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Working With Police on Film Sets

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  • Working With Police on Film Sets

    I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Forris Day Jr. for his podcast "Rolling Tape" about my experiences working with local police on film sets. It was a fun discussion, which touched on my good but different experiences in Jersey City (for Surviving Family) and Ocean County (DETOURS), and working with a process trailer.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

  • #2
    Wow Mara that's amazing,
    Really informative, the 'process trailer' set-up is quite something, I can't imagine setting off down the highway with huge reflectors and have them still on the trailer at the end!
    I think you were lucky to get such good cops, especially as one gave up his home to shoot a scene.
    Were you restricted by speed using such an unusual rig and at what speed did you shoot at?
    Martyn.

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    • #3
      The driver is a professional, and was hired along with the process trailer; you can see some of his credits - along with some photos of other rigs he's workon on - on his IMDB page:
      http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0174507/m..._=nm_phs_md_sm

      There's a bit of self-selection involved with the cops who we worked with - they're off-duty cops who we hired through the local police department, so they're choosing to be on a film set. But yes, it was definitely a good group.

      We were limited to driving about 30-35 mph on the highway, and slower on the side roads. There's also B roll footage that was shot separately by our DP from the camera truck at normal speed while we drove from NYC to Florida; our editor did a great job of combining everything so it doesn't look like they're going unusually slowly.
      Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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      • #4
        Thanks Mara, Great info as usual!
        Years ago we shot some footage from the back of a pick-up and we ran about 30mph to cut down camera shake, it surprised us all because the footage came out looking like normal driving speed.
        Martyn.

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        • #5
          I finally had the time to watch this. What a great video. Lots of very valuable info.

          On a production such as yours that is great to be able to afford the process trailer.

          I haven't had to have Police on set yet, but I have dealt with the Police for shoots as far as getting an "OK" to shoot somewhere, and to let them know what is going on. That seems to be the real thing they want, in my experience, just to know what is going on in their jurisdiction. I have never had a problem getting permission to do things, and one time I was asking for permission the officer said "Yeah, so why are you telling me?" They really didn't care. However, I strongly recommend always letting the Police know what you are doing. They have stopped by just to see what a film shoot looks like.

          Steve

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          • #6
            We have contacted the police before (in the UK) and they are susually just interested as to what you're shooting, and are happy to help. The one time we didn't, (even after flyering every house on a road) we were shooting a shop robbery scene. Someone called the police and three cars turned up. They raised an eyebrow, watched the footage and all agreed that it looked mint. They called off the dog car and wished us luck.

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            • #7
              Great information, thanks so much for posting!
              -AF

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