How Can Zipcar Help Filmmakers? In Lots of Ways. We Find out How.

Posted October 10th, 2018 by Helen Jack

“Having a strict budget and short notice period is something many filmmakers face, so our account managers are prepared to find the best solutions within budget and time restraints.” 

A really valuable sponsor to us for this year’s inaugural SHORT CUTS Film Competition has been Zipcar. They were a company we were really keen to work with because their focus of using technology to solve a problem (decrease congestion in big cities by increasing car sharing) really spoke to us and the values of Shooting People. We’re big believers in connecting people, facilitating collaboration and keeping things affordable for creatives, and Zipcar encapsulates all of this for us. SHORT CUTS is about helping filmmakers develop their career, and we feel that offering affordable and flexible transport solutions is invaluable.

Some of you will already be Zipcar users. Some just have a sense of what the service offers. Some will be complete newbies and want to know more. So, we sat down and talked with Zipcar Partnership Executive, Norbert Toth, and asked him to give our members more insight into why Zipcar offers great opportunities for filmmakers, and in particular, how it can make your shoots more sustainable.

SP: We have a lot of jobs posted to Shooting People that require those applying to have access to a car – and as we know, a lot of people living in cities don’t own a car because of the expense. How do you think Zipcar’s short-term vehicle rental could change the landscape for indie film productions?

NT: London is exploding with opportunities for emerging filmmakers. Communities like Shooting People are a great place to find these in increasing numbers. But as opportunities have grown, so has competition. This means that having access to a vehicle has become essential to get a competitive edge when applying for these roles. But for someone just starting out in this field, owning a car – let alone a van – is simply not an option. We found that filmmakers love to use solutions like car sharing because they get the flexibility of car ownership (booking last minute, proximity, taking and returning it at any time) and the benefit of not having to worry about overhead costs. Having business insurance built into the rates has also had an overwhelmingly positive response from filmmakers in particular.

SP: Why should filmmakers and actors use Zipcar to get to their shoot or casting session rather than using a rival service such as Uber?

NT: Zipcar is working with thousands of filmmakers in London alone. This gives us a great insight into how this segment uses transport. In most cases, Zipcar simply fits their needs better then alternative solutions. Like when they are returning a van in the middle of the night after a long shoot or need a van for only 2 hours to get some equipment to a site. Sometimes, hopping into an Uber or doing a classic van hire for a whole week is the best option, but for filmmakers, often these solutions don’t tick all the boxes.

SP: Often filmmakers need equipment at short notice but within a very specific budget. How can Zipcar best facilitate these needs?

NT: The good thing about having a business account – which all Shooting People members have access to – is that it also comes with an industry specialist account manager, who themselves have worked with hundreds of filmmakers. Having a strict budget and short notice period is something many filmmakers face, so our account managers are prepared to find the best solutions within budget and time restraints. This is something we probably don’t talk enough about, but when our service is so flexible, having a helping hand in planning transportation budget for a project is super important.

SP: You have an ever-growing base of production companies signed up for a Zipcar business account. What do you think the value is for a production company? Do you have any examples you can share?

NT: Other than having a ton of freelancers and solo filmmakers, we also support some of the biggest production companies in London. Endemol have used Zipcar for years for their Big Brother productions where having drivers added on in a moments notice has been critical. Having access to a dedicated account manager who enables this smooth sailing, while drivers are seamlessly added to the account and granted easy access to the vans through their mobile app, has been a key part of why they have stayed with us for years.

SP: And do you have a sense of how many individual creative freelancers are signed up? Some of our members aren’t part of a larger production company, so what would be the advantage to them?

NT: Interestingly a lot of drivers who get a job at the big production companies, like Endemol, have their account with us as a freelancer already. It’s a great way to be mobile in terms of moving from one production to another. There is also the benefit of being able to get added on to the production company’s account without any fuss or delay and bill the company for those reservations while still be able to use the service for anything else that comes up.

SP: We know a priority for Zipcar is to move towards a greener transport system. How would filmmakers be increasing their “green credentials” for shoots by using Zipcar?

NT: Zipcar’s overall goal is to positively impact congestion and emissions in big cities like London. We do this by reducing the number of cars on the roads by allowing members to share our vehicles. Imagine you use a van for a shoot in the evening, but in the morning a brewery delivered their beer to the restaurants and in the afternoon someone moved to a new house. All with the same van and within the space of less than 24 hours. That’s the magic of a sharing economy. This allows filmmakers to help us reduce the number of cars on London’s busy roads, while they can also chose from hybrid and full electric cars to make their production even more environmentally friendly.

As part of our collaboration with Zipcar, they’re offering all SP members the chance to join for free, get £60 in driving credit and get 29% off ongoing rates. You can sign up for a business account as an individual freelancer or as a production company. It’s something our team have used and found super useful. You can claim this offer, here


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