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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.