Thursday, January 24, 2013

Open Arms: Three Basic Tips to Welcome Production Crews

Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s most production friendly locations, and here’s some tips from Rachel Zerowin of GoBreck on how to welcome and work with incoming film and photo shoots. See why they’ve been so successful in bringing film to Colorado.
by Rachel Zerowin, GoBreck.
We all know that film, video and photos tell stories. When a crew wants to help tell your community’s story, it can be valuable to welcome them with open arms. Of course, permitting processes vary, but no matter the community’s structure or size, considering a few basics can help open the door to productions.
Recognize (and reward) public relations value
Some productions seek nondescript backgrounds that can’t be placed in a specific town. When productions want to identify and show off your signature shots – the locations you use to sell your community – the result is often public relations (PR) value. Say thanks by waiving permitting fees.
Travel programs can show major and obvious PR value but with the wealth of resources in the state, Colorado communities can (and should) think beyond that. A field test of cycling gear can show off mountain bike trails or a commuter cycling network; and a reality TV show on home purchasing may reveal perks of visiting the community. Whatever the focus of the program, be open to how it can share your community’s story, and be willing to give accordingly.
Be a resource
From permitting and parking to knowing the best overlook and which coffee shops open before 6:00 a.m., it’s the little details that can be difficult to wrangle. Even if you don’t have all the answers to every question – and you won’t – assign someone to wrangle. That person should work closely with those who issue permits, and have a connection with, or be willing to contact, local businesses. Additionally, this person can serve as the on-site contact for any on-the-spot questions or requests.
In Breckenridge, crews typically work through town permitting, ski area permitting and permission for private property. Many handle these steps on their own, but some seek our assistance here at the GoBreck office. Beyond sending crews to the appropriate permitting offices, we make ourselves available to be involved as much or as little as requested.
This varies from providing an on-site host, to setting up activities for cast members (often at no charge based on PR value), connecting producers with private property owners, or simply suggesting shoot/b-roll locations.
Be flexible
As crews communicate needs through the permitting process, be flexible and communicate any changes in normal procedures. For example, police/parking would probably be made aware if you issued a longer-term parking permit, but you may also want to notify impacted businesses or the public works department. Consider internal fact sheets so that crews with special permissions aren’t bothered. For those that want a crowd, use your in-town resource to inform businesses, rally crowds and contact media as appropriate.
In addition to fulfilling basic operational requests, be willing to make (or consider) changes for outdoor lighting, schedule demands, street closures, and close-in permitting requests. (Remember the first tip?) We’ve secured lifts, moved event locations/times and worked with activity outfitters to offer special trips. Yes, there will be limitations. But be flexible and be prepared with second and third choices
Rachel Zerowin is the public relations manager for GoBreck, the destination marketing organization for the Town of Breckenridge. GoBreck works closely with the town and the ski resort to assist productions interested in shooting in Breckenridge. The community has hosted everything from movies and catalogue shoots to ski films and reality television programs. For more information on film and video permitting in Breckenridge, visit the Town of Breckenridge website or the Shoot Colorado location guide to Breckenridge. To get a taste of the town’s character, check out the BreckConnection blog.
Photos from the production of “After the Catch” – a followup to “The Deadliest Catch,” shot this summer in Breckenridge.
Credit Daniel Dunn
After the Catch, the Deadliest Catch recap show that relives the last crab fishing season, was shot in Breckenridge in summer 2012. In addition to fulfilling basic operational needs, the town and the ski area hosted a sampling of town’s signature activities and events, including the annual Outhouse Races.

Credit Ian Leirfallom. Captains from the Deadliest Catch participate in Breckenridge activities as part of shooting for After the Catch.
Credit Daniel Dunn
When After the Catch shot in Breckenridge in summer 2012, GoBreck assisted with rallying crowds for the Main Street shoot.