Filmmaking / Directing : IAnyone have a resource or knowledge on setting up an outdoor street scene in Manhattan,NYC by Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

IAnyone have a resource or knowledge on setting up an outdoor street scene in Manhattan,NYC

I ask this because I am the screenwriter. first time director and executive producer. The challenge is it is a demonstration scene on a major Upper East Side crosstown street.. with Police in riot gear, News Vans, and 200 demonstrators, lead by Bag pipers and drummers. It is the climax of the film. Perhaps some resources to CGI it? Any help is appreciated.

Elvira Drake

I've always wondered the same thing. You'll probably have to get a permit from the city. I remember hearing Louis CK talking on the radio about a scene in his show set in the streets of NYC. It's a HUGE hassle but if done, a big accomplishment. I remember seeing the scene, which took place at an intersection where a walker gets hit by a trash pickup truck and he's decapitated. His head rolls down the street. And apparently, the dummy head cost thousands of dollars!! I think he said THAT was the most expensive thing about the shoot. (I wonder if that includes the permit?) So, as for costs of a permit like that? No clue. Interested in hearing answers.

Elvira Drake

I may have misunderstood your question... you're asking more about the masses of people?

JD Hartman

Really sounds like you need to expand your team as you will be getting into more and more areas whee you need knowledgeable and experienced people. Might be a good start to just wear the Producer hat and not Producer/Director.

JD Hartman

Permits aren't that prohibitively expensive. $300 for the duration of your shoot. http://www1.nyc.gov/site/mome/permits/when-permit-required.page That is, if you shoot continuously without a break. That means no Fri, Sat, Sun, break while people return to day jobs, pickup again Friday afternoon/evening.

Elvira Drake

From the link provided, it seems you would be applying for the REQUIRED permit, since your scene will include riot cops and vans.

Jorge J Prieto

These is hard, Steven. A weekend, really early shoot is probably mandatory, street closings, 200 extras?? Huge endeavor for first time Director. Kudos to you for your courage. JD gave you really good advice and link. Good luck. HOPE never quits.

JD Hartman

Yeah a Sunday morning shoot. You'll be wanting to find an extras casting agency as well. Unless your film has some named talent as a draw or the scene is a fun one, expect to have to pay the extras or they won't show up in the numbers you need. IMHO this discussion seems a little premature since you don't have your above the line team in place. What are they demonstrating against? If someone is giving a speech at a rally, maybe a park setting would be easier to control, however use of a park requires another level of approvals.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Thank you for all you help my fellow "Happy Writers". Special shot out for JD providing the link. Jorge HOPE is not only part of the title of the film, but a big part of my life. With all things considered I might want to explore a CGI set-up. Although to make it look real and seamless, I think it would be much, much more dinero. The problem is that this is the major climax scene in the movie I can't cut it. But, at 63 years old and being a native New Yorker I will find a way. Thank you all. I think that is one of the reasons why WOODY finally booked and started to shoot in European cities. I mean the Woodman has literally shot every street inn Manhattan. Hope I can too. But it is going to be a challenge.

JD Hartman

Even a CGI crowd scene requires live actors for at the very least, the foreground. Less can look like more by by packing the crowd into a smaller area, where they people seem to stretch off into the distance, yet the distance can't be seen clearly. I'm guessing you don't have the budget to create anything like the closing funeral scene on the streets of Chicago in the movie Backdraft, so you need to be creative and willing to compromise. If you observe a line of people waiting to get into a restaurant and it stretches to the corner, your mind concludes that it stretches around the corner although you can't see them....right?

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Right, This is a challenge. But I am confident enough in my own determination to get it done. And with the talents and help of other Stage 32 members I am sure I will find a way to get it done, make it look real, and find a way to cost it out with the limited resources that I have. I just have to be patience(a virtue I am told).

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