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Securing Land for a set

Hey,

I'm currently working on Pre-production for a WW1 Period film.

My biggest hurdle, after securing financing (which in its self is a whole other topic) is securing the land for the set.

The set is a Front line trench, which I would like to dig into the ground. Now where I want to shoot, there is no shortage of fields but most are used for crops or for pasture trying to secure the use of one of them would be difficult to impossible.

Does anyone have any advice on how to secure land to use in a short film?
 
What's the production budget for this short film?
About how much do you want to budget just for this one location?
And how were you planning on digging then restoring the X meter long trench?
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Ray is pointing you in the right direction. The land owner will want
to know how much you are willing to pay, how long you will need
the location and that you will restore the land to its original condition.

You're right; it's going to be difficult. In many cases it will be impossible.
But if you don't ask you cannot secure the use of the location. In order
to secure financing you need to know how much land owners will charge
you so I suggest you ask.

So far how many land owners have you asked?
 
I doubt farmers are going to let you did a trench below their topsoil without getting into the tens of thousands of dollars. Price an excavator and operator lately? Who is to say the trench won't fill up with water after digging?

Good luck.
 
I have talked with a few land owners in the area. I actually got in touch with an old acquaintance of mine and he is going to talk to his dad who owns lots of land but for no real use to see if I can shoot there.

I have friends who are Heavy Equipment Operators. And I'm going to have to rent the excavating equipment.

The land in question is above the water level so ground water filling in the trench is unlikely. My biggest threat would be rain water, but I believe a combination of Tarps would work to keep most of the water out, but it is a WW1 period film so some water wouldn't be an issue in terms of authenticity ha.

I am really hoping that I can get in touch with the land owner, who I have known through the acquaintance for some time.
 
How long will the WWII trench need to be?

Nice grassed over gently used trench or a nasty muddy trench?
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
My biggest threat would be rain water, but I believe a combination of Tarps would work to keep most of the water out, but it is a WW1 period film so some water wouldn't be an issue in terms of authenticity.

I'm sure that you've been doing your research, but most trenches were muddy hell holes most of the year which made "trench foot" a very serious problem.

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It's going to be about 20 or so meters. I'm still working on the design of the trench. It won't all Benin a straight line as the real trenches zig zagged. Usually never more the. 10 or so yards in a straight line.

I have done my research, during some half the year the trenches where muddy water logged messes but there where points where the trenches where dry. It also depended on where it was. In Flanders they where more likely to be muddy holes but further in France it was more dry ground.

I've almost had trench foot a few times ha, even with a change of socks. But hey when you can't dry out your boots and you are stuck in the rain for days a ha go army go
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I have talked with a few land owners in the area. I actually got in touch with an old acquaintance of mine and he is going to talk to his dad who owns lots of land but for no real use to see if I can shoot there.
That's a great way to secure land for your film. Glad it's working out for
you!
 
I am trying to get quotes for cost of an excavator to dig the set. Which is more difficult then I thought it was going to be. Well I am just hoping to hear back from the land owner to confirm that I can use his property and that I can build the set.
 
You really need to design the shots. Id story board every one. Here is why..

Your fixating on making a trench.. but if you can step back and realize it only has to LOOK like a trench and then it only has too look like a trench from certain angles then new construction possibilities will open up.

Look at your photos. In all those shots I only see a few feet of trench then a turn. With a short L you can probably get all the shots and angles you need.

Other things to help.. A wall of fake sandbags mounted to a piece of plywood. Plop in the trench for some wide shots.. pull it out stand it up on open ground to shoot closeups in a much better shooting environment. This also gives you TWO trenches for the price of one. One trench lined with sand bags, the other not. Do this a few times an you can have many different looks in that same expensive hole.

Heck you could build the whole construction above ground using this technique. The benefit would be you have movable walls, which make getting some awesome shots MUCH more likely.

Probably a mix of the two.. a short length of trench for "going up and over" and "diving into" type shots. But the rest of the shots using the above ground set\construction.
 
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I've rented & worked with heavy equipment enough to know that an excavator is expensive overkill for what you need.
A mid to full sized backhoe should be fine.
I hope the ground isn't full of large rocks and old roots. Ha!

You're good with spending a couple thousand for a short that likely won't go anywhere or do anything right?
It's your money, spend it any way you want, just making sure you're cognizant of input vs. output.
 
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