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No part of this publication may be reproduced, incorporated into a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of West Michigan Tourist Association Inquiries concerning this publication should be addressed to: Executive Director, West Michigan Tourist Association, 741 Kenmoor Ave. Suite E, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. 616-245-2217 ext. 102. The enclosed information includes information from several sources including the Washington State Film Office and the California Film Commission and Michigan Film Office.
Rules To Live By
to be a film-friendly community
• • •
Never promise or show a location that you cant deliver. Do not show a location that cant be closed down or controlled by the production company, at least briefly. Match the directors image with your working knowledge of your area. Most directors have a vision for the look they want to capture, if you can match it, you will get the production. Filmmakers hate surprises. They are business people who have budgets in which to complete their project. If we can help them complete their production on time and on budget, we will be the local heroes. Only offer and show locations that might be possible, otherwise you are wasting their time. If you can pre-scout an area and have owners contact information and permission up front, you can assure that a production would be welcomed and not waste time. Always tell them you will try to make something work. Under-promise and over-deliver. This will increase our chances of securing other projects. GIVE THEM OPTIONS! Do not rely on one location. Most location scouts and directors will ask what else you have to show them, even after you show them the perfect spot. They want to make sure they see all of the possibilities. The entertainment industry is a businessthink fair value. Do not overcharge or they will film somewhere else. Charge them what you would normally charge and do not price gouge. Be as flexible as possible as things change. Use your problem-solving skills. Be honest and fair. This is an industry that is based on relationships and trust and it is common that the people you work with will be involved in other productions. Always clear publicity and set visits through the production company prior to speaking to anyone, especially someone in the press. We can speak for our communities but we cannot speak for the production company. Confidentiality is essential. Lastly, protect your area and local businesses. Have the necessary guidelines in place so that they will leave a location as they found it.
Table of Contents
I. Introduction Introduction..................................................................................................................1 Project Flow Chart.......................................................................................................2 Benefits of Filmmaking................................................................................................6 II. Stage One - Conception Getting Started..............................................................................................................8 Drafting Guidelines....................................................................................................10 III. Stage Two - Development Sample Script and Storyboard..................................................................................12 The Phone Call...........................................................................................................15 Sample Information Request Form..........................................................................16 Taking Photos............................................................................................................18 Scouting Dillema........................................................................................................21 The Scout....................................................................................................................22 Sample Itinerary..........................................................................................................23 IV. Stage Three - Pre-production They Choose You......................................................................................................25 Fees and Protection....................................................................................................26 Sample Guidelines and Agreements..........................................................................28 V. Stage Four - Production Working with the Community..................................................................................33 Sample Shooting Schedule and Crew Call...............................................................34 Helpful Hints for Working with Production Companies.......................................36 Code of Conduct for Production Companies.........................................................37 VI. Stage Five - Post-Production The Wrap....................................................................................................................40 Economic Impact Questionaire.................................................................................41 VII. Resources for You Michigan Film Incentives...........................................................................................43 Economic Facts..........................................................................................................46 From Finance to Exhibition......................................................................................47 Glossary......................................................................................................................48
Many Michigan residents have yet to realize that the film and video industry could bring hundreds of millions of dollars to our state every year. Major motion pictures, made-for-TV movies, television series, documentaries, music videos, catalog/magazine shoots and television commercials are filming on location more often today than ever before. Joining the more traditional forms of video comes internet-based programming, particularly live-action direct to the web. With so many media sources available, there are more ways than ever to attract film projects. The fact that Michigan has such great film incentives just adds to our appeal. The West Michigan Film Office (WMFO) was founded in 2008 to attract more filming to the west side of Michigan. Film and video production is an ideal industry. It creates thousand of jobs and leaves new dollars through production spending. Production can also have terrific lasting effects on tourism. The 1979 film, Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeves is still celebrated annually at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Every state, many cities and foreign countries are now going after the on-location film business, and the competition is fierce. What sets Michigan apart? First of all, we have the best Film Incentives in the nation. These are spelled out on pages XX-XX. Our geography is diverse and can accommodate many different settings. We have a growing community of professional actors, crews and a commitment by the Michigan Film Office (MFO) to work together in providing the highest level of service possible. The WMFO, as part of the West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA), has decided to provide you with this Film Friendly book on how to prepare your community for filming and what to expect if a crew sets up camp in your town. The sections of this book are divided into the five stages: 1. Conception 2. Development 3. Pre-production 4. Production 5. Post-production During each of these five stages, there are ways that you can and should be involved. This guide will show what you can do to be organized and be aggressive every step of the way.
Project Flow Chart
For the West Michigan Film Office
The mission of the West Michigan Film Office is to convince production companies to film in West Michigan. Whether it is a commercial, movie of the week or a feature film we aggressively pursue all prospective projects. The following guidelines are to create a more efficient and consistent method for the West Michigan Film Office and your film efforts to work together on prospective projects.
PROJECT FLOW CHART PRODUCTION COMPANY
1) Contacts Michigan Film Office or West Michigan Film Office with general details of their project.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
§ § § § § § § § § §
Records name, address, project, location, description and requests a script if available. Gives production company contact information to apply for Michigan State Film Incentive Program. Copies information to the MFO. Contacts member film partners with details of project and location needed. Sends specifically requested information/photos. Sends possible crew lists and contact sheet.
YOUR FILM EFFORTS:
Sends photos of possible location sites and contacts to the WMFO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Provide contact and permit information that might be needed for project. If your film efforts are contacted first by Production Company, notify the WMFO or the MFO the same day so that the film incentive application can be sent to Production Company. Inform the WMFO of any photos that were sent directly to the production company in order to avoid duplication.
2) Sends scripts or gives verbal or written list of needed locations.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
Researches prospective locations, pulls photos from files or takes additional photos as needed.
Project Flow Chart
For the West Michigan Film Office
3) Begins comparing photos from all the states, starts arranging scouting tours.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
§ § §
Arranges schedule for location scout. Notify City Film Office whose cities have been requested to be on the scout tour. Representative from that City Film Office will be asked to accompany WMFO representative while in their city. If representative from WMFO is not able to accompany Production Company on scout tour or a freelance location scout has been hired, arrangements will be made to connect with City Film Office representative as needed.
YOUR FILM EFFORTS:
§ § §
Have representative available to accompany WMFO when in their city. Assist with accommodations and transportation, if necessary. If WMFO representative is not able to be on the scout tour, copy them on locations/areas scouted.
* The above applies to additional scout trips by Production Company. Sometimes three or four additional scout trips are scheduled.
4) Producer, Production Manager or Location Scout contacts State Film Office, WMFO or local representative for specific information on costs, support services, hotel rates, possible crew, union contacts, equipment suppliers, etc.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
Provides information requested. Contacts Partner Film Offices for hotel rates, support services, any crew in area. If contacted first, provide requested information. Refer Production Company to WMFO in regards to crew rates/crew lists, union contacts/rates and equipment suppliers.
CITY FILM OFFICE:
Project Flow Chart
For the West Michigan Film Office
5) Project comes to West Michigan.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
§ § § § §
Bring in the municipalities that will be affected. Set up city meetings with all cities involved. Find out how they intend to crew. Post information on job line, if requested. Provide Production Company with business application forms, and any other general permit information needed to get production office set up.
YOUR FILM EFFORTS:
§ § § §
Bring in the municipalities that will be affected. Set up city meeting and notify WMFO. Assist with accommodations, crew information, support services and production office space. Supply visitor packages to Production Coordinator with things to see and do in the area.
6) Production Company sets up office and begins pre-production.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
§ § §
Works with company to line up permits, contact local authorities and any other logistical help as needed. Check in with clients 2-3 times a week to see how things are going.
YOUR FILM EFFORTS:
Works with company to line up permits, contact local authorities and any other logistical help as needed. § Filters all public information through Production Company for prior approval. § Directs all press inquiries to project publicist. Letter of welcome from the Mayor. Welcome gift?
Project Flow Chart
For the West Michigan Film Office
7) Film begins shooting.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
• • •
Keeps close contact with key production company personnel to help ensure a smooth production. Visit set or call production office 2-3 times a week to see how the project is progressing. Copy all press material related to project and copy to all City Film Offices.
YOUR FILM EFFORTS:
• • •
Keeps close contact with key production company personnel to help ensure a smooth production. Visit set or call production office 2-3 times a week to see how the project is progressing. Copy all press material related to project and copy to all State Film Offices.
8) Project wraps.
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE:
• • •
Conducts follow-up interview with Production Manager and Producer to collect information on crew, vendors, economic impact. Copy crew list and vendor list to City Film Office, along with final economic impact statement. Assure all local bills are paid.
YOUR FILM EFFORTS:
Meet with Production Manager and Producer to get feedback on shooting in their city. • If representative from the WMFO can not meet in person with production company for final wrap meeting, would assist in collecting crew, vendor, and economic impact figures. Assure all local bills are paid.
Benefits of Filming
Filming in your community leads to financial benefits through housing, food, rental equipment, location fees and personal spending. It creates temporary jobs for local citizens who can be hired to work in the production office, act as production assistants, construction, security, expert consultants or extras in the movie. Companies may hire locals to provide services. They could, for example, rent a theater to show dailies, set up the production office in an empty storefront, hire local carpenters and painters to build sets, rent buildings for studio space or pay a school for space to feed the crew.
With a successful film comes tourism dollars. People travel to see where films are made (i.e., Somewhere in Time.) They stay in the community, eat at restaurants and visit stores and attractions Free marketing of your area. Films show what the world really looks like. Some people make business and vacation plans based on a film they see. There are not enough marketing dollars to pay for the exposure a community gets when it is seen on the big screen or television.. Community pride. Citizens like to watch movies being made, industry members have talked at local schools and small groups may tour a set. It gives a town something new to talk about, and when they have the shared experience of seeing it in a theatre, it is great fun and builds pride for their hometown.
First Stage of Filmmaking
In the film industry, conception refers to when ideas are forming. During this stage, you and your community will not be involved (unless you are creating a film project of your own). While you are waiting for these ideas to form, we suggest that you take this time to organize your community in order to be prepared for what may be coming. Think of attracting the film and video industry as an economic development strategy. Your community should want to attract films and it is incumbent on the local leaders to work with their community to assure they are ready. Read the following pages to find out where you can get started and how to get your community excited about bringing film projects to Michigan!
What You Can Do
1. Establish Goals
One goal of your community should be to attract film productions. First, make sure that this is what the community wants. You cannot attract film productions to your area if your citizens do not want to be involved. The return of attracting film productions is increased local revenues, creation of temporary jobs and encouraging the use of local services and supplies. These are just a few of the direct benefits that your community may experience.
2. Form a Committee or create a local contact list.
This committee can include local business people, elected officials, environmental groups, police and sheriffs department, Chamber of Commerce, city council, Convention of Visitors Bureaus, etc. Basically these will be contact people when it comes time for pre-production and production. Like a boy scout, be prepared 3. Appoint a committee liaison
Committee members should appoint someone to represent the committee. This person will be in place to maintain clear and consistent communications and develop good working relationships with the West Michigan Film Office, the Michigan Film Office and key people within the film industry. This person will be required to make decisions as the community representative prior to and during filming, and should therefore have full endorsement and authority of the local municipality or jurisdiction. Some of the liaisons responsibilities will include: • Responding to location requests from WMFO and MFO. This can also include hosting a scouting tour of your region and sending photographs of sites requested from production companies. • Serving as film coordinator when a film production is in your area. The liaison should be aware of any previous film production in the area and remain sensitive to local concerns. • Have contact info ready for accommodations, local catering, construction crews, lumberyards, list of big buildings (for studio space), DNR contacts, local and state police, national parks, travel governments and production services. • Creating and/or coordinating film permits, guidelines, location agreements, holdharmless agreements and other ways to protect your community. 8
What You Can Do
4. Develop filming procedures
Establish a film permit procedure for your community (An example of a film permit can be found in Resources for You). Make a list of contacts so you can be more prepared. You should have: • Hotel rooms- for up to 150 production personnel • Restaurants-especially those open early or 24 hours • Catering Services • Equipment Rental • Air courier services • Lumberyards • Temporary Services • Contactors, Electricians and trades people • Car Rental Agencies • Security or local law enforcement
5. Start building a photo library
What types of photos to include? Cliffs, bridges, rivers, tall buildings, neighborhoods, schools, to name a few. All projects are different, so be prepared to take photos to fill the special needs of an upcoming project. See pages 18-20 on taking photos.
6. Coordinate with towns and regions within your area.
A strong network may acquire more production. If a company scouts your area and cannot find an exact location, suggest a neighboring community or a location in state. If your area has the desired location but accommodations are limited, know what is available nearby. Regional marketing will attract more filmmaking now and in the future. 7. Miscellaneous Ideas to Be Prepared • Monitor film industry events and news by reading film magazines, blogs and websites anything to better acquaint you with the industry. Familiarize yourself with the terminology in the back of this book. • Become a member of the WMFO through membership with the West Michigan Tourist Association. Introduce this to your community as an economic driver and get the locals on board. Together we can partner on this opportunity. 9
If your community decides that they would like to develop a set of filming guidelines ask this
question first, Now that we know we want to attract filming, what are our major concerns? IYour relationships will be based on communication, trust, and the willingness to accommodate last minute change. The rewards are a community that feels proud and excited to be host to a production, free marketing of your area, possible tourism dollars, production spending in your community, local hires and great stories to share when it is over. Guidelines are just that, guidelines. You want to make sure there is flexibility within the guidelines but, if necessary, they can be enforced.
Are in alignment with community needs Make efficient use of community staff time Have one primary contact Are a hassle-free as possible while promoting responsible filmmaking Can accommodate last minute changes and requests Protects the community Allows the community and production to work effectively together Has a tiered fee structure based on impact NOT the companys ability to pay Has a reasonable system for approvals that can accommodate speed Develop an intake sheet for filming information Attach the Code of Conduct to the guidelines (see sample) On bigger productions hold a community meeting so everyone hears what is planned The WMFO can run a training session for your community Let the Film Office know if you have something big or unusual (bridge, closed highway, building, building to blow-up)
Second Stage of Filmmaking
Development is the stage where an idea turns into a script. What happens is the producer of the film will find a story. This may come from original ideas, books, past films, etc. Next, a theme or underlying message will be generated and a synopsis will be prepared. Then, a 20 to 30-page treatment is written containing character traits, visuals and basic concepts. There is little dialogue or stage direction at this point. The script is then written over a period of several months and may be rewritten several times. The film pitch is then prepared and presented to potential financiers. If the pitch is successful and the film is given the green light, then financial backing is offered, typically from a major film studio, film council or independent investors. Lastly, a deal is negotiated and contracts are signed. During this stage someone from the production teamthe location scout, producer or director will start thinking of when and where the production will take place. This chapter includes basic questions to ask when you receive a phone call, how to take panoramic photos of your locations and important information on how to handle a scout.
It all begins with a
On the first call, the Michigan Film Office or West Michigan Film Office gets basic information from producers about the project and requests a script. While reading the script the location staff will make a list of all the locations in the script. In order to respond within 24 hours, staff should go through the files and send existing location photos that meet the criteria given. For almost every project, custom shooting and additional location scouting will be required at some point. We have an extensive photo library, but it doesnt even come close to covering the entire state. These photos may not cover the specific requirements of each project. So, in many cases we will call you. On rare occasions a production company might call you directly; in either event, you should follow the guidelines set out here. Be warned: these calls rarely come at convenient times and you usually wont have a lot of time to come up with the information requested. Information is generally needed ASAP. If you are talking directly with a production team get as much detailed information as possible. It will be beneficial to take a lot of notes about what they are looking for. If they say that they need something immediately, find out what they mean by immediately. Sometimes it can be overnight or maybe a couple of days to give you some breathing room. But remember those that respond the fastest have the edge.
Basic Questions to Ask:
Name, address, phone, email and contact person of the production company. What type of production is it (feature film, television, commercial)? If it is a commercial, ask if this is in the bid phase or do they have the green light to continue. • When do they want to shoot? Dates are essential. For a school, summer can be best. For a State Park, it can be off-season. Make sure it does not conflict with an event in your area that could have an impact. And always be honest about the weather. • How much time do you have to compile the information they are looking for? When might they come in and scout? • Where do you send the photos? Be sure you have the correct contact information. Do not assume it is the production company, because some freelancers work out of their home. • Who are they working with at the Michigan Film Office or West Michigan Film Office? REMEMBER: Never promise what you cant deliver. If you can tell after one phone conversation that your town doesnt have the look they want, dont waste their time or yours. If they have sketches, photos or written descriptions theyd likeyou to match, ask to see them. Make sure that all contacts and pictures that are sent are at least open to discussing the possibility of filming. If they arent, dont send them. The worst thing that can happen is to have a director fall in love with a location that does not exist or that he/ she ultimately cannot have.
RH SH JD MS CS
WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE INFORMATION REQUEST FORM Project Name: __________________________ Company: Address: __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ Date: __________________________ Contact: ________________________ Phone: _________________________ Fax: _________________________ Cellular: _________________________ Pager: __________________________ Email: _________________________ Other: _________________________ Ad Agency:_______________________ Director: ______________________ Loc. Mngr: _______________________ Prod. Dsgnr:______________________ Script Available:___________________
Scout Dates: Film Dates: Budget $:
Exec. Prod.: __________________________ Producer: __________________________ Prod. Mngr: __________________________ Studio Contact: __________________________ Key Cast:
Status of the State Incentives
INFORMATION REQUESTED: State Production Guide Lodging Guide Weather Information Maps/Guides Crew List
Film Info. for city of: __________________________ Location Info. for: Other: _________________________
SENT: Standard Mail: Date: _______________ Initials: _______________
Express Delivery: Carrier: ______________________ Number:______________________ Date: ______________________ Initials: ______________________
Expenditure Form Sent: ______________ Dollars Spent $: ____________
(1) How to Pick a Location
First, look back at your contact sheet and notes. Think about the script and how it will work with the location at hand. For example, if the project is set in the past think about power lines, parking meters, television antennas, neon signs and other evidence of modern life. Dont necessarily rule out a location just because there is one of these in viewsometimes it is possible to obscure or remove their anachronisms through Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). If a project is set in the flat cornfields of the Midwest, dont have hills visible. If they need snow, make sure it is there. If theyve asked for a mansion, does it call for a swimming pool? If so, dont bother to show them one without a pool. Are they requesting a circular drive, ornamental iron gate or trees? Here is where your detailed notes will really pay off as the more closely you can match their description, the better. Keep asking questions until you are clear about what they really want. If they have asked for a specific architectural style and youre not familiar with it, ask local experts for assistance, consult a reference book or the web.
A feature film can use 10-12 equipment trucks and 15-30 cars on every shooting day; a television commercial uses about half that. Does the location have ample parking for the location you are showing? If not, is there a school or church parking lot close enough to shuttle cast and crew? Noise is a factor. If you have chosen a gracious home that happens to be on a busy street it could make recording sound a problem. Do flights go over often? Airports, railroads, highways and businesses can also present sound problems. After you have done your research, call any places that will have problems or where someone has said, absolutely no filming. Everything you send should be a filming possibility.
(2) The Art of the Pan Shot
Once you have determined that your location could be a possibility, you are ready to photograph. Unless you are told differently, all location photos should be shot digitally. As a rule, videos, Polaroid, tourism snapshots and brochures do not work. What producers usually need is a 180-degree panoramic view, or pan of the prospective location. That way, they can get an idea of the entire area, rather than just one small plot of land.
How to do the pan:
Place your feet in a comfortable position, slightly apart for balance. Keep the camera level and at the same height throughout the process (a tripod works well for this.) Begin by facing the principal location and framing it in the camera lens. Without moving your feet or the camera, turn your body approximately 90 degrees to the left of the center and take the first shot. Turning your body from left to right and holding the camera level, take the second view. The left edge of the second view should overlap the right edge of the first one slightly; the left edge of the third should overlap the second slightly and so on. If possible find a vertical line - a fencepost, telephone pone or the edge of a building near the right side of your frame. This same vertical line should then appear on the left edge of the next frame. A 180-degree pan should take about five to six exposures, with the primary location directly in the center. Try to keep the camera as level as possible, but dont sweat the centimeters - you can fix any small variances in the paste-up. Keep in mind that there are times when you might want to turn the camera sideways and take a vertical pan. You should always be able to see the sky at the top of your shots to give a sense of perspective and size. Some digital cameras may have stitching software for panoramic photos built right in the camera. Every camera is different so definitely learn your camera and how it operates. After you shoot you can email the photos to the film office of you can burn it on a CD and we will incorporate your images in our photo library. High-resolution images (.jpg files) are preferred, but we will take whatever you can send to us.
Sample Pan Shot
After you take the photos....
If you take them digitally
Burn them onto two discs- one for permanent record and one to give to the production company. Email them to whoever was requesting them. In the interest of time, take your film to a one-hour photo developer (or the fastest developer available). It is a good idea to request two sets of prints in case the first gets lost in the mail, or so you have the beginnings of a small photo library of your own. Save the negatives and put them in the location photo file in your office. Helpful Hints • A normal lens (50mm) reduces distortion. • It helps to shoot the photos with both eyes open. • Electronic imaging is the future of location photography. You should be researching this and carefully considering options for storage and delivery. • When sending images via email, you will find it easiest to send in the .jpg format and only send 5-7 photos at a time to better your chances of the email going through. • If you have a digital camera you can use programs on the web such as Flickr (through Yahoo) or Picasa (through Google) to upload and share photos. • For interiors, position yourself in one corner of the room and take the photos in the same manner as above. For tall buildings or street scenes, you may want to take the photos vertically. When taking single shots, frame the location as best as you can. • Limit your photos to the type of locations asked for, do not waste time shooting unrelated sites. However, if you feel that something would be a good double for a site asked for in a script, include that in your photos. Remember, movie magic can make you believe that your town is somewhere in another place or time. Be creative! If you feel the need to review these directions before you head out to take yourphotos, feel free to contact the WMFO at 800-442-2084. Dont be afraid to make mistakes. 20
If you take them with 35mm film
When a production comes to your city, the crew is faced with the dilemma of making the shot work. Below are examples of business decisions they might face. We have a problem with this location and need to find a quick alternative. The scout says, would you like it: 1. Good? 2. Fast? 3. Cheap? You cannot have all three. Pick any two: Good + Fast = The ability to throw money at the problem. Good + Cheap = The project may take awhile to arrange. Fast + Cheap = Not what you wanted, but it will work.
If everything goes well and the producer likes the photos youve sent, they may send someone to your area to look at the locations in person. The WMFO and MFO will make every effort to have a member of our production staff there to assist with the scout, but that wont always be possible. Plan an itinerary logically and efficiently. Even if someone from our staff cannot be with you, please check in with us. Before the production team arrives (and it could be anywhere from one to five people) put together: • A fact sheet on the locations • A suggested itinerary • Contact name for each location - the owner of the property or the person who can give permission for use of the property. • Maps of your area Be sure that all the local contacts whose properties are being looked at understand that this only an initial scout. It could be some time before a final decision is reached. It is a good idea to ask those local contacts to keep news of the scout quiet. Any disruption in carefully planned schedules may work against you in the decision-making process. (If half the town is waiting on the city hall steps, its bound to make the production team wonder if it is possible to work quietly in your town.) Remember, confidentiality is important! Dont tell anyone who doesnt need to know about the scouting trip. Until the production company makes the final decision, you must keep it to yourself. Once the project has the green light, ask the production company about who their press contact is and what you are able to talk about with the public. Make yourself available to the location scout. If you do go along, dont slow things down and dont give a scenic or historic tour of your area. Only show the location they have asked for. Again, do not bring them anywhere that does not want filming. If possible, try and know what the regulations are for that area. Also keep in mind whether or not there will be any major events that may affect that area during the proposed time of filming. Commercial productions will work differently. They will have a location scout or manager on the project immediately, and you will not scout with them. Everything happens faster for commercials so you will most likely be advising the location staff via telephone or email.
Sample Itinerary Red Sonja, Millennium Productions Project Title: Red Sonja Director: Douglas Aarniokoski Starring: Rose McGowan Producer: Robert Rodriguez, John Thompson, Matt OToole, Avi Lerner Prod Co: Millennium Films / Nu Image or designated production entity App Shoot: September 2008 (Prep to begin in July) Budget: $25 million Contacts: Michigan Film Office: Janet Lockwood, 800-477-3456 Michael Grabemeyer or Tony Garcia DNR: Peter G. LundBorg, Unit Manager Phone: 231-873-3083 email@example.com Silver Lake CVB: Linda Foster Cell - 231-923-6814 Muskegon Area First: Rich Houtteman cell phone 231-215-0685 ______________________________________________________________ Itinerary: Thursday June 26, 2008 • Arrive @ Grand Rapids Airport at 3:30, rent a SUV and Rick Hert WMFO will be the driver. • Tentative plan is to go to Muskegon and meet with Muskegon Area First Rich and Ed (cell 231-730-4092) to look at Roundys warehouse space 1764 S. Creston St. at 5:15pm, and Brunswick and or airport hangar at 6 pm for possible studio space to build sets • Done by 6:30 and on to Silver Lake, dinner along the way • If needed, Michigan Adventure for wave pool and underwater scene Camille cell phone 231-206-1745 • 8:00 pm, meet DNR/dune buggy ride at ORV parking lot on the dunes till dark, arranged by Linda, Silver Lake CVB • Overnight @ Sierra Sands Lodge 7990 W. Hazel Rd, 231-873-3769 Friday June 27, 2008 Trip back to dunes if needed before meeting • 8:00 am meet at Hart Silver Lake Chamber office 2388 N. Comfort Dr. 231-870-9786, invite, Local CVB Representation, State parks, DNR, Jack Warfield Sandy Korners, State Film Office Tony cell phone, 517-881-1725? Bring Topographical maps for state and national forest. • 9:00 am Forest and woods scout • Noon mountains, waterfalls, caves, woods with clearings, ? Plan on back to Grand Rapids Friday night or ? Guest on to Detroit on Sunday to meet with a studio.
PRE-PRODUCTION Third Stage of Filmmaking
During this stage the film is designed and planned in the pre-production stage. This is where the production company is created and a production office is established. The production is storyboarded and visualized with the help of illustrators and concept artists. A production budget is then drawn up to estimate the cost of the film. The producer will hire a crew. The budget and overall size of the film will determine the number and type of crew used during the production. In a Hollywood Blockbuster film, a crew of a couple hundred people is not unusual. With a lower budget film or Independent film, a skeleton crew of nine or ten people can make up the entire crew. Typical crew positions include: Director Caterer Assistant Director (AD) Sound Designer Casting Director Make up and hair Designer Location Manager Production Sound Mixer Production Manager Storyboard Artist Director of Photography (DP or DOP) Production Designer Art Director Grips Costume Designer Gaffer During this time you should be looking ahead at ways to get your community back to normal when the production is finished. Make sure that you have the correct guidelines, permits and location agreements in place in order to protect yourself.
They Choose You!
Finally all of your hard work has paid off and you get the call saying that your area has been selected. Now things really start to speed up; it could be a matter of days before the first wave of crew personnel arrives in your town to open the production office, secure locations, hire local cast and crew, and begin construction and set dressing. If it is a commercial shoot, they could arrive within a day. Getting the Word Out Always talk with the production company before speaking to the media. Take your lead from the company on how to handle the press. If they approve, remember you can only speak for the community, not for the company. A major production will have a unit publicist. If it is a small film, the production manager may be the press contact. Find out whom that person is and refer all press calls to him or her. Also, try to bring local officials to the set. Always arrange this ahead of time to make sure it is appropriate, as some sets will not allow any visitors. Gas, Food, Lodging The production company will negotiate for the lowest possible lodging rates. You will probably be asked for hotel contacts and you should refer the company to several hotels with the capacity to house the entire cast and crew. The production company will require an assortment of room types during the shoot (single, double, suite) and usually prefer not to split crew accommodations between two hotels. It is wise to find a hotel that has adequate parking space for several 18-wheel trucks. If the hotels in your area do not have enough space, you should help to arrange alternatives with the police department or parking control division of your city. (Possible solutions include temporary No Parking signs or bagging parking meters near the hotel for the use of the production company.) Since film crews work long and odd hours, 24-hour kitchen service at the hotel is a bonus. If no hotels offer this service, find out if it is possible to bring a caterer into the hotels kitchen. A film crew, regardless of size, will spend a large percentage of its location budget at the hotel- especially if food service is included. Hotel management should be prepared to negotiate room costs on the basis of total room nights and to be flexible and responsive to the special needs of a film crew. If the shoot is to be a long one, you might be asked to help find more permanent housing. Our staff can provide producers with a list of licensed real estate agents and additional listings are welcome. If you want to individually help locate available private housing, you may certainly do so. 25
Fees and Protection
Fees- Check out the this and the next page for accuracy There are no hard and fast rules to location fees, and not all film projects are created equal. Features as a rule have bigger budgets than television projects and commercials. But, there are national commercials that have budgets as big as a small feature. Any fees should be based on impact not the companys ability to pay. Some towns allow a production company to shoot for free but suggest a donation to the public school system or parks department. Others charge for parking, police and other city services. There are times when a fee is appropriate and times when it is not. Sometimes things other than money can be offered. Perhaps they repaint a home and the owner wants it left that way, resurfacing a driveway, making donations to the location owners favorite charity. You can be creative with compensation ideas. Use your best judgment and look at each project on a case-by-case basis. You can always call the MFO or WMFO for guidance. Contracts Anyone doing any business in connection with the production for which a fee has been negotiated should get a written contract in advance. Remember this is a business deal, even if everyone is wearing shorts. Sample guidelines and agreements are on pages 28-31. Schedules, Insurance and Planning Ahead In our experience, most problems between the local community and a production company result from poor communication and schedule conflicts. Everyone - the production, chamber, police, homeowners, local businesses - involved in the production should be aware of what is going to happen in advance, including disruptions in normal car and foot traffic. Any legitimate production company should be able and willing to provide proof of insurance against damage to property and personal injury. The minimum you should require is $1 million general liability. Have the community listed as additionally insured and require a hold harmless agreement (See Resources for You). Ask for this before production starts. Also, if it is a big project, you may want to ask for a damage deposit.
Fees and Protection
Bills/Invoices All bill claims should be submitted while the company is still in town. Late claims received after the production office has closed may get complicated. Property Damage Should any damage occur to buildings, vehicles, equipment or landscapes, you should let the production manager know in writing as soon as possible so insurance claims can be filed. Before filming begins take digital photos of areas where filming is going to take place. That way if there is a dispute you have a photo record to refer to. Make sure all merchants and property owners have verified that their property, belongings and payments are in good order before the company leaves town. If the production company asks for a release, property owners whose claims have been resolved should provide them with one.
Commercial Filming Guidelines and Agreement
Project Name: Production Company Name: Authorized Agent:
The applicant agrees to obtain a Permit to Film from the Clerk of the City of Anywhere and to pay any and all fees attendant thereto. The filming fee shall be determined according to the impact upon or level of inconvenience to the City of Hudsonville and its citizens. Impact guidelines are as follows: Small Impact Productions: $50 per day Ex. Brief closure of side street; two or fewer vehicles parked on the street; non-disruptive use of a public building; minimal noise activity. Medium Impact Productions: $150 per day Ex: Partial closure or obstruction of public right-of-way; three to seven vehicles parked on the street; moderate noise during daylight hours. Major Impact Productions: $300 per day Ex. Total closure of street; more than seven vehicles parked on the streets; noise and filming activity after 10pm; disruptive use of a public building.
City of Anywhere Michigan
The company named above agrees that in addition to the Film Permit Fee it will pay a $500 deposit, refundable upon final inspection of the film location(s) and verification that all obligations to the Town incurred as a result of this activity are satisfied. The Company further agrees that Public Works Department time and materials required to restore the location to its previous condition will be deducted from the deposit. For restoration costs in excess of the deposit amount the Company further agrees to pay in full, promptly upon receipt of an invoice, the costs of repair for any and all damage to public or private property, resulting from or in connection with, the production, and to restore the property to its condition prior to the production.
The Producer shall attach a certificate of insureance, naming the Town of Anywhere as an additional insured, in the amount of $1,000,000 general liability, including bodily injury and property damage; and automobile liability (if applicable) in the amount of $1,000,000 including bodily injury and property damage. The Town of Anywhere, its corporate authorieties, elected officials, officers, boards, commissions, attorneys, employees and agents are each made additionally insured under Policy Number___________ with respect to any and all claims which arise out of or are in any way related to the operations of the above named file production company while present in the Town of Hudsonville.
Certificate of Insurance
The permitted shall indemnify and hold harmless to the Town of Anywhere, its officers, elected officials, agents, employees and volunteers from and against any and all claims, actions, suits proceedings, costs, expenses (including reasonable attorneys fees), damages, and liabilities claimed by any person, organization, association, or otherwise arising out of or relating to any act or omission of the permitted, its agents, contractors or employees under this Agreement. Such indemnification shall not be effective to the extent that the damage or injury results from the sole negligence of the Town. The permitted further waives, with respect to the Town only, its immunity under RCX title 51, Industrial Insurance. The indemnification provided for in this permit shall survive any termination or expiration of this Agreement. Failure of the Company to Comply with the terms of the Towns permit as described may result in the revocation or the permit. I have read, understand and agree to abide by the terms and conditions of this agreement and permit.
Hold Harmless Agreement
Signature of Authorized Agent:____________________________________Date:______________ Approval by Mayor, City of Anywhere_____________________________Date:_______________
E PL M SA
WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT
1. In consideration for receiving permission to participate in the _____________ to _______________, (the Production) from _____________ through ____________ I hereby release, waive, discharge and covenant not to sue ______________, its officers, servants, agents and employees (hereinafter referred to as releasees) from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or relating to any loss, damage or injury, including death, that may be sustained by me, or to any property belonging to me, whether caused by the negligence of the releasees, or otherwise, while participating in the Production, or while in, on or upon the premises where the Production is being conducted, while in transit to or from the premises, or in any place or places connected with the Trip. 2. I am fully aware of risks and hazards connected with being on the premises and participating in the Production, and I am fully aware that there may be risks and hazards unknown to me connected with being on the premises and participating in the Production, and I hereby elect to voluntarily participate in the Production, to enter upon the above named premises and engage in activities knowing that conditions may be hazardous, or may become hazardous or dangerous to me and my property. I voluntarily assume full responsibility for any risks of loss, property damage or personal injury, including death, that may be sustained by me, or any loss or damage to property owned by me, as a result of my being a participant in the Production, whether caused by the negligence of releasees or otherwise. 3. I further hereby agree to indemnify and save and hold harmless the releasees and each of them, from any loss, liability, damage or costs they may incur due to my participation in the Production, whether caused by the negligence of any or all of the releasees, or otherwise. 4. It is my express intent that this Release shall bind the members of my family and spouse, if I am alive, and my heirs, assigns and personal representative, if I am deceased, and shall be deemed as a Release, Waiver, Discharge and Covenant Not to Sue the above named releasees. In signing this release, I acknowledge and represent that: A. B. C. D. I have read the foregoing release, understand it, and sign it voluntarily as my own free act and deed; No oral representation, statements or inducements, apart from the foregoing written agreement, have been made; I am at least eighteen (18) years of age and fully competent; and I execute this Release for full, adequate and complete consideration fully intending to be bound by same.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this ___ day of ___________________, 2002. Participant Signature: _____________________________________ Name Printed: ___________________________________________ Witness:________________________________________________ Witness Name Printed: _____________________________________
PRODUCTION Fourth Stage of Filmmaking
The film is created and shot in the production stage. More crew positions will be filled and recruited at this time, such as the property master, stills photographer, picture editor, script supervisor, assistant directors and sound editors. The assistant director will follow the shooting schedule for the day to start off a typical days work. Props are made ready and the set is constructed. The lighting is rigged and the camera and sound recording equipment are set up. During this process, the actors are put in their costumes and are sent to the hair and make-up departments. At this point the actors rehearse their scripts and blocking with the director. The crews then come in and rehearse with the actors and director. Finally, the scenes are shot. When shooting is finished for the scene, the director declares a wrap. The crew will then strike the set for that scene. The director approves the next days shooting schedule and a daily progress report is sent to the production office. This includes the report sheets from continuity, sound and camera teams. Call sheets are distributed to the cast and crew to tell them when and where to go the next shooting day. This chapter will show you how to get prepared for the production. It includes information on closing streets, how to work with production companies and a code of conduct you could enforce.
Working with the Community
STREET CLOSURES Nothing can anger a local community hosting a production faster than closed roads without adequate public warning. Ask the company to work with you to get the word out as soon as possible. Try and work out intermittent closures (3-5 minutes) if possible. Again, its not possible to over-notify or to tell too many people. Make sure all homes and/or businesses in a square block area surrounding the filming location are given the information. Does the Mayors office know? Signs placed along affected traffic routes or announcements on the radio and in the local newspapers can go a long way toward keeping people happy. Again, it is all about communication. The production is responsible for obtaining permission to close local streets, through the police department, or the sheriffs office or the department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety for interstate and intrastate roads and highways. Get the bureaucratic ball rolling as soon as you know the production will be in your area requiring this kind of assistance. Identify the key players who can make it happen. THE NATURE OF THE BEAST The project in your town might look like a lot of fun to you, your friends, and neighbors, but remember that the actors and crew personnel are there to do their jobs and are usually on a very tight schedule. For film and television, their office is the street. They are at work and they need to be treated and respected as such. If the director and producers have decided to have a closed set (meaning no visitors or unauthorized personnel), please honor their wishes.
Sample Shooting Schedule
Sample Crew Call
Working with Productions
The greatest way to make sure that filming goes smoothly is through the exchange of good information and ongoing communication. Filming can be a positive and exciting experience, with some time spent in pre-planning. Below are some tips to help you and remember, the West Michigan Film Office is always available to answer your questions.
1. Check with the MFO or WMFO - to ensure that the company is legitimate and that we are
Helpful Tips for
working with them already.
2. Appoint One Contact Person - This person is the point person for all filming requests. The
point person can then field to appropriate departments. This way, no information can fall through the cracks. This person should be able to respond quickly and be available during filming, if necessary.
3. Direct all Questions to the Location Manager - Their job is to liaison between locations and
the production company, and handle all negotiations of contracts and fees. Make sure you have office and cell phone numbers.
4. Film Guidelines - The West Michigan Film Office would be happy to work with you to
develop guidelines specific to your community or business. Guidelines can be customized and will protect the location and its environs, and put everyone on level footing about expectations when handling filming request.
5. Expectations - Make sure you know exactly what the film company wants to do. You can
never ask too many questions. If you are uncertain, call the Film Office and they will help. Things to consider are parking, feeding the crew, hours of filming, security, exact areas being requested, how many days, etc. Make sure the company knows any restrictions or considerations you have in place as well.
6. Parking Impacts - Get a full understanding about the amount of equipment and
transportation needs of the production. Big features can have up to eight semi-trucks, trailers, generators and lighting equipment.
7. Insurance - All reputable film companies will produce a certificate of insurance for a
minimum of $1,000,000 naming the location as additionally insured. Make sure there is a Hold Harmless agreement in place.
8. Feeding the Crew - A crew can be from five people to one hundred with crew and extras.
Feeding may occur outside in the parking lot by the catering truck or you may be asked if you have a space that could be used for that purpose.
9. Code of Conduct - This document lays out guidelines for courteous behavior by cast and
crew when they are guests at your location. Familiarize yourself with the Code, attach it to your filming guidelines and tell the Location Manager that you will expect the production crew to honor them.
Code of Conduct
for Production Companies
To Production Companies: You are guests and should treat this location, as well as the public,
with courtesy. If we do not all work toward building a good relationship with the local communities in which we work, we will see less production, resulting in fewer jobs for us all. Please adhere to the following guidelines.
To the Citizens: If you find this production company is not adhering to the Code of Conduct,
please contact the West Michigan Film Office at 800-442-2084.
1. When filming in a neighborhood or business district, proper notification is to be provided to
each merchant or neighbor who is directly affected by the company (this includes parking, base campus, and meal areas). The filming notice should include: Name of company Name of publication Kind of production (e.g., feature film, movie of the week, TV pilot, etc.) Type of activity and duration ( i.e., times, dates, number of days, including prop and strike) Company contract (first assistant director, unit production manager, location manager) Name and number of City Film Coordinator The Code of Conduct should be attached to the filming notification which is distributed to the neighborhood. 2. Production vehicles arriving on location in or near a residential neighborhood should enter the area at a time no earlier than that stipulated in the permit, and park one by one, turning off engines as soon as possible. Cast and crew shall observe designated parking areas.
3. When a production pass identifying the employee is issued, every member of the crew shall
wear it while at the location.
4. The removal, moving, or towing of the publics vehicles is prohibited without the express
permission of the municipal jurisdiction of the owner of the vehicle. the driveway owner.
5. No production vehicles should park in or block driveways without the express permission of 6. Cast and crew meals shall be confined to the area designated in the location agreement or
permit. Individuals shall eat within their designated meal area during scheduled crew meals. All trash must be disposed of properly upon completion of the meal. the permit authority or property owner.
7. Removal, trimming, and/or cutting of vegetation or trees is prohibited unless approved by
Code of Conduct
for Production Companies
8. Remember to use the proper receptacles for disposal of all napkins, plate, and coffee cups
you may use in the course of a working day.
9. All signs erected or removed for filming purposes will be removed or replaced upon
completion of the use of that location unless otherwise stipulated by the location agreement or permit. Also remember to remove all signs posted to direct the company to the location.
10. Every member of the cast and crew will keep noise levels as low as possible. 11. Articles of clothing that do not display common sense of good taste should not be worn by
crew members. Shoes and shirts must be worn at all times, unless otherwise directed. common sense or good taste (i.e., pin-up posters).
12. Crew members shall not display signs, posters, or pictures on vehicles that do not reflect 13. Do not trespass onto other neighbors or merchants property. Remain within the
boundaries or the property that has been permitted for filming. authorized in advance by the company. from the location.
14. The cast and crew shall not bring guests or pets to the location, unless expressly 15. Make sure all catering, crafts service, construction, strike, and personal trash is removed 16. Observe designated smoking areas and always extinguish cigarettes in butt cans. 17. Cast and crew will refrain from the use of lewd or improper language within earshot of the
18. The company will comply at all times with the provisions of the filming permit.
The West Michigan Film Office appreciates your cooperation and assistance in upholding the Code of Conduct.
Fifth Stage of Filmmaking
The film editor assembles the film in the post-production stage. A rough cut taken from scenes based on individual shots is the first thing the editor will build. The purpose of the rough cut is to select and order the best shots. A fine cut is the next step. The means to get the story and continuity of the shots to make sense and flow nicely together. Trimming then comes into play and it is the process of shortening scenes by a few minutes, seconds, or even frames. The director and producer will watch the fine cut and hopefully approve it which will make the picture locked. The film passes out of the hands of the editor to the sound department to build up the sound track when at this point when the picture is locked. The voice recordings are synchronised and the final sound mix is created. The sound mix combines sound effects, background sounds, ADR, dialogue, walla, and music. Finally, when all is said and done, the film is previewed, normally by the target audience, and any feedback possibly results in further shooting or edits to the film.
When the production has wrapped or finished shooting, you should try to meet with the producer or production manager to ensure that all loose ends are tied up. Take them to breakfast or lunch and go over the filming experience, check out how everyone did, ask for the jobs and dollars left in the community and see if you can get any still photos for your files. Also, ask for a Cast and Crew list as well as the Vendor list. Make sure you have a number for them for a least a month after they leave. The production manager approves payment of bills and is responsible for all business-related matters; the production accountant issues checks for payroll and any outstanding bills; the prop master and swing gang are responsible for striking or dismantling the set, returning prop rentals and shipping props back to the studio, the construction crew breaks down equipment and repaints and restores any locations that have been altered. Always thank whoever scouts your area, whether they shoot here or not. They could have another project coming up that might work for your area. Dont forget your local contacts. Remember to thank those who assisted with locations and the scout. If there are any parting words wed like you to keep in mind, they are BE FLEXIBLE. So many factors go into shooting on location: the script could be rewritten, the lead actor could get pneumonia, it could rain, equipment could fail...it helps to expect things not to go as expected. Remember, if you ever run into trouble or have questions, call us, or the MFO, were here to help.
These questions can be used to determine the expenditures of a production company that has shot on location in your area. The unit production manager will be able to provide the most complete and accurate information needed. How much did your production company spend on the following items? 1 Hotel rooms $__________ # of rooms_________ # of days___________ 2. Car rental $__________ # of cars___________# of days___________ 3. Catering and other food items $_______________________________ 4. Hardware and lumber supplies $______________________________________ 5. Office rental $____________________________ 6. Secretarial personnel $__________________________________ Equipment $______________________________________ 7. Dry cleaning $ _____________________________________ 8. Gasoline $______________________________ 9. Location fees $_________________________________ 10. City/County & other government permit fees $_______________ 11. Local Extras hired $__________ # of people_________# of days____________ 12. Local security hired $__________ # of people ________ # 0f days__________ 13. Local drivers hired $__________ # of people_________# of days____________ 14. Other local hires: (Carpenters, painters, electricians, etc.) $__________ # of people________ # of days____________ 15. Other renals $__________ # of days____________ 16. Other purchases: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ 17. Total amount spent: $________________________________________________________ 18. Total number of days on location:____________________________________________ 19. Major locations used (towns, residences, schools, etc.): ______________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ 20. Did you encounter any problems? _________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________
RESOURCES FOR YOU
from the Michigan Film Office
General What is the Michigan film incentive?
The film incentive, officially called the film production credit, is a refundable, assignable tax credit of up to 42% of the amount of a production companys expenditures (depending upon type) that are incurred in producing a film or other media entertainment project in Michigan.
Film Incentive FAQs
The film production credit is available to eligible production companies; that is, entities that are in the business of producing qualified productions. The term production popularly means an entire movie or media entertainment project. The term production company therefore refers to the company that bears the overall responsibility for making (or producing) the movie or other entertainment project as a whole. Companies that are vendors to a production company do not qualify for the credit.
What is the difference between the 40% credit and the 42% credit?
Qualifying expenditures made in a designated Core Community in Michigan are eligible for a 42% credit. Qualifying expenditures made in a non-core community in Michigan are eligible for a 40% credit. The Michigan Film Office has the list of qualifying Core Communities on their website, along with a Michigan map showing their locations.
Is above the line talent covered as well as below the line?
Yes. Compensation payments made to above the line personnel, such as producers, directors, writers, and actors, are direct production expenditures eligible for the 40% - 42% credit amount. Compensation payments made to below the line personnel, such as technical crew members, may be either qualified personnel expenditures eligible for the 30% credit amount, or direct production expenditures eligible for the 40% - 42% credit.
Who qualifies for 30%?
Compensation payments made by a production company to below the line personnel who were not residents of Michigan for at least 60 days before approval of the agreement between the production company and the Michigan Film Office will be qualified personnel expenditures eligible for a 30% credit.
Who qualifies for 40%?
Compensation payments to above the line personnel regardless of residency, as well as compensation payments made to below the line personnel who were residents of Michigan for 60 days or more before approval of the agreement between the production company and the Film Office, will be direct production expenditures eligible for a 40% - 42% credit.
What does it mean to be a resident? When do I get my credit?
A below the line crew member will be considered a resident if they are in Michigan for more than 60 days before an agreement is approved. Residency must be proven with a Michigan drivers license or a Michigan voters registration card. Once the production company has completed all production-related work in Michigan, it must request a post-production certificate from the Michigan Film Office. After all submitted expenditures have been certified to qualify for the credit, the Film Office will issue the post-production certificate, which sets forth the amount of the production companys credit. The production company must then file a Michigan Business Tax return at the end of its tax year to claim its credit, attaching a copy of the post-production certificate to its tax return. Error-free returns claiming refundable film production credits are expected to be processed in 3 - 4 weeks. A production company may also assign all or a portion of the credit received to other parties.
DIRECT PRODUCTION EXPENDITURES What isdirect production expenditure?
A qualifying direct production expenditure must satisfy four criteria. It must be i) made in this state, ii) not a qualified personnel expenditure, iii) directly attributable to the production or distribution of a qualified production, and iv) subject to taxation in this state.
What does made in this state mean?
In a general sense, it means the expenditure must directly benefit Michigans economy in some way, and that Michiganbased businesses are benefited rather than our-of-state businesses. In a more specific sense, made in this state implies the following standards: i) tangible personal property and services must be acquired by the production company from a source within Michigan, and ii) services must be wholly performed within Michigan. 43
What does a source within Michigan mean? Can it be anyone who is doing business in any way in Michigan?
from the Michigan Film Office
Film Incentive FAQs
No. In order to qualify for film production credit purposes a source within Michigan must have an established physical presence that included both a non-temporary bricks and mortar storefront and at lease one full time permanent employee.
Can it be a business that just started, say, a month ago?
Possibly. The requirements of non-temporary and permanent mean, generally, a presence of at least one year. The one year standard could be met with a prior presence as well as a planned future presence evidenced by a documented commitment, such as entering into a one year lease for office space.
What about pass throughs?
Simple pass through transactions will not qualify as direct production expenditures made in this state. However, in general, the existence of an added markup by the permanent Michigan business that is consistent with industry norms would suggest that the transaction has economic substance in Michigan and is not merely a pass through transaction. Therefore it is likely to qualify.
PAYROLL PROCESSING SERVICES Can I obtain a credit for payroll processing services performed outside of Michigan?
No, only services performed entirely within Michigan qualify for the credit.
Would it qualify if the payroll processing company had an employee in Michigan to handle the data transfer?
No, because the service still is not being performed in Michigan. The payroll processing business would qualify only if the payroll services were entirely performed in Michigan.
Does the answer change if the payroll processing business is the employer of record for the employees whose payroll is being processed ?
No, the nature of the transaction remains substantially that of payroll processing because the true employer of the employees whose payroll is being processed is the film production company.
FRINGE BENEFITS Are fringe benefits paid to crew members such as the employers share of FICA, health insurance, and so forth eligible for the Film Production Credit?
Yes, the described fringe benefits are eligible for the Film Production Credit.
Are such expenditures considered direct production expenditures eligible for a 40% - 42% credit, or are they qualified personnel expenditures eligible for a 30% credit?
That depends on whether the crew members are above or below the line, and for below the line crew whether they are residents of Michigan.
Which type qualifies for the 40-42 percent?
Fringe benefits paid to above the line crew members, such as producers, directors, writers, and actors, as well as fringe benefits paid to below the line crew members who were residents of Michigan for 60 days or more before approval of the agreement between the production company and the Film Office, will be direct production expenditures eligible for a 40% - 42% credit.
And the 30 percent?
Fringe benefits paid to below the line crew members who were not residents of Michigan for at least 60 days before approval of the agreement between the production company and the Michigan Film Office are qualified personnel expenditures eligible for a 30% credit. Total payments to any one employee are capped for purposes of the credit at $2,000,000 - regardless of whether the employee is a Michigan resident or not.
Why is there a difference? Are there restrictions on the amounts paid to any of these people?
To encourage production companies to employ Michigan residents, particularly when hiring below the line crew members.
INCOME TAX WITHHOLDING Does a production company that fails to withhold or insure that the personal services company (PSC) or professional employment organization (PEO) withholds lose an otherwise available film credit?
Yes. An eligible production company that fails to properly withhold would be considered delinquent on an obligation to the state of Michigan, disqualifying it for the tax credit. An eligible production company must also ensure that any PSC or PEO that it employs to provide personnel withhold for the personnel to obtain the credit. This means that if the PSC or PEO do not withhold individual income tax then the eligible production company must withhold to qualify for the credit. An eligible production company will be considered delinquent if neither it nor the PSC or PEO withhold. The eligible production company, however, may cure a delinquency by paying the withholding. Upon payment its entitlement to the tax credit will be reinstated.
PRODUCTION INSURANCE Does production insurance purchased from an out-of-state insurance company through a Michigan based broker/agent qualify as a direct production expenditure?
from the Michigan Film Office
Film Incentive FAQs
Yes, the law specifically provides credit for this type of expense as long as the company is indeed Michigan based.
Define Michigan-based for insurance agents.
An insurance agent is based in Michigan if the insurance agent has a bricks and mortar storefront in Michigan with at least one full time employee and at least a one year Michigan presence.
NON-MICHIGAN PURCHASES Does the purchase of tangible personal property purchased from a source outside of Michigan qualify for the credit if the seller collects and remits Michigan sales or use tax?
No. Only purchases from Michigan vendors qualify for the credit. Generally, that means a vendor that has been in business with a bricks and mortar storefront for at least one year and has at least one fulltime employee. Additionally purchases must be subject to Michigan tax. Paying tax on the transaction, in itself, is not enough to qualify for the credit.
RENTALS Is the rental of specialized motion picture equipment from a vendor located outside Michigan (and whose inventory is also located outside Michigan) a qualified direct production expenditure?
What if the rental is handled by a Michigan based rental vendor?
Yes, in that case, if the transaction occurs between the qualified film production company and a Michigan based rental business the expenditure would qualify for credit. However, the transaction must have economic substance and not merely be a pass through transaction.
How is that determined?
A transaction has economic substance if there is an industry norm markup by the Michigan vendor, and would be further demonstrated if the Michigan vendor and the non-Michigan vendor were unrelated.
INFRASTRUCTURE CREDIT Do non-permanent fixtures such as honeywagons (a type of multi-room trailer used by film and television productions) and star trailers (larger trailers typically used by celebrities) qualify for the infrastructure credit? TAX RETURN FILING Is a taxpayer required to file an MBT tax return in order to obtain a film credit or refund?
No, the credit is not available for mobile tangible assets, such as honeywagons and trailers that are designed to be moved from location to location. Yes, a taxpayer is required to file an MBT return in order to obtain a film credit or refund.
If so, may the return be filed early (before the end of the return year)?
No, the MBT return may not be filed before the end of the return year. A taxpayer must file its annual return at the end of the return year to claim the credit, and any refund.
If the taxpayer files at the end of the return year, assuming there are no glitches with the return, when can the refundable tax credit be expected?
You can expect an error-free return to be processed within 3-4 weeks of filing.
Ecomomic Facts from Other Locations
Losing a Film: · · · California loses more than $10 million in tax revenue when a larger-budget movie costing about $70 million is made elsewhere. A mid-size film, costing about $32 million, shot out of state means about $4 million in lost taxes. For a 12-episode drama, state coffers lose more than $3 million. In 1999 a report commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America concluded that about $2.8 billion in direct film and TV work fled the U.S. in 1998, costing 23,500 entertainment jobs.
Benefits: Here are examples of the number of jobs and taxes generated in California by each type of production. Production Number State Type spending of jobs taxes Commercials $561,000 $47,000 Movie of the week $4,400,000 $640,000 1-hour drama (12 episodes) $26,800,000 $3,100,000 Low-budget film $1,700,000 $215,000 Small-budget feature $15,400,000 $1,784,000 Mid-budget feature $31,600,000 $4,060,000 Larger-budget feature film $69,700,000 $10,590,000 One of the major economic benefits and factors of film-induced tourism is that viewing past locations can be an all-year, all-weather attraction, thus spreading out the seasonality inherent in so many tourist attractions. Filming will bring a flurry of direct and indirect economic activity, including more sales for local businesses, new jobs and associated increases in sales and personal income tax revenue to the state. A study from Connecticuts film tax credit program shows the following: 13 film productions that filed for tax credits in Connecticut prior to September 30, 2007 that were included in the study incurred $282 million in expenditures and will claim $86 million in tax credits. During the study period, Connecticuts film tax credit program stimulated: - $55.1 million in film production spending - $20.72 million in new real gross state product (RGSP) - 395 full-time equivalent jobs - $6.58 million in new real disposable personal income through multiplier effects According to the study, the $16.5 million worth of tax credits that Connecticut has or is issuing for productions that took place in the state during the January 2006 to September 30, 2007 period will indirectly generate $1.25 million in present value state tax revenue over five years. In addition, each tax dollar spent (tax revenue forgone) on the film tax credit generates more than one dollar of additional real gross state product in present value terms. The studys findings suggest that the tax credit increases economy-wide activity by a greater amount than the cost of its implementation.
From Finance to Exhibition
Type of Project Feature Film TV Show
Network, Cable licence fee Rights to broadcast Studio, Private
Financing: What They Buy:
Ownership, Distribution rights
Ad Agency hires Production Company
Client (who hired ad agency) owns
Movie Theaters, Film Festivals, Straight to Video Free TV, Cable, PPV, Airlines, Video/DVD 2-6 months or more
Free TV, Cable, PPV
Free, TV, Cable TV
Secondary Market: Average Production Schedule: Budget Range:
Live, depends of genre: Comedy: 5days Drama: 7-8 days $1-100 million ½ hour: $650,000 -$1 million Drama: $1.5 million MOW: $2.5-$5 million Mini-Series: $8-&25 million Documentaries News, sports, PBS, Infomercials
One - multiple weeks
$10,000 -$1 million
Film Terminology Glossary
Above-the-Line Expenses Art Director
- The major expenses committed to before production begins, including story/rights/continuity (writing); salaries for producers, director, and cast; travel and living; and production fees (if the project is bought from an earlier company). Everything else falls under below-the-line expenses.
- (AKA: Production Designer) The person who oversees the artists and craftspeople that build the sets. The
Art Director must work closely with the Costume Designer to make sure the costumes work with the sets.
- (AKA: Aspect, Academy Ratio) A measure of the relative sizes of the horizontal and vertical components of
an image. Academy Ratio is 1.33:1.
- (AKA: AD, First Assistant Director, 1st Assistant Director, 2nd Assistant Director) An assistant
directors duties include tracking the progress of filming versus the production schedule, and preparing call sheets. A Assistant Director is responsible for the preparation of the shooting schedule and script breakdown used to plan the
shooting of a film or television show. The AD works directly with the Director to manage the minute-to-minute operations on the set during the process of filming, as well as coordinating the necessary communication of details of future operations as the filming progresses. Other duties include tracking the progress of filming versus the production schedule, observing all rules related to union crafts, labor contracts and location agreements, maintaining safety on the working set, and working with the Unit Manager to keep operational costs within the budgeted plan. A
Assistant Director is
responsible for information distribution and reporting, cast notification and preparations during the shooting process, recording all data relative to the working hours of the crew and cast, management of the background cast (atmosphere or extras), preparation of call sheets, production reports and other documentation. When needed, the Second Assistant Director can assume the duties of the First Assistant Director on a temporary basis.
Associate Producer B-Movie
- The person who can take over for the producer if that person becomes ill, otherwise known as a top
assistant. The associate Producer is usually the intermediary between the producers and the actual shooting crew.
-A low-budget, second-tier movie, frequently the second movie in a double-feature billing. B-films were cheaper
for studios because they did not involve the most highly paid actors or costly sets, and were popular with theater owners because they were less expensive to bring into their theaters while still able to draw revenue.
Below-the-Line Expenses Best Boy Billing
- All physical production costs not included in the above-the-line expenses, including material
costs, music rights, publicity, trailer, etc.
- this is the head electrician responsible for getting power to the set. The Best Boy works with the gaffer.
- (AKA: Top Billing, Diagonal Billing, Equal Billing) A great deal of importance is placed on the relative sizes,
positions and order of names and the movies title in printed publicity material as well as the opening credits. Generally, higher positions designate higher importance. Additionally, there is significance given to names which appear before or above the actual title of the movie. The person whose name is shown first in the credits or whose name is at the top of an advertisement is said to have received they are said to have
If more than one name appears at the same time or at the same height,
with the importance of the people concerned decreasing from left to right. In some
movies with a large number of stars, the publicity department must go to great lengths to satisfy the demands of various parties.
is where a different name appears first, depending on whether the material is read from top to
bottom, or from left to right. In some extreme cases, multiple stars in the same movie have each demanded top billing, in which case an equal number of differently-billed advertisement have been created.
- (AKA: Hit) A movie that is a huge financial success. In common usage a blockbuster is a movie that has a
box-office of more than $100 million upon release in North America.
- A process during which the director and actors determine where on the set the actors will move and stand, so
that lighting and camera placements may be set.
- A process whereby actors work in front of an evenly lit, monochromatic (usually blue or green) background.
The background is then replaced in postproduction by chromakeying, allowing other footage or computer-generated images to form the background imagery. See also greenscreen.
Boom Microphone Boom Operator Bounce Board
- (AKA: Boom Mic, Boom, Fishpole, Giraffe) A long pole with a microphone on the end. The boom
is extended out near the actors. Ideally, the microphone at the end should be placed in the cameras safe area.
- A member of the sound crew who operates the boom microphone.
- A large white card made of foam or poster board used to reflect soft light and for the soft key and fill.
- (AKA: Breakdown) A detailed list of all items, people, props, equipment, etc. required for a shoot
on a day-by-day basis. Recording such lists aids in continuity and allows optimization of the time of actors and the
- (AKA: Campy) A form of comedic parody where the clichéd conventions of a dramatic form like adventure are
deliberately exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness. Often unfairly used to describe superhero films and shows, as Batman is a prime example of this form of comedy.
- (AKA: Computer Generated Imagery) The use of computer graphics to create or enhance special effects.
A person who plans and directs dance sequences within a movie.
Chromakeying - Cinema Verité
An electronic/computerized technique that allows for specific color elements (chroma) to be replaced
with different picture elements. See also bluescreen and greenscreen.
- Literally: Cinema Truth. A documentary style in which no directorial control is exerted. The term is
frequently misused to describe new-wave handheld camera techniques.
Cinematographer - Clapboard -
(AKA: Cinematography, Cin) A person with expertise in the art of capturing images either
electronically or on film stock through the application of visual recording devices and the selection and arrangement of lighting. The chief cinematographer for a movie is called the director of photography.
(AKA: Clapper, Slate) A small board that holds information identifying a shot. It typically contains the
working title of the movie, the names of the director and director of photography, the scene and take numbers, the date, and the time. It is filmed at the beginning of a take. On the top of the clapboard is a hinged stick, which is often clapped to provide audio/visual synchronization.
Claymation - Colorist
Animation of models constructed from clay or plasticine.
- An image artist who, during post-production of a movie or television show, utilizes computer-based
alteration/correction programs to go through the movie/show frame by frame to insure color and light continuity. The colorist may also tweak colors to stylistically heighten them (think Sin City or Kill Bill I).
The combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images (or sequences of images),
often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene. Examples might be incorporating rendered 3D images (CGI) into filmed material, or extracting elements shot in front of blue/green screen. Today most compositing is achieved through digital image manipulation.
A producer who performs a substantial portion of a creative producing function, or who is primarily
responsible for one or more managerial producing functions. A co-producer has less responsibility than a producer for the completion of a project. Note that if a project has more than one producer, it doesnt mean that these individuals are co-producers in the technical sense of that term.
Construction Coordinator -
(AKA: Construction Foreman, Construction Manager)
Financial responsibilities include budgeting, tracking costs, generating reports, etc. A construction coordinator is directed artistically through drawings by the Prod
- (AKA: Continuity Error) The degree to which a movie is
self-consistent. For example, a scene where an actor is wearing a hat when seen from one camera angle and not from another would lack continuity. A person is often employed to check that continuity is maintained since re-shooting embarrassing lapses in continuity can be prohibitively expensive. See also continuity report. In modern times, some continuity errors can be corrected through digital compositing.
- (AKA: Crafts Service) The person (or people) available to assist the other crafts which include camera,
sound, electricians, grips, props, art director, set decorator, hair and makeup, service the other crafts during the actual shooting of a motion picture, with tasks including providing snacks and cleaning the set.
Crane Shot - Crosscut Cut -
A shot taken by a camera on a crane; often used to show the actors/action from above. Cranes usually carry
both the camera and a camera operator, but some can be operated by remote control.
- The technique of interweaving pieces of two or more scenes, usually in order to show simultaneous actions or
A change in either camera angle or placement, location or time. Cut is called during filming to indicate that the
current take is over. (See also shot, action. A cut of a movie is also a complete edited version.)
- (AKA: Rushes) The first positive prints made from the negatives photographed on the previous day. During
filming, the director and some actors may view these dailies as an indication of how the filming and the actors performances are progressing.
Deepfocus Shot - Depth of Field -
A shot in which both the foreground and the background are in focus. In other words, a shot with
exceptional depth of field..
(AKA: DOF) A measure of the range along a cameras line of site in which objects will be in focus. See also
aperture, shutter speed.
Diegetic sound -
(AKA: Actual sound) A sound that is created by something or someone visible on the screen or whose
source is implied to be present by the action of the film.
Digital Compositing -
with optical printing.
A technique whereby separately filmed components are combined through digital editing. Contrast
The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source
behind the filming process and communicates to actors the way that he/she would like a particular scene played. A directors duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate less important scenes to a second unit.
Director of Photography -
(AKA: DP , DoP) A cinematographer who is ultimately responsible for the process of recording a
scene in the manner desired by the director. The Director of Photography has a number of possible duties: selection of film stock, cameras and lenses; designing and selecting lighting, directing the gaffers placement of lighting; shot composition (in consultation with the director); film developing and film printing.
- An editing technique whereby the images of one shot are gradually replaced by the images of another.
- The organization responsible for coordinating the distribution of the finished movie to exhibitors, as well as
the sale of videos, laserdiscs and other media versions of movies.
Dolby Noise Reduction
- Dolby Laboratories, Inc., has produced a number of noise-reduction and sound-enhancement
- (AKA: Dolly Shot, Dolly Up, Dolly In, Dolly Back, Pull back) A dolly is a small truck that rolls along dolly tracks
carrying the camera, some of the camera crew and occasionally the director. Dolly is also the action of moving the camera towards (dolly up/in) or away from (dolly/pull back) the object that it is pointing at. The term often appears in screenplays. There is a subtle difference between the results of a zoom shot and a dolly shot. In a zoom, the relative positions and sizes of all objects in the frame remains the same, whereas in a dolly shot this will change as the camera moves. (Alfred Hitchcocks much-imitated shot in Vertigo used a combination zoom-in and dolly back, resulting in a dramatic change in perspective.)
- A grip that moves a dolly.
Dolly Tracks Draftsman - Driver
- A set of tracks upon which a camera can be moved.
A person who creates the plans for set construction.
- (AKA: Transportation Captain) A person who drives either equipment or passenger trucks, typically between
location shootings, sets and the studio. The chief driver is called the transportation captain.
- (AKA: Dubs, Dubbed) The technique of combining multiple sound components into one. The term is also used
to refer to automatic dialog replacement of a new language.
Electrical Department Establishing shot
will take place.
- The department in charge of all electrical matters (primarily lighting) for productions.
- The first shot of a new scene that introduces the audience to the space in which the forthcoming scene
Executive Producer Exposition
- A producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but who is still
responsible for the overall production. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues.
- Background information necessary to the advancement of the storyline or to augment richness or detail.
Eyeline Match Fade
- A technique used in visual effects to make sure an actor is looking at the face of the character/creature to
be inserted later.
- (AKA: Fade To Black, Fade In, Fade Out) A smooth, gradual transition from a normal image to complete blackness
(fade out), or vice versa (fade in).
Fast Motion Festival
- (AKA: Skip Frame) A shot in which time appears to move more quickly than normal. The process is
commonly achieved by either deleting select frames (called skip frames) or by undercranking.
- An event at which films can often premiere. Festivals can be used as by studios to show their wares and sell rights
to distributors, or to officially mark a movies release so as to make it eligible for award ceremonies with hard deadlines that cant be met if they waited for a general release. Some festivals are competitive, giving awards from a jury or selected by the audiences.
Film Developing Film Magazines
- A process whereby images recorded on film stock are transferred to a negative print.
- A reel of film stock ready for use in a camera. The clapper-loader is responsible for inserting these into a
- Literally: Black Film; describes a genre of film which typically features dark, brooding characters, corruption,
detectives and the seedy side of the big city.
Film Stock Foley
- The physical medium on which photographic images are recorded.
- The art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in synchronization with the visual component of a
movie. Named after early practitioner Jack Foley, foley artists sometimes use bizarre objects and methods to achieve sound effects, e.g. snapping celery to mimic bones being broken. The sounds are often exaggerated for extra effect - fight sequences are almost always accompanied by loud foley added thuds and slaps.
Frame Rate -
(AKA: Frames Per Second, FPS) Movies are created by taking a rapid sequence of pictures (frames) of action.
By displaying these frames at the same rate at which they were recorded, the illusion of motion can be created. Frame Rate is the number of frames captured or projected per second. The human optical system is only capable of capturing about 20 images per second; hence to give a realistic illusion of motion a frame rate greater than this is required. Most modern motion pictures are filmed and displayed at 24 fps. Earlier films used lower frame rates, and hence when played back on modern equipment, fast motion occurs due to undercranking. See also: slow motion, fast motion, undercranking, overcranking, judder, motion artifact.
- (AKA: Chief Lighting Technician) The head of the electrical department, responsible for the design and execution
of the lighting plan for a production. In 16th Century English, the term gaffer denoted a man who was the head of any organized group of laborers.
- A thin, tinted plastic-like sheet placed over a light to change the color of the projected light. Cleaning the gels is a
practical joke usually given as a job to an inexperienced crewmember.
Greenscreen Grindhouse Grip
- A newer technique similar to bluescreen, however utilizing a key green background. Research showed that
substantially better results could be gained by filming on green instead of blue, as effects stock was more sensitive to separating key green from other (foreground) colors.
- A term used to describe movie theaters common in the U.S. from the 1950s onward, which specialized in
showing, or grinding out as many B movies as they could fit into their schedules. The term is also used to describe the type of B movies commonly violent, exploitative, or just plain racy that were shown in such theaters.
- In the USA, a grip is a skilled person responsible for the set up, adjustment and maintenance of production
equipment on the set. Their typical duties involve camera movement, lighting refinement and mechanical rigging. In the UK, grips work exclusively with equipment that the camera is mounted on. Contrast with swing gang, see also key grip.
High Concept Hold
- Describes a film that includes and/or exploits certain elements (e.g. fast action, big-name stars) in order to
attract a large audience.
- A word used on a continuity report to indicate that a particular take should be kept, but not developed.
Honeywagon Hot Set
- Usually a trailer, or truckand-trailer combination outfitted for and used as the dressing room for actors
when on location shoots away from permanent soundstages.
- A set where set dressers and prop persons have finalized placing furniture and props for filming a scene and on
which a scene is in the process of being shot; labeled thus to indicate that it should not be changed or disturbed.
Independent Film Ink Insert Jib
- (AKA: Indie) A movie not produced by a major studio.
- Verb: to sign a contract. Noun: press coverage.
- A close-up shot of an object, often produced by the second unit. The term probably came about to reflect the fact
that this shot will be inserted into the final version of the movie during editing.
- The arm of a mechanical crane.
Jump Cut Key Grip Kickoff
- A cut involving an interruption to the continuity of time, where the image in a shot closely matches the image of
the previous shot.
- (AKA: Key-Grip the chief of a group of grips) Often doubling for a construction coordinator and a backup for
the camera crew, that also moves a dolly. Key grips work closely with the gaffer .
- The start of production or principal photography.
- Member of the art department who is in charge of swing gangs and/or set dressers and reports to the set
- Most productions use artificial lighting when filming for various technical and artistic reasons, either on location
or on a set. Lighting is designed by the director of photography in consultation with the director, and is the responsibility of the electrical department.
- A producer who is responsible for managing every person and issue during the making of a film. Line
producers only work on one film at a time.
- A person who manages various aspects of filming a movie on location, such as arranging with
authorities for permission to shoot in specific places. The Location Manager is not based on set and therefore has an Assistant Location Manager who represents the department and manages the departments interests on set where the Location Managers permission is not required or where elements of the Location Managers job has been delegated to the Assistant Location Manager to oversee.
Location Scout Lock it down Magic hour Majors -
- A person who looks for suitable locations for filming.
- A direction given by the assistant director for everyone on the set to be quiet, move out of frame and to
secure the set against anything or one interrupting the shot as it is happening. It is called just prior to speed. The phrase can also be used to securing a location for filming.
- The minutes just around sunset and sunrise, where light levels change drastically and quickly, lending a
warm orange glow to earlier shots, and a clearer blue in later minutes that allows a crew to shoot night scenes while light still remains.
The major Hollywood movie producer/distributor studios (MGM/UA, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner
Bros, Paramount Pictures, Universal, and Disney).
- (AKA: Mattematician) A person who creates artwork (usually for the background of a shot) that is
included in the movie either via a matte shot or optical printing.
- A style of acting formalized by Konstantin Stanislavsky who is believed by some to create more realistic
performances. Essentially, the theory requires actors to draw experiences from their own personal lives that correlate to the character they are playing - an extremely demanding process emotionally. In some cases, method actors take the theory even further by arranging events in their private lives to resemble the lives of their characters.
- Literally translated as whats put into the scene, this is the sum total of all factors affecting the artistic
look or feel of a shot or scene. These can include shot selection, shot composition, production design and set decoration, as well as technical camera properties such as shutter speed, aperture, frame rate and depth of field. Mise-enscene is often contrasted with montage, where the artistic look of a scene is constructed through visual editing.
- An artistic device for creating the artistic look or feel of a scene, through the use of visual editing. Often
contrasted with mise-en-scene.
Motion Picture Association of America
- (AKA: MPAA) The Motion Picture Association of America and its international
counterpart, the Motion Picture Association serve as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries, domestically through the MPAA and internationally through the MPA. Through the Classifications and Ratings Administration (CARA), the MPAA issues certificates.
- (AKA: Matchmove, Matchmoving, Camera Tracking) The use of computer programs to combine and
synthesize real footage with CGI effects. The person that makes the integration possible between CG with live action footage is called Matchmove artist, Matchmover, Integration artist or Camera tracking artist.
Music Supervisor NTSC
- (AKA: Musical Director, Musical Direction, Music Director, Music Direction) A person who
coordinates the work of the composer, the editorand sound mixers. Alternately, a person who researches obtains rights to and supplies songs for a production.
- The standard for TV/video display in the US and Canada, as set by the National Television Standards Committee,
which delivers 525 lines of resolution at 60 half-frames per second.
Optical Soundtrack Option
- A composite print in which the soundtrack is recorded via the varying width of a transparent track
that runs beside the sequence of frames on a print.
- (AKA: Optioning a Script) To buy the exclusive rights to a script, within a specified time at a set price, effectively
guaranteeing that during the indicated time period the writer will not share the idea with anyone else.
- The process of speeding the frame rate of a camera up, so that when the captured pictures are played at the
normal frame rate the action appears to be in slow motion. Historically, cameras were operated by turning a crank at a constant, required speed; hence overcranking refers to turning the crank too quickly.
- A camera shot over the first characters shoulder capturing the second character opposite them;
commonly used to show a conversation from the first characters perspective.
P&A Pan Pen
(Prints and advertising,) the major costs of film distribution.
- The action of rotating a camera about its vertical axis.
- To write, especially a script.
- (AKA: Picked up) Movies made by one studio that have been acquired by another. Alternately, any footage shot
after production wraps.
- A schedule of movie projects in production.
- Visual square-like digital break up that appears on the monitor when playing back a video from a digital
medium such as a miniDV or a Digibeta resulting from some sort of corruption of the video. Also, a variant of stopmotion animation where actors are the objects being filmed.
Point of View
- (AKA: POV) A camera angle in which the camera views what would be visible from a particular objects
- Work performed on a movie after the end of principal photography. Usually involves editing and visual
- Arrangements made before the start of filming. This can include script editing, set construction, location
scouting and casting.
- (AKA: Bow, Debut) The first official public screening of a movie, marking the opening. The affair is often a gala
event attended by the filmmakers, stars and other celebrities.
Principal Photography Print
- (AKA: Principal Filming, Principal) The filming of major or significant components of a movie
that involve lead actors.
- A projectable version of a movie, usually consisting of one or more reels. When referring to a particular take on a
continuity report, print indicates that the take should be developed.
- The chief of staff of a movie production in all matters save the creative efforts of the director, who is head of the
line. A producer is responsible for raising funding, hiring key personnel and arranging for distributors.
- (AKA: In Production, Production Date) In the movie industry, this term refers to the phase of movie making
during which principal photography occurs. Popularly, however, production means the entire movie project. See also pre-production and post-production.
Production Company Production Designer Prop
- A general term for a company that is associated with the making of a movie.
- An artist responsible for designing the overall visual appearance of a movie.
- Anything an actor touches or uses on the set; e.g. phones, guns, cutlery, etc. Movie animals and all food styling
(food seen or eaten on set/screen) also fall into this domain. See also property assistant and set dresser.
Property Master Quarter
- (AKA: Prop Master, Props, Property, Assistant Property Master) The person responsible for buying,
acquiring, and/or manufacturing any props needed for a production. The property master is responsible for all aspects of prop use on the set and, in conjunction with the script supervisor, for maintaining set continuity. Contrast with set dresser
- A quarter of a year; three months. Used by production accountants and publicity departments for financial
- A person who advises a production on railroad history, architecture, business practices, economics,
equipment, locations and strategies to attain maximum on-screen production/artistic values.
- A member of the sound crew responsible for mixing the final sound elements (dialogue, music,
sound effects and foley). In most feature films and some television shows there is a crew of three re-recording mixers (one for dialog, one for sound effects and foley and one for music). Sometimes in television the music mixer mixes the foley for expediency. There are also two-person crews in which the dialog mixer (generally considered the lead mixer) mixes music as well, with the other person mixing sound effects and foley.
- A strip of film wound on a metal wheel. Typical reels hold 15-25 minutes of film.
Reverse Shot Rigger
- (AKA: Reverse Angle, Hollywood Reverse) A shot taken at a 120-180 degree angle from the preceding shot.
When used in dialogue scenes, reverse-shot editing usually alternates between over-the-shoulder shots that show each character speaking.
- Workers responsible for the setting, hanging and focusing of lighting instruments and constructing scaffolding
used in making film sets.
Rotoscoping Scenic Artist
- (AKA: Rotoscope) An animation technique in which images of live action are traced, either manually or
- A member of the crew responsible for work which includes the preparation, painting and/or coloration of all
textures, plastering, appliqueing on scenery, sets and properties; the application of all decorative wall or surface coverings; all lettering and sign work (including signs and murals; miniature sets and/or models and properties and the painting and aging in the (construction) studio or on the set of costumes and costume accessories as specified by the costume designer.
- The musical component of a movies soundtrack. Composers write many scores specifically for movies.
Screen Test Seamstress
- A form of audition in which an actor performs a particular role on camera, not necessarily with the correct
makeup or on the set.
- A person who makes the costumes.
Second Unit Serial
- A small, subordinate crew responsible for filming shots of less importance, such as inserts, crowds, scenery,
- A multipart film that usually screened a chapter each week at a cinema. The story structure usually has each chapter
ending with a cliffhanger to ensure the audience would like to watch following chapter at its release.
Set Designer Set Dresser
- The person responsible for translating a production designers vision of the movies environment into a set
that can be used for filming. The set designer reports to the art director.
- A person who maintains the set per the Set Decorators requirements, placing elements such as curtains and
paintings, and moves and resets the set decoration to accommodate camera, grip and lighting setups.
Shooting Script Shot list
- The script from which a movie is made. Usually contains numbered scenes and technical notes.
- The arrangement of key elements within the frame.
- A list given to the film production crew, which indicates the sequence of scenes being shot for the day. This list
may include the scene number, the location of where the scene is being shot, a description of the scene, the length of a scene (listed by number of pages from the script), a list of actors who will be involved in the scene and, special notes to all departments of what will be needed or required for a particular scene being shot.
Shutter Speed Silk
- The length of time that a single frame is exposed for. Slower shutter speeds allow more light to enter the
camera, but allow more motion blur.
- A large section of translucent white cloth used to filter and soften a hard-light source.
- The recorded identification of scene and take numbers, usually done with a clapboard. Most takes are identified at
the beginning; a tail slate marks the end instead. Also used in an audition, to identify an actors name, representation (if any) and the scene they will be performing in the audition.
Swing Gang Syndication
- Set dressers who dress and strike sets, as well as pick up and return the dressing. They work apart from the
shooting crew, as they are always either prepping a set for shooting or striking it after its been shot.
- A package of off network programs sold or bartered to individual television stations in a local market, either
strip (daily) or weekly episodic (series). A package of titles may require cash purchase, bartered or sponsored programming. Most packaged syndicated contracts offer exclusivity to a market for limited number of airings. Contracts are generally designed for one to two full season runs.
- A summary of the major plot points and characters of a script, generally in a page or two.
- A single continuous recorded performance of a scene. A director typically orders takes to continue until he or she is
satisfied that all of his or her requirements for the scene have been made, be they technical or artistic. A continuity report stores the status of each take. Of the ones that dont contain obvious errors, the director will order some to be printed.
- A general, informal term for actors (and possibly extras).
- (AKA: Consultant) A person with expertise in a particular field who provides advice for the
- The process of transferring moving images from film to a video signal, including frame rate and color
corrections. Also the equipment or facility used to do it.
- A script written to be produced for television.
- A writer who either adapts an existing work for production on television, or creates a new teleplay.
- A cross between a steadicam and a louma crane, used to steady images of running horses or cars driving over
- The action of rotating the camera either up or down.
- Electronic guide track added to film, video or audio material to provide a time reference for editing,
Title Design Titleist
- The process during which the titleist designs how title of a movie is displayed on screen.
- The person who designs how a films title appears on the screen. The manner in which title of a movie is displayed
on screen is widely considered an art form.
- To star in a motion picture; this can sometimes include the placement of a performers name before the title on the
credits and promotional items.
- A single component or channel of a soundtrack.
- (AKA: Tracking, Trucking) The action of moving a camera along a path parallel to the path of the object
- The process of slowing the frame rate of a camera down, so that when the captured pictures are played at
the normal frame rate the action appears to be in fast motion. Historically, cameras were operated by turning a crank at a constant speed; hence undercranking refers to turning the crank too slowly.
Unit Production Manager
- (AKA: Unit Manager, UPM) An executive who is responsible to a senior producer for the
administration of a particular movie. Unit Production Managers only work on one film at a time. Only DGA members can be called Unit Production Managers.
- Member of the publicity department who works on location during the production of a movie. Duties
includes working with the residents of the location where the film is being made, as well as setting up press visits and electronic press kit interviews. In addition, the unit publicist assembles the biographical materials and notes about the making of the movie that are later turned into the movie press kit. Unit publicists are itinerant they move from production to production and are on the production payroll. They report to the filmmakers and, if the film has a releasing studio, they also report to the publicity directors. Once principal photography is over, the unit publicist moves on to another job.
Utility Person Vertigo effect
- The person responsible for various manual tasks, running errands or performing whatever jobs other
members of their crew assign them.
- A camera technique created by Alfred Hitchcock during his film Vertigo that involves tracking backwards
while simultaneously zooming in, making the person or object in the center of the image seem stationary while their surroundings change.
Visual Effects Rigger Voice-Over Walk-On Walla
- The person that prepares the miniature models, creature puppets or whatever the camera subject is,
to perform whatever the object is supposed to do during the shot.
- Indicates that dialogue will be heard on a movies soundtrack, but the speaker will not be shown. The
abbreviation is often used as an annotation in a script.
- A minor role, usually without speaking lines.
- (AKA: Rhubarb) Background conversation. Historically, when a script called for crowd unrest or murmuring,
the extras would be required to mumble the word rhubarb, as this produced the required effect.
Wardrobe Department Whip Pan
- The section of a productions crew concerned with costumes. Individual job titles include: costume
designer, costumer and costume supervisor.
- An extremely fast pan, incorporating much motion blur . The term refers to the whipping action that the
camera operator uses to move the camera.
- A movie that has an aspect ratio greater than academy ratio when projected.
Wild Sound Wipe
- (AKA: Wild Track, Wild Sound, MOS, Mit Out Sound) Scenes that are filmed without the sound being
recorded at the same time. Dialog and/or sound effects may be dubbed in later.
- An editing technique in which images from one shot are fully replaced by the images of another, delimited by a
definite border that moves across or around the frame.
Working Title Xerography Zoom Shot
- The name by which a movie is known while it is being made. This is sometimes different from the title with
which it is released.
- The technique using an electrostatic process to copy or transfer an image, commonly found in office copiers
and used in cartoon production.
- (AKA: Zoom, Zoom In, Zooming, Zoom Back, Zoom Out) A shot in which the magnification of the objects
by the cameras lenses is increased (zoom in) or decreased (zoom out/back). There is a subtle difference between the results of a zoom shot and a dolly shot. In a zoom, the relative positions and sizes of all objects in the frame remains the same, whereas in a dolly shot this will change as the camera moves. Alfred Hitchcocks much-imitated shot in Vertigo used a combination zoom in and dolly back, resulting in a dramatic change in perspective.
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