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  • Pre-Production Question

    Hey guys! long time no see! So I've been working on pre-production on and off the past couple months for my next short film which is called Peel. I've set the budget at 4,000 dollars, and I had a question or two about securing locations. I've also set aside some location insurance/permit money in the budget, so if I had to pay a cheap price for it, I wouldn't be set off course.

    A few of the scenes in the film are set in a diner, (the scenes intercut back and forth throughout the film from past and present) and the only "diner looking" place I could think of around here is waffle house. (which is also perfect because there are a ton of those everywhere.) These diner scenes are just talking and sitting, so they could definitely all get knocked out in 3-4 hours.

    How would I go about acquiring permission to shoot in a place like that, knowing they actually have a business to run as well? I mean it's easy when it's outside, or in friend's house and stuff like that, but how do I go about shooting in a place of business? Any tips, suggestions, would be helpful. Thanks!
    Last edited by MrJay10; 10-31-2013, 10:31 AM.

  • #2
    I would suggest one of the following two options:

    - Go to your local Waffle House, preferably the one where you want to do the shooting, and speak to the manager. Find out from him or her what the process would be to secure that permission. For a small production, it may be able to be handled at that level.

    - If you need to go higher than the store manager, check the WH website and try to obtain contact information for the corporate level then make calls or send emails until you get your answer.

    If you want more of a local diner feel, here's a list of potential spots I got when I Googled "diners atlanta ga." There are plenty of them around, just have to go looking, and some seem to have that old 50s diner look/feel. Good luck.

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    • #3
      Waffle House may be difficult because: (1) it's a chain, and that means that corporate approval is (usually) needed and (2) the ones that I know of are generally open 24 hours.

      Working in reverse order of those 2 points: I've shot in a number of business places, but always during the hours that they're normally closed. They don't want you disturbing customers, and you don't want the noise and lighting issues that go with them being open.
      Re chain: you might be able to get the local franchise owner to let you shoot if you promise not to show the name, but overall you're better off with a place that's locally owned.
      Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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      • #4
        I agree. You are all but sure to be declined by a diner thats 24 hours as you would be potentially interfering in their business. Find a mom and pop shop. Plenty of those around and they are likely to work with you. In the film I am in pre-production for right now I need a restaraunt. No franchise would even consider it but when I apporached the owner of a local italian ristorante, he was more than happy to help out. He told me he will come open the place up on a day its closed so we an shoot the scene. I offered him a role as the waiter in exchange for the use of the place and he was thrilled. So..... FREE! I did the same thing at a martial arts studio which I am using their office space for a scene. Free.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mick Scarborough View Post
          I agree. You are all but sure to be declined by a diner thats 24 hours as you would be potentially interfering in their business. Find a mom and pop shop. Plenty of those around and they are likely to work with you. In the film I am in pre-production for right now I need a restaraunt. No franchise would even consider it but when I apporached the owner of a local italian ristorante, he was more than happy to help out. He told me he will come open the place up on a day its closed so we an shoot the scene. I offered him a role as the waiter in exchange for the use of the place and he was thrilled. So..... FREE! I did the same thing at a martial arts studio which I am using their office space for a scene. Free.
          great tactic there. These are all good insightful tips guys. I appreciate it.

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          • #6
            Oh I forgot to ask. What about a place like a hospital? How difficult would it be to get permission to shoot there? Maybe if it's like in an empty room or something?

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            • #7
              If I was to guess I would say its more likely to get William Shatner for your film. If you need an OR or an ER then its best to do a location shoot but if an empty hospital room fits the bill then you really dont need much for that scene and a hospital room set is easily built

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              • #8
                There'd only be one scene in the hospital, and it's in one room with two actors. All I need is a hospital bed and a chair honestly. Just would prefer to not have to spend extra money to make a set like that, because I don't have a grip truck or anything to lug all that stuff around in.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ericNCwriter View Post
                  I would suggest one of the following two options:
                  If you want more of a local diner feel, here's a list of potential spots I got when I Googled "diners atlanta ga." There are plenty of them around, just have to go looking, and some seem to have that old 50s diner look/feel. Good luck.
                  Great list man! I have never even heard of half of these, and a lot of them look like they fit the bill! Cheers!

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                  • #10
                    Check Craigslist for the hospital bed. Sometimes people have them for themselves or family members and for one reason or another don't need the bed any more. It may be possible to get one fairly cheap. You could shoot that scene about anywhere that has two neutral colored walls, especially if you just need the bed and a chair. If the shot is set up right, the viewer may not even be able to tell it's your guest bedroom and not a hospital room. Then you can either sell the bed, keep it for future use or even rent it out to other filmmakers such as yourself and recoup some of your expenses.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MrJay10 View Post
                      Great list man! I have never even heard of half of these, and a lot of them look like they fit the bill! Cheers!
                      Glad I could be of assistance.

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                      • #12
                        A friend of mine recently needed to shoot a scene in a hospital room with "heart monitors " , a patient, and a visitor. He found a nursing school that was willing to let him use a training room for free. He had to agree to let them review and approve the scene after the movie was done (they read it before he shot), but he was confident that they'd be OK with it, and they were. They also set a time limit for the school to come back with any concerns (I think it was 10 days) so that it wouldn't drag on.
                        Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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                        • #13
                          I just filmed at two restaurant locations this month. Both owners said that we could film there. One of the crew members knew the owner of one restaurant. I was a customer at the other restaurant and the manager said that I could film there. We shot there while they were open early in the morning to minimize the amount of customers that would ruin our shots. At both locations, we filmed in the corner of a back room. For one film, it was a quick shoot that we used ADR. For the other film, we had to reshoot several scenes multiple times due to the customers coming in and out, but we eventually got the scenes finished with good audio. If you can't get the location during hours when the business is closed, filming in a room furthest away from customers would be best. Customers who were eating didn't pay much attention to us. I would also go to the location first to find out the audio and lightning conditions, and talk to the owner or manager to see if you can turn off things that make noise such as refrigerators and fans.

                          As for how to secure the location, I would just ask the manager or owner in person. Some people will allow you to film there and others will not. You can also tell them that you'll promote their business by showing their logo in your film, but most people don't care about this, and they may not even want it in your film. It always helps if you know someone who works at that business or if you're a customer who goes there.
                          www.facebook.com/BPodellProductions

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