Cracking China: Some quick tips for filming in China

April 1, 2006

Make friends with someone who has covered your topic before, says Lewis. If they’ve had to obtain permissions in the past, they should be able to help you.

Keep the number of staff you send to China to a minimum.

A producer, director and possibly cameraman should do it. Set designers, location managers, etc. can be found there.

Rent equipment in China, says Kersken. That way, you can kiss customs problems, forms and the cost of excess luggage goodbye.

Deal with problems in person when possible. Faxes and phone calls can’t replace face time.

Try and force decisions to be made quickly. Take the time to get friendly first.

Overlook Chinese scientists. Use reputable ones, it may help open other doors for contacts.

Assume people don’t speak or understand English. ‘Sometimes I didn’t know people’s level of English, then later on I’d find out it’s pretty damn good,’ says Lewis.

Stray from your shopping list of shots. If you don’t need to take shots of beggars or the military that will upset the Chinese in their present stage of development, then don’t do it.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.