Travel tips

Take any medicine that you might need. They are often hard to get on location especially in countries where medicine is "Socialized". Request that others take things that they may need so that they don't deplete your own stores. Even vitamin C can be hard to get.

Pack things that can leak under the reduced pressure of baggage compartments in plastic bags to reduce leakage into clothing.

Eating little and drinking lots of water seems to help prevent Jet Lag. I think that "No Jet Lag" from New Zealand works.

Carrying the bare minimum leaves room for purchases, but don't neglect rain and cold protection or shoes to stand around in the rain. A hat, umbrella.

Power adapters are useful that you can buy and take, but there are some that you will never find at home. They are the ones that switch the power on as they are inserted.

The outlet in the bathroom for shavers only put out a few watts. I changed my computer and 8 mm camcorder batteries with them. They would never charge film camera batteries. Some hotels have larger transformers, but don't rely on it.

It is wise to carry tissues as many places do not provide them.

You might consider duty free booze and cigarettes as gifts even if you have no use for them yourself.

I used to carry Spectra light meters to sell at cost to very grateful local crewmembers. If you are talking to any of the crews in advance you might ask if there are small things that you can bring them from the States in your baggage.

Maps are always hard to get. I have found that locals often don't know their way around and get lost. If you are good with maps, get them. Many locals don't know how to get good maps. Most tourist maps are useless.

About Film and Customs

There are many different rules about film exposed and not exposed. Some countries don't want porn film to come in or be shot. Some it's just a matter of taxes. Other places want what comes in to go back out. Local people can help you get by rules that you may not be able to handle yourself.

You should consider two Carnets if you have to split the equipment along the way. If you want to leave something or ship it home, you would be able. We took the precaution of getting a carnet on a camera package that was ready to ship if we had a problem and had stuff tied up somewhere.

Local crews.

I have found that local grips, AC's and gaffers to understand the biz better than wardrobe and prop people. On the set you can do it yourself if it comes down to that, but you are in trouble if the props and wardrobe are all wrong. If you do things yourself, do it graciously to not embarrass the people that you are not communicating well with. Show them how do it your way. Tell them when it's going well. Tell them that you are getting what you want, even if it is a struggle.

I have had problems with people who lacked experience in film as crews. It happens when the local production company was spread too thin with other shoots. Many companies have a good staff one crew deep. If they have other things going, be careful and ask a lot of questions. You may not be a regular customer and they may not worry about your repeat business.

Be prepared when things don't go according to plan to make do with what you have. Getting bent out of shape doesn't help. Most problems are a communication problem. You should assume that people are trying their best to please you. Only after you are sure that they are flaky, get mad. In the Far East saving face is very important and it will accomplish little blaming anyone. It costs nothing to take the blame for not making your self clear.

Local holidays can shut things down, but with a small crew you may be able to shoot things that would be difficult on a regular day. Crews often get premium rates on holidays.

It seems that all the bast weather happens during scouting. Be prepared for rain or overcast. Have things that can be changed to a rain shot. Get the wide stuff when you can. You can cover or light a lot of tight shots. Be prepared to get the wide stuff maybe even before the regular schedule starts. Forecasts can be quite inaccurate.

There seems to be a worldwide tendency by people who don't understand to not admit that they do not understand and do what they think they heard. Asking for some one to repeat what you said can help.(Nicely) Asking is questioning their ability to use your language, but very often things are not understood.


A cycle meter to check generator frequency for HMI's.

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