Thursday, October 30, 2008
Shooting in Central Park
Most days, I'm trapped inside, chained to my editing station trying to meet deadlines. But on a rare day, sometimes the stars align and we schedule a shoot outdoors. It's always a gamble shooting outside - is it going to rain? Will we have to compete with screaming children, barking dogs, lawn mowers, planes or other audio issues? What about wind? Not all shoots are supposed to look like a Vogue cover shoot.
In New York City, permits are free. All you need is insurance and the will to file at the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (I always remember this office location because it's right around the corner from Letterman). Going to the Mayor's Office can be a daunting task, usually filled by PAs. Working through this position is like a right of passage. When you're at the Mayor's Office, you get the feeling that they've been asked every stupid question under the sun and you don't want to ruin their day by being lucky number 1,000,000 on the stupid question list. However, if you're polite and realize that these people hold the keys to the kingdom, the entire experience can be pleasant and over in the blink of an eye - well I guess in a giant's eye ( there is a lot of waiting around at this office due to the shear volume of productions in the city).
After you get your permit, you're free to go on your merry way and shoot. But how do you pick your location to begin with? Of course the script dictates where you should be filming, but our favorite exterior location has to be Central Park.
Central Park is truly one of the most beautiful locations in the city, and one of the most welcoming. As long as you stay off the lawns and can deal with the audio issues of planes flying over head, it's a scenic and lovely place to shoot. Central Park is also one of the cheapest places to shoot - asking only for a donation. Other parks - Battery Park, Prospect Park, have very high location fees that aren't cost effective for small or no-budget shoots. The other perk about Central Park - it's right out our back door, and you can't beat that!
So back to my point - a few weeks a go, Julie and I had the pleasure of venturing in the park on one of those perfect fall mornings. The air was crisp. The sun was warm. It was an ideal day to be shooting outside in NYC. Hopefully the stars will align again soon and I can venture back out there to film!