament as you

Hope this helps

-Matt-

EP2005
07-13-2005, 02:57 PM
The climax of the film is a school shooting.

my original script had a similar climax, except that instead of a shooting, a troubled student takes a teacher "hostage" with a knife. After asking the local law enforcement about this situation, the officials (who amazingly were interested and wished me best of luck) laughed and said this would be quite hard to pull off, making me realize this is a subject that is still touchy and not widely accepted, so i changed the ending, for the better (i hope).



I suggest you get your films teacher(assuming you are in good standing with him/her) and have them pull for you.

While I had an amazing relationship with my film teacher, favorite teacher I've ever had, she's since retired and my relationships with the rest of the administration were sub-par. I am, however, going to contact my old teacher and talk with her, hear what her suggestions are.

A follow-up should happen within the upcoming weeks. Thank you all once again, and more feedback is always welcome.

Dyrseve989
07-13-2005, 03:13 PM
damn, there goes my idea, sorry to here bout the retired teacher, there should b more film teachers out there, not less, but good luck

-Matt-

Josh_Boelter
07-14-2005, 08:48 AM
Is there another school disctrict nearby? Maybe you could use a different school. Unless there's something specific about this particular school, I'd suggest going elsewhere. If I needed to shoot in a school, the last place I would go would be my own high school.

EP2005
07-14-2005, 11:05 AM
Is there another school disctrict nearby? Maybe you could use a different school. Unless there's something specific about this particular school, I'd suggest going elsewhere. If I needed to shoot in a school, the last place I would go would be my own high school.


In my town, there are 4 high schools, 2 of them were designed and built the exact same, one of them being my old high school. Both declined me using the building (as of now). While I was writing the script, naturally I pictured my high school being used, and most of the storyboard was based around the design of the school. I really wanted to use one of them because for some reason, back in the late 60's, they decided to not put windows in the school, and the only natural light comes from doors that lead outside. It has this claustrophobic feel to it. With that and the way we were treated by administration, "Eisenhower High School" was called "IKEatraz" by the students. I was hoping to have that grittiness of the school and the mentality of the real-life students present in the film.


While most of the story is "KIDS"-like in how its going to be shot, should I be more focused on the look of the interiors being visually "pretty" as opposed to "real" or "gritty"?


and just curious, why wouldn't you schoot in your own high school?

HorseFilms
07-14-2005, 12:17 PM
Another option you may or may not have would be to find a local building that used to be a school. There are a few in my area that have been turned into community centers, apartment buildings, etc. They still have that "school" look to them. There's also a community college in my area that has rows of lockers that just screams high school. I shot there for a corporate project I was doing.

Look into alternatives if the schools don't pan out.

Tlalconetl
07-14-2005, 01:25 PM
Just wondering if anyone NOT in high school has had any luck filming in a high school environment?

I have a feature thats takes place 40% in a high school. When I was in high school writing this, i never thought about problems with location because I was in film classes and could shoot anywhere in school. Now its 4 years later and I've realized that its not so easy to film in a public school when you're not a student.

Any comments or suggestions on how to pull this off, who to talk to, when to shoot. I've tried talking to some of the principals and in-house staff of 2 local schools, but all said no after hearing about some of the subject matter (drug use outside of school, nothing over the top, typical high school stuff) The script does makes the high school look bad, but I dont see why that would be an issue for a movie. Thanks for any and all help!

I'm going through this right now. I'm shooting a feature this summer at my old high school. We got their permission after meeting with the principal, submitting a copy of the script to the district, and filling out some district paperwork that included a 'use of facilities' form. Now, it helped that my co-producer and I both graduated from there and my co-producer taught there in the 90s. So if you graduted from the school, you should emphasize it to the powers that be.

Also, securing the location wasn't easy. The issue of insurance came up. This district said we needed it. This district offers cheap insurance to cover certain events that are held on school grounds for the public, e.g., cultural events, fairs, film festivals, theatrical performances, etc. And this insurance is cheap: $400 will cover 50 people for a week during an on-campus public event. However, a film shoot is not covered by the district's insurance. So, we negotiated something else with the district. The district agreed to write up a sort of negligence release form. In other words, we agree not to sue them and they agree not to sue us if an actor gets hurt, sick, dies, etc at the school during the shoot. This covers the school's/district's ass. Liability is a major issue in public schools. It governs EVERYTHING that happens at the school. The district offered this option because my co-producer is close friends with the superintindent of the district. So, sometimes it's who you know...

I should emphasize that the school principal was gung-ho about us shooting a movie at her school. She had no problems with it. The problem was getting the destrict to OK it. Again, it helped immensely that my co-producer was friends with the superintendent, but the fact that we both graduated from there and taught there, made a difference too. We were in good standing with the school. Also, it's important that whatever you negotiate with a school district be reviewed by a competent laywer. The district has their lawyers, and you should have yours. This may sound like an incredibly formal process, but it's essential, especially if you don't want to be sued if something goes wrong during your shoot. I don't know where you live, but I'm in California, and this state is probably the sueing capital of the world. Anyhow, we have several friends who are laywers. So you should find a friend or friend of a friend who's a laywer. In fact, my co-producer's brother-in-law is a laywer. He gave us great advice for free. Our other lawyer friend is the former mayor of the neighboring city where we are shooting. He happens to be a close friend too. So we took our personal release forms and negligence/liability forms to both of them and asked them to review it all, and they did it essentially for FREE (the former mayor-laywer friend charged us .25 cents. This kept it formal, legal, and legit.)

As I mentioned earlier, the district asked for a copy of our script. Now depending on how 'sensitive' or contraversial the material in your script is, the school will base its decision for consent on it. THey don't want to be painted in a negative light. If your script involves drugs, guns, violence, sex, etc., your chances of getting approval may plummet. I've heard of other filmmakers submitting a toned-down version of their script to a school district. Sometimes this works. I'm not saying you should do this, just be sure that the script you submit (if they ask for it) is very close to the movie you plan on shooting.

Good luck.

Josh_Boelter
07-15-2005, 07:32 AM
[QUOTE=EP2005and just curious, why wouldn't you schoot in your own high school?[/QUOTE]

It's just because I hated high school and have no desire to go back to my own school. Although, I do have a cousin who's now on the school board in that district, so that would make securing the location easier. However, there are no scenes set in schools in my current screenplay anyway.