GUERILLA FILMMAKING: WHAT IT IS AND POINTERS ON DOING IT
Guerilla Filmmaking! Are you familiar with the term?
It’s not gorillas making films and it certainly isn’t guerilla fighters making films. Guerilla filmmaking is a style of filmmaking where you make your film using locations at your discretion without going through litigations, permits and authorities to do so. You basically arrive at a location with your equipment, crew and actors and shoot.
Making your entire film guerilla style will most likely only be possible when done as slim as possible; with few actors, a camera operator and a boom operator. If you’re thinking about bringing the director’s chair, bullhorn, gaffers, AD 1, AD 2, make up, wardrobe, prop master etc., then you should of budgeted for permits. Otherwise, you’re running the risk of the police shutting you down during your shoot and thus delaying your production wrap up party.
THERE ARE RISKS
On the basis of safety and security certain cities, specifically Los Angeles, have passed laws to limit or prohibit guerilla filmmaking. In such cities if a filmmaker is caught filming without proper permission, i.e., a permit, they can be fined, imprisoned and/or have their equipment confiscated until their court date.
One can argue that this has been done in an effort to grant exclusivity of certain locations to big productions houses and their movies. Thus, discouraging independent filmmakers from bypassing production houses and studios in the process of making movies.
In addition, cities make out good when you pay for a location permit whether to film on a street, the local park, etc. And when it’s deemed necessary that you have police presence during your shoot, you pay for that too. Movie making is big business for some cities and they view guerilla filmmaking as a detraction from their budgets.
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POINTERS WHEN GUERILLA FILMMAKING
Using a tripod can be extremely conspicuous when guerrilla filmmaking, which is something you want to totally avoid. If at all possible, shoot handheld! If you need stability find something nearby that you can lean on or put your camera on top of to give you the stability you need.
Use a telephoto lens to get your shots from a distance. This not only makes you an inconspicuous camera operator, but it also keeps pedestrians and commuters from looking directly at you’re camera while filming, which is something that can totally ruin your shot.
As for lighting, guerilla filmmakers will tend to shoot during the day to benefit from sunlight. Thus avoiding the unwanted attention of having lights set up on streets or public places.
Given that you have no control over the location/environment you are filming in, you may have to return a few times until you get the shot you want. Maybe on day 1 there was a truck parked right outside the building you wanted to get you actor coming out of. These and a thousand other scenarios can occur, therefore be willing to be flexible.
GUERILLA FILMMAKING MADE FILMS ON MARILYNFILMS.COM
Below is a button link to preview and/or view films on MarilynFilms.com, some made using the guerilla filmmaking techniques. If you’d be so kind to view the films, we’d love to hear your take on them. You can send us your comment(s) via our CONTACT page.
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