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September 16, 2007 at 12:43 am #524begreeneMember
Hi! I am preparing to produce a feature film in Antarctica. We are managing the technical challenges, but there are some major practical issues that remain to be worked out. So, I thought you guys might be able to help. The co-director/producer and I are applying for the NSF artist and writers program in June‘08. If we get the grant, we will likely be traveling to Antarctica to shoot at and around McMurdo and South Stations for a three or four month period in the austral summer of ’09. I am curious about a few things that could influence our planning. One is the availability of residents at these stations to participate for financial compensation. A critical issue for the current version of the film is whether we can find people who would be interested in playing small parts, requiring around a day a week for a couple months. As it stands, we would need 6 people, but we may be able to get by with less. Is this feasible, considering work schedules, etc.? If so, what would be the most effective way to contact candidates? Another thing is the availability of a research lab to shoot a couple scenes. It is important to note that the production does not involve intensive lighting and obtrusive camera mounting devices. We have a good super 16 mm camera (the same one used to shoot “March of the Penguins”), but that will be all, along with a tripod and natural lighting. A third issue is whether we would have access to ice core sites near McMurdo or South. If you can let me know your opinions on the feasibility of some of these things, it would be extremely helpful to us in the planning process. Thanks!!!September 16, 2007 at 2:24 am #4983MightyAtlasModerator
You’re barking up the wrong tree. We (the common folk of McMurdo) would have to have permission from the NSF before participating in your project. And if you film during the regular workday, we’d have to have permission from RPSC, as well.
And if you want to travel around to the different stations, or field camps, then you sure as hell have to have the permission of the NSF. Unfortunately, you can’t just hop-on a helo, or LC-130.
Everything, and I mean everything, has to be spelled-out in your proposal, and any deviance once you’re on the ice has to be approved by the local NSF Rep.
While we may be a small town, it’s not ‘Small Town, America’. Things work differently down here, and safety is everyone’s primary concern. Tight controls are in-place for a reason. You won’t be given free-rein to do whatever you want, or go wherever you want to go.
Get your proposal approved first, then work within those constraints.
aSeptember 16, 2007 at 3:35 am #4984
There is a small research lab. You might get access to a drill site. It all depends what you put in your request and what gets approved. You will need write a really good grant proposal and cover everything you want to do. I doubt you would get approval to have people regularly miss work to be in your movie, especially 6 people at a time. Best to bring the 6 people with you or use your crew as standins. More likely if you were to schedule the shoots on a Sunday or after work in the evenings, you might get some interest, especially if the NSF approves people leaving the station. McMurdoites generally don’t get opportunities to leave the McMurdo proper area and will jump at the opportunity if it has been approved. I suppose it legal to pay them, but I would imagine you would have plenty of takers. You would not have an opportunity to interview prior to coming down as the PQ process generally means nobody knows for certain who will be here until close to the deployment dates.
If you are scheduling a shoot for any specific day like Sundays, be forewarned that the weather probably isn’t going to cooperate very well. In the normal world you would wait for the weather and lighting to be what you want and move your shoot time up or back. . Here everyone has a job, nobody will be flexible enough to drop what they are doing and go with you. . You may end up with half the scene in blowing snow and half with bright sunlight. It will present some technical challeges
Another hint. Don’t come down with one camera. It can break and you won’t have an opportunity to fly another in very easy. Also read up on problems with film and cold temperatures. Some films get brittle and break easy if the temps go below 30 or 40 below zero. If you are hear at the end of the summer that might not happen, if you are here at winfly, it could easily happen.September 16, 2007 at 10:48 pm #4985begreeneMember
Thanks for your comments. Thepooles98, I am curious about the small research station you mentioned. Do you know what it is called? Are there many surrounding buildings? Is the interior cramped or open? Further, could you give me an idea of a time frame people might be comfortable with after work, owing we are granted top-down approval (e.g. 8pm – 11pm)? Thanks.September 17, 2007 at 5:21 am #4986
The name of the place is Crary Lab. Do a google search and you ‘ll find all the info you want. In the summer the lab is used extensively by the science groups. Some would be happy to help you, some not. If you write it up in your grant proposal, NSF may require people to give access. Bodies and volunteers are different. You’ll just have to either bring them down or hope for the best.
Last summer we had the blue balls art project. We had scores of volunteers to help with that one. I would guess if you are sociable and don’t make enemies, then people would help you out.
Werner Herzog came down last year to make a movie. For the most part, before he filmed anyone, he went around and asked if it was ok. I never heard anyone complain. Other film crew walk in and start ordering you around.They get their shots but they make enemies fast.September 17, 2007 at 8:11 am #4987MightyAtlasModerator
I still feel violated…September 17, 2007 at 10:05 pm #4988Been_ThereMember
Based on the questions being asked someone has lots of homework to do before they even consider applying to NSF/OPP. Begreene you have a long way to go before NSF would consider selecting your project. I believe there were over 70 applications this time around and only five or six get selected. While the folks that generally post to this site are very knowledgable about the program, most of them anyway, you really need to be having some discussions with the program manager at NSF/OPP. Additionally go to the USAP web site and start reading.
Been_ThereSeptember 18, 2007 at 5:50 am #4989willKeymaster
I never touched you.
Or is that your complaint?
GenevieveSeptember 21, 2007 at 12:17 pm #4990
Try this link for artist and writers info
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