Earl makes a great point.


Earl makes a great point. Having the right to shoot doesn’t always mean it’s the right course of action.

I’m one of those “win more flies with honey” types. On the very rare occasion, I have had somebody question me about shooting in public. Okay, it only happened one time, as I was shooting a subway station in New York. Just getting a wide scenery shot, and this lady asks me why I’m filming her. So instead of getting all defensive about my right to shoot in public, I asked her if she had ever done any acting, and I proceeded to lay on the schmooze extra thick-like. I whipped out a business card for our production studio, and told her we were scouting out the location for a potential film we’re putting together. I then told her that if she was interested, we could do a quick screen test and I’d make sure my superiors got that along with the scouting footage. At this point I expected her to just take off, but she said “sure, why not?”! So, I was going to need a new MetroPass card soon anyhow, so I gave her some cash, and we shot a sequence of her buying a pass, going through the turnstyles, and getting on the train. I got her info and told her that I’d pass it on to the higher ups.

So, most of what I told her was pure flattery and unadulterated falsehood, but it worked. Instead of creating a scene because I was filming, she um, well, created a scene FOR my filming. Of course, having our business cards and a $3000 camera lent to my credibility – I think had I been using a consumer handycam I would’ve been more hard pressed to get her to swallow that pill. My only regret was not having her sign a release form. It was actually a really neat sequence, and had I gotten her release, I almost certainly could have used it for something. I did use it in the vacation video we shared with friends and family, but without that release, you can’t do anything public without risking getting in trouble.

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