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"credentialed news media"

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Bob Cole"credentialed news media"
by on Mar 30, 2008 at 1:05:41 am

A thread in this forum about travel sent me looking at an airline website, where I discovered that for "a representative of a network or local television broadcasting company or a commercial filmmaking company," the airline imposes no weight/size limits on checked luggage.

Even better, "credentialed news media" receive special treatment for their outsized carry-on camera cases and preboarding.

How can I get "credentialed?"

As a freelancer, I shoot video for a variety of clients (cable and broadcast tv, tv commercials, Internet video, corporate communications, and sometimes my own projects).

Sometimes I get "credentials" at the site of a shoot, but I don't have a "press pass" in my wallet. It seems a little silly to be looking for a piece of paper; I feel a bit like the Scarecrow from Oz, wanting a diploma to certify that he has a brain. But that piece of paper could be very valuable. Do any of my fellow freelancers have the solution?

Thanks!

Bob C



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Steve WargoRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Mar 30, 2008 at 4:00:42 am

I think that Adobe illustrator or Photoshop should be where you should start. When I worked for ESPN, I never actually worked for ESPN but the production company that produced the Speedworld Off-Road series. We made our own Press Pass Badges. Our second client was TNN, the Nashville network.

Our badges had Arrow Productions across the top, then a mugshot, name and the title Internatinal Photo Journalist, and below that were the TNN and ESPN logos in full color. I even put a barcode across mine at the bottom. If someone questioned our status, I asked them to scan the barcode. When they said that they didn't have a scanner, I asked when they were going to move up in the world so that we didn't have to go through the same BS time after time. Of course, no one had a scanner back then but they didn't know that. The badge had a pocket on the back that could hold an actual pass when we were issued one.

Remember Bob, in our line of work "It doesn't have to be. It just has to look like it is."

By the way, which airline was this? I know that we're always allowed to pre-board but I hadn't heard of the other allowances.





Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

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Todd TerryRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Mar 30, 2008 at 6:23:14 am

I must admit that I've pulled a similar stunt as Steve.

Many years ago in a previous life, I worked in broadcast television. As a behind-the-scenes guy now, many people are surprised when they learn of my newscaster background... but for more than quite a few years I was an on-air correspondent for an NBC affiliate.

Credentials? What credentials? Even though my mug was on the boob tube every night at 6 and 10 at the number one station in a decent-sized market (and occasionaly on NBC Nightly or CNN, etc.), the closest thing I had to "credentials" were business cards. We simply didn't have them (and I was not aware of anyone at the competing stations in the market having real credentials either).

Well (and I'm about to tell on myself here regarding some slightly questionable ethics), one time my girlfriend, my buddy, and I planned to go to a major theme park in another state... one that had a fairly high admission price but one that also let media in free. Now, this was a bit before the Photoshop or computer graphics days, but my girlfriend happened to be a graphic artist... and after a little bit of effort on her part we found ourselves suddenly "legit" with nice looking laminated credentials complete with station logo, mug shot, bar code, even a magnetic strip on the back. The somewhat unethical part (ok, more than somewhat, but I was younger) was that I was the only one who was an actual employee... but suddenly she was the "Art Director" and my buddy was the "Stage Manager." Hey, we bought enough of their overpriced concessions to more than make up for it.

I'd say, yes, make your own. Don't lie about who you are or who you work for... but it still can look perfectly legit.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Steve WargoMy BIG SECRET
by on Mar 31, 2008 at 12:38:04 am

I have a friend that owns a store called Spy Headquarters.

Click here: http://www.spyhq.com/novelty.php?protyp=ID+Cards&offset=5

Don't tell anyone else about this.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Rick DolishnyRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 1:57:39 am

That's how they shot that awesome scene in the doc I think it was called "Finding Michael Moore" where they printed business cards at Kinkos to get access.

Happens quite a bit.

---
Rick Dolishny
Discrete Editors COW Leader
http://www.thecreativeprocess.ca


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Bob ColeRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 3:09:17 am

[Rick Dolishny] "That's how they shot that awesome scene in the doc I think it was called "Finding Michael Moore" where they printed business cards at Kinkos to get access."

didn't see it -- could you explain?

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Rick DolishnyRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 5:50:04 pm

I can't believe I can't find it. Sorry, everyone. It was the darling of Hot Docs in Toronto last year. Basically a camera crew tracked down Michael Moore and used the exact same interrogation and stalking style he uses.

They wanted to challenges a few facts from past MM films.

Anyone who hates MM would probably love it.

In a pivotal scene where MM instructs his security staff to not allow these particular filmmakers into a press conference, they created fake IDs at Kinkos and snuck in, cameras rolling, and ambushed him publicly.

---
Rick Dolishny
Discrete Editors COW Leader
http://www.thecreativeprocess.ca


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Rick DolishnyRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 5:54:42 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I think that Adobe illustrator or Photoshop should be where you should start."

Steve I have a whole new respect for you now. That and the 'where's the remote truck' story below are awesome. My hero.

---
Rick Dolishny
Discrete Editors COW Leader
http://www.thecreativeprocess.ca


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Arnie SchlisselRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Mar 30, 2008 at 10:26:37 pm

Throughout most of the 1990s, I was the proud holder of a NYC press card. The card was issued by the NYPD. Check with your local PD and find out if they issue press credentials, and if so, how do you apply & qualify. Also, if you regularly (or even occasionally) contribute to a local news paper or program, ask your editor if they can help you get a press card.

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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Rennie KlymykRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Mar 31, 2008 at 4:45:27 am

Keep in mind for airlines and spot news on the street situations these Network/company id's may work fine but many 1 of a kind gigs like rock concerts and international sporting events etc. issue their own credentials specific to the event. They are often color coded to permit different levels of access. Show up with anything other than official credentials and you will be directed to the media office for clarification. Using counterfeit press passes at some of these large events could probably get you a free room for the night with the security thing being what it is these days.

I remember listening to a radio interview with a survivor of a terrorist assassination wherein a video camera packed with explosives was used to do the dirty deed. An interview had been set up with the 2 officials who met with the camera crew outside and they all walked upstairs to the designated room together. Once inside the terrorists said something which let their victims know what was happening moments before they detonated, killing one and maiming the other. Sometimes the right thing to do is wait your turn and pay the price, leaving the advantages of press credentials to those who truly need them.

That said, how many times have you walked through a press gate without even a glance from security simply because of the size of the camera you're packing.

"everything is broken" ......Bob Dylan


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Mark SuszkoRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Mar 31, 2008 at 2:04:04 pm

Real credentials come from your local PD and sometimes your sity or state film office. If you work for a service like AP or Reuters, etc. they also supply a pass. In NYC there are several levels of passes, some also give you the right to temporary illegal parking and these are like gold, hard to get.

Depending on the town and circumstances, real credentials can be obtained simply by presenting the desk sarge with a letter from your boss confirming your employment. Other places, you may have to bring a demo reel of say three stories that have made the air at some point, like fire coverage, etc. Still other places have statewide press associations to which you may apply for credentials.

Faking it with photoshopped lookalike badges used to be an option but these days in this new security climate, will likely make more trouble for you than just being honest. Hauling a big*ss betacam on your shoulder used to be a good go-anywhere pass, sometimes still is for low-intensity events, but considering how our pro cams are everyday getting smaller and looking more like consumer cameras, that may not help all that much anymore. Yes, I've seen places where just carrying around some XLR cables and a monitor and looking preoccupied would get you past a door. But for places that really matter, not so much anymore. And putting press placards in your vehicle these days doesn't prevent you from gettign tickets, but it still does advertise to local crackheads that your vehicle is a tasty target for a break-in.


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Steve WargoRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 7:07:17 am

Around 1987, a production buddy and I wanted to get into a Phoenix Suns basketball game. I grabbed a long 26 min CCZX(?) cable and we started running for the big roll up door next to security in the parking garage. As I got close, I yelled out "Where is the TV remote truck?". The guard pointed down a hallway and pushed some people out of the way so we could get through. One of my fondest memories.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Bob ColeRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 11:41:08 am

I can see why that would be a cherished memory.

Did you ever see the piece on some news magazine about the relatively older gentleman who had gone to every Super Bowl in memory, usually into the locker rooms as well, and never had a ticket or a press pass? The acid test was going to be the New Orleans game after 9/11 I believe, where the Superdome was circled with barbed wire and National Guardsmen

And he walked past the soldiers, and as someone exited one of those doors with no knobs on the outside, he slipped right in.

Of course, after reading your story, I realize that the fact that he had a professional video crew tailing him is probably how he got past the National Guard. But you have to give him credit for figuring that out too.

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Arnie SchlisselRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 5:41:02 pm

[Bob Cole] "And he walked past the soldiers, and as someone exited one of those doors with no knobs on the outside, he slipped right in. "

I think I saw this same guy getting into some Dead shows this way, too! ;)

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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Nick GriffinRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 2:39:47 pm

Oh, great. Thanks Steve for ruining the scams by telling everybody else about them. :)

Fake credentials these days probably is a bad idea, but back in the day adding a nice thick laminate with a neck lanyard to the "pass" made it all the more real. Not that I ever did that.


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Rennie KlymykRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 5:37:24 pm

[Nick Griffin] "Fake credentials these days probably is a bad idea, but back in the day adding a nice thick laminate with a neck lanyard to the "pass" made it all the more real. Not that I ever did that.
"


This all kind of reminds me of my childhood and how my mother instilled in me the taboo of telling lies and how that was something I must never do. Fear would overcome me anytime I felt I was being involved in any kind of lie with my friends or siblings. Things changed a little bit one day when I was about 7 (years old). A group of free thinking 7 year olds revealed to me the concept of a white lie. A white lie was ok, no body got hurt and only a bit of fun or some kind of good came out of it. These were kind of opposite the deep dark lies I'd known about. Comprehending this "white lie" concept was itself exhilarating to me and would leave me elated for several years afterward when ever I participated in one.

I think there is a saying that goes:
discretion is the key to valor. The same hold true for this topic, a little discretion is in order these days but there will always be some justifiable uses for the "white credentials".

"everything is broken" ......Bob Dylan


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David Roth WeissRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 5:50:04 pm

[Rennie Klymyk] "there will always be some justifiable uses for the "white credentials"."

I think they call that convenient integrity--it only applies when its convenient. However, anytime a person in this business requires approval from a bureaucracy, you can pretty much count on nothing but ostacles. And government bureaucracies are even worse, they hire people whose primary job function is to say "no." So, if you can get around 'em, I guess that's fair game.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Rennie KlymykRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 6:52:45 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "government bureaucracies are even worse, they hire people whose primary job function is to say "no."

Here in Canada those people don't tell us "no" as that answer requires too much authority. Over here it's "you'll have to check with another department on that, it's not in my jurisdiction" Our automated telephone mazes take care of the rest.

"everything is broken" ......Bob Dylan


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Bob ColeRe: "credentialed news media"
by on Apr 5, 2008 at 10:51:55 pm

I love the way this thread has developed. When I posted my question, I wasn't asking about how to fake a credential; I wanted to know whether there was some way a freelancer could get some piece of paper that would recognize his/her status. But I'm glad that the creative people on this forum shared their exploits.

The era of the fake credential has probably passed. I suspect that the best approach is honesty: "Ma'am, as a freelancer I don't get a general credential; they're issued at the venue where we shoot. But do you honestly think I'd be carrying all this s-, um, 'stuff' if I didn't have to?"

Thanks for the laughs. Great ideas.

Bob C

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