Need an Authentic-Looking Movie Premiere for a Scene in Your Indie Film? Crash a Real One
When you're a filmmaker with no money, and you need a location for a scene, there's a good chance you're going to be stealing some shots without permits. That's exactly what filmmaker Chris Schwab and his team did when they needed a movie premiere for a scene in his micro-budget film Look Closer. When you live in the LA area, there are countless premieres every week, so what could be more realistic than sneaking your actor into a real one and getting the shots you need? Don't try this at home (or do if you're aware of the consequences).
Here's the BTS video showing what they did for the scene:
The Director of Photography, Brian C. Weed, tweeted some more details about the film (thanks to Matt Jeppsen of FreshDV for retweeting this):
@mjeppsen ha! yeah, it was... but we had to get the scene :) the whole movie had stolen locations all over the place, never got shut down— Brian C. Weed (@BrianCWeed) January 10, 2014
I think the solution was pretty genius, and while I know there are probably a number of you out there who hate this sort of thing, as long as people's lives aren't in danger, and you aren't calling attention to yourself, most of the time it can work out. When your budget is low, and you want to give your film a bigger look, stealing locations is sometimes the only way. I've stolen countless locations for my films, and plan on stealing many more, so you can probably guess which side of the fence I'm on.
The best advice I could give for stealing locations is to move as quickly as possible, act like you belong there, and if you get caught, be polite, play dumb, and move along. There are different rules for all sorts of areas, public and private, so check with your local government to see when permits are necessary -- as you may very well live in a place that doesn't really require them depending on what you're doing or how you're shooting. For example, New York City generally allows handheld-only filmmaking in public places without permits with a small crew (LA, on the other hand, is a different story). Many private businesses in smaller towns and cities are very welcoming, so it can't hurt to ask for permission if you're trying to do anything that requires more gear.
Check out the trailer for the film, as well as more BTS videos showing the guerilla nature of the production:
The movie is currently playing the festival circuit, and you can read more about it over on their website.