10 things to avoid when you shoot in China

Film industry is booming in China, not like USA, there is still a lot of screen ready to be built in some developing cities in China, although, China is missing a lot of content to fill up these screens, it’s also because of the local industry is not as great as USA or Europe, it’s changing though.

there is a lot of new co-production film projects happening in China, since we have done years of video film production support types of projects with oversea crews, we would list out 10 things that you should avoid:


1) Bringing Film Production Equipment into China.

Equipment here mainly says Red Epic, Red Dragon, Arri Alexa types of Camera, sometimes you can get troubles by bringing other high valued camera such as Canon C300, Sony Fs7, this really depends on the custom as well, but for the crew that catches the schedule in China, the last thing you want is the custom keep your camera and lens.

Solution: Carnet doesn’t really work in here, if you need to bring your own camera to China, remember to have a local contact who can prepare at least 60,000RMB as deposit to the custom, foreign check or currency won’t do in custom.

Reason: This is to avoid the people coming to China and sell them, as soon as you hand in the deposit in check or cash, you can take the gears with you in China.



2) Hiring Translator as Fixer/Producer


Translator in China has a different range of levels, when you visit China with your project, you really need someone who understand about the industry and media situation, when you encounter any issue, experienced fixer/producer will save your time to research, translator can only deal with the translation work, at most they would just spend time on researching on useless content on the web.

Solution: Hire Fixer/Producer from www.shootinchina.com, experienced, international, professional background film production crew will solve your problem without too much hustle.

Reason: Time is limited to everyone, save your time by hiring from professionals.


3)  Work with a wrong VISA


Since few years ago China has started the law to strict the foreign crew work in China with the wrong visa, if you are ready to be part of a film production project, make sure you get a working visa for the project, according to Chinese law, foreign film crew needs to be registered within the film production application to the government.

Solution: Usually a proper film project in China allows a few foreign crew members involved, so VISA won’t be a huge issue, if you are in a small production, having business visa and travelling visa is basically the same these days, although it used to seem very easy to speak around it, it is what it is these days.

Reason: By applying working visa, you will be able to  work safely in China, otherwise you can be fined and possibly kick out of China.


4) Recreational Drug use


After Jackie Chan’s son got arrested for using drug at home, people here all aware of the recreational drug use is risky, at least for the Media industry, if you get arrested for using drug while you are involved in a film production, the film can potentially got rejected from the screen release, and yourself might get into some jail time for a few days.

Solution:don’t take drug in China, it’s illegal.

Reason: China is trying to create a society without the harmful elements, Drug is of course one of them.


5) Shooting in public area without permit

street shooting

Permit speaks a lot in China, usually if you need to shoot in China, the public area has to be managed with local authorized department, this can be done with the location manager or Producer, if you shoot without a permit, you can be stopped by police officer or the city management, this can potentially risky your shoot with further investigation.

Solution: At least hold a J1 or J2 visa, or find location manager/producer to apply for the permit.

Reason: Shooting in the public area can cause a lot of problem, having authorized permit allow you to manage your shoot better, without being pushed out from your location.


6) Publish/Release non-confirmed news/info/rumors on internet

As a foreign expat, it can be risky to publish and release any content that un-confirmed, regardless it’s online or offline, you can get yourself into some trouble for doing so because internet here is wildly spotted by people.

Solution: try not to publish things that can potentially upset people.

Reason:people trying to create a harmony society, so shut up and do your job.


7) National/Traditional Holidays

holidays in china

When the holiday comes, the whole country kinda falls into sleep mode, at least half sleep, people tend to get their days off for their own, if you have anything that comes in the way of their holiday, you might consider switch the day, because it will be very inconvenience to arrange things.

In most big cities in China, the immigrant travels so far at this time of the year to spend their time with their children, families, relatives .

Solution:May holiday, October National holiday, Chinese New Year are all big to Chinese people, so don’t stop their time in holidays, otherwise they can be upset.


8) Adult Content


There is no level differs content in China, thus people here can’t shoot anything related with adult content, it’s a crime to produce adult content within China.

Solution: Don’t do any adult content in China, it’s not gonna benefit you in any way.


9) Political Content


It’s definitely difficult to do political content in China, it’s as risky as adult content.


10) Working with “Blocked” Artist/People


Usually there is a certain list of people that you don’t want to work with, if you plan to make a share in Chinese market, definitely avoid the blocked artist just for safety of your project.