At A Glance
Having spent almost a decade shooting the retrospective documentary CLEANIN' UP THE TOWN: Remembering Ghostbusters, producer Claire Bueno shares some of her experience to hopefully help fellow low-budget filmmakers travelling in the US.
By Claire Bueno
We’re in trouble. As we embark on a four hour trip, from Charlotte to Asheville. It should’ve taken two.
First lesson. America is vast, but the absolute scale is insurmountable, until you actually get there.
I’m Claire Bueno and I’m the producer of the documentary CLEANIN’ UP THE TOWN: Remembering Ghostbusters. I live in Great Britain.
I want to take this opportunity to share some of the logistics I’ve learned, to fellow low-budget filmmakers, travelling in the US. From luggage, transportation, accommodation, and not forgetting, money!
Nine years ago, my brother Anthony Bueno and I, embarked on a journey to make the most comprehensive documentary on the 80s films, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.
It’s a film that has taken, time, our life savings and us all across America.
Preparation and planning are crucial. We’d organised the majority of our interviews before leaving the UK, which dictated where we would travel to.
For filming the interviews, it has only ever been the two of us. So luggage, including equipment, has always been a challenge.
Before you even set foot on a plane, consider what you need to take. Think about weight and bulk. Over the years, we really have become more economic with what we carry.
CARRY YOUR CAMERA IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE!!!! It’s your most valuable asset. Airlines, loose luggage – I know.
If time permits, drive. We’ve witnessed the most incredible landscapes. The frozen lakes of Lily Dale, New York, the mountainous ranges of Denver, Colorado and the swamplands of Louisiana.
Luggage allowance is far more restricted on domestic flights, gas is cheap and driving allows for time flexibility.
Save your stress levels. Don’t even consider public transport and taxis.
Being on a low budget, for 85% of our trips we have stayed in motels and shared a twin, double-bedded room. For us, it was practical, as it served as our office. It’s simple, clean and cheap.
Don’t rely on great WIFI in hotels or motels. I would definitely recommend speaking to Verizon to ensure you have your own connectivity via a smartphone. You can accomplish a lot, on the road.
If you’re going to do Airbnb, think why? Are you wanting homemade food? Do you really need the space? How does the cost weigh up against hotels and motels?
The area you stay, will affect the price. What about the security of your equipment?
If you’re on a strict shooting schedule, you’ll barely have time to shop, let alone cook and washup!
In LA, book in advance of arrival. I have found it impossible to book a last minute Airbnb, hotel or motel.
Money. Factor in tipping and paying tax on pretty much everything! Have a ‘Travel Money Card,’ available from any reputable UK travel agent. It’s the easiest way to pay.
Couple, the hospitality of generous people, with the most spectacular, natural beauty, and you will truly have the most rewarding, and fulfilling, time of your life. I certainly did.