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Niki Mundo

Hiring a cinematographer in seattle

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I do not know about Seattle police but the NYPD Cinematography Unit is police assigned to film sets to help manage traffic etc. I've worked with them on very low budget productions and they were great.

Very helpful, very funny and on one film they kept inviting us into their huge heated van for coffee and donuts- we were doing night shots end December in Manhattan. The permits were not difficult to get but there were papers to fill out which is normal. They also knew alot about movie cameras because they do this all the time.

As far as the union goes-They are not stupid. If you don't have money they don't expect you to run a union set.

It is not in their interest to impede low budget productions because it gives people experience and that low budget production might lead to more expensive productions that will be union and rightly so.

I really think that you need to go into more of a kung fu and less of a heavyweight boxing type of mindset if combat is what turns you on. Personally I think of it much more like an expedition.

The wise willow bends with the wind.

Talk to people reasonably.

Show enthusiasm not aggression.

Explain what you are after and reassure people.

Don't expect to reap the harvest if yoiu haven't planted the seeds.

Just be reasonable.

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Anyways, I was spotted by the security gaurd and this dude flips out and orders us out (I had to get the shot so I said "yeahyeah" and stalled.. he calls the police and (2) cruisers show up and there's this big deal and we get detained for awhile, then trespassed. [/i]


A simple phone call with a polite request will convince anyone to do almost anything.. "I was curious if _______ for ____ time" insert charming personality and you have them asking what they can do for you to help and if you'd like more coffee.. hell you might even get.. "ive got this nephew who like movies.. blah blah"


I just got permission to shoot IN a POLICE STATION, in a REAL cell with REAL Police Officers with REAL guns that will REALLY kill you.. "as long as you dont show anything that says XXX Police Station" is all they asked... didnt ask for a single penny. I have no permits. If I show up with some espresso and croissants, I bet I can have run of that place whenever I need it.


People dont hate Indie film makers.. they hate Indie film makers that think they can do what ever they want with no regard for people and rules..


A few years ago I even scheduled the shutdown of a street in Downtown Seattle.. Me my 3 man crew and an actor.. all I did was ask [after a little research to find who].. I didnt end up needing to, but still had the permission..

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I've shot 3 shorts now and have worked on a couple of others too. If I'm shooting in public I always inform the local PD in advance and ask them to make a supervisor and the dispatcher aware of where I am and what I'm doing. This way if anyone calls about anything PD should already know about it and will not freak out. Most of the time they say thanks for letting us know and please don't block any roads or anything.


I always get written permission to shoot on privet property and carry a copy with me in case anyone questions us.


I've NEVER run in to any one being rude or messing with us. The PD has been nothing but nice when I contact them in advance. I know other filmmakers in the area that did not contact anyone in advance and got shut down fast.


My point is its easy to go online find out the rules and who to call. Why not take the time and do it right. That way you don't waste your time or even worse get people arrested or hurt.

Edited by Greg Gutierrez

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