From: Brook Hinton (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Aug 02 2007 - 17:31:17 PDT
Jim, I think you fail to understand that while some of us do some of our
work solo, there is an enormous amount of important documentary and
experimental work and also some small scale avant-garde narrative work that
involves more than a single person holding a camera and which becomes
economically and practically impossible to practice under the new laws.
Everything that involves more than one person for more than 30 minutes that
isn't commercial enough to afford the insurance and, more significantly,
isn't premeditated and staged enough to allow for predicting exactly where
and how filming will take place, is erased. That is huge. No, 30 minutes is
not enough time, and yes, having to dictate exactly where you will film in
advance erases a giant part of the canvas for many artists. As far as the
political aspect, there is a long tradition of "indie news crews" failing to
be recognized as such by the police and harassed, even having equipment (and
sometimes body parts) attacked or destroyed. And "news crews" are hardly
enough in a citizen democracy - the ad hoc citizen filming and documentation
of events and police actions and other public occurrences, which often BY
DEFINITION involve more than one person in one place being involved, is an
important cornerstone of protecting people's rights and exposing truth.
Surely you recognize the immense range of noncommercial and alternative
media production that, even if exempted from the insurance requirements,
isn't possible to implement in the type of controlled circumstances
necessary for permits. And just a data point, even solo photographers and
filmmakers sometimes need to work with an assistant for practical or
security reasons when doing work in public.
While this may seem like a great deal compared to LA, LA is NOTHING like the
rest of the country. This is not even remotely a "better deal" than anywhere
else. It is a better deal than LA has, and probably better than a small
handful of places with similar rules, but I have filmed in many US cities
and towns and none of them have restrictions even close to those of LA or
those proposed for New York.
While its true the law might provide me with a little more protection when
I'm doing a solo time-lapse of people leaving a subway stop, it hands
everything between that and a 7 figure "indie film" to commercial production
companies doing work that fits the permitting and insurance restrictions.
In a democracy, that matters.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.