TSA Cracking Down on Filmmakers?
Traveling for my job is, by far, one of my favorite things to do as it allows me to experience several different locations. Many that I would never have been able to experience in another industry. It kind of reminds me of my years playing college football for Florida International University. During season, I was literally in a hotel each and every week. Really nice ones, if I might add. Even for home games, we were required to remain in hotels the night before to make sure we were all getting a good night sleep and eating proper foods 24 hours before game time. So I am pretty experienced when it comes to traveling and more or less, anything that is related to travels. I’ve become at pro at packing the night before. By the way, I don’t recommend that method if you’re just starting. Lol.
So where am I going with this? Recently, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has announced that they’re going to begin conducting heavier screening through airports. They were specific in their statement that this new thorough screening process will entail removal of all electronics including cameras from your bag and taking a good look at them. Now I know that this is obviously not the end of the world. However, this does mean that things are going to get a whole lot inconvenient for filmmakers who constantly find themselves in and out of airports. Like other traveling filmmakers, I tend to keep my camera and my most valuable video equipment, with me at all times. Of course this is done to make sure that all my gear remains safe. I simply don’t feel like having thousands of dollars’ worth of gear tossed around all over the place. It just would not be a wise move on my part. That being said, there is a strategic decision-making process in how I choose what stays with me and what I have checked. It’s very simple really; in the unfortunate event that my checked bags get lost in transit, the equipment that I have with me would suffice to continue on with my job should I have to.
So how can we get around this new inconvenient TSA screening process? I’m constantly trying the find convenience in my work. This entails all aspects of my job, from recording audio as a one-man-band to traveling efficiently with my equipment. This, by no means, makes me a lazy person, I just like to get things done effectively. If going handheld most of the time to maximize my chances of retrieving every single shot I need in the amount of time that I have, then I’ll do that rather than adjusting my tripod or shoulder rig level for different shots. Removing my laptop from my bag, taking off my shoes, belt, hat, watch, is just a hassle. Rushing to put everything back on was even worse as people are waiting for me to continue moving in the line. That is why I’ve gone and obtained my TSA PreCheck membership. TSA PreCheck is an invaluable service that gives you the ability to basically walk right through airport security with minimal screening. How this works is for just $85, you receive a background check via finger print. In just a couple of weeks, you’ll receive a notice that you have qualified for the TSA PreCheck membership (assuming that your background check turns out clean). It’s that simple. I am still astonished at how this works and how great it is to not have to remove individual items from my bag. Now, I simply let my bags go through the x-ray and I simply walk through the scanner. No need to take out my laptop, shoes, etc anymore. Also, members get their own exclusive line which is empty most of the time. Honestly, only receiving an ice cream cone as you walk through security would make this better.
Perhaps I should’ve started this blog by mentioning that, in no way, am I receiving anything for mentioning this on my page. This is 100%, my honest opinion about this. I literally loved this so much that it has convicted me to write an entire blog about it even after I have already mentioned this several times on the podcast. I cannot recommend this enough. Thankfully, I have not had the misfortune of being screened with this new policy and with my TSA PreCheck membership, that should never be the case. Now I must ad that in rare occasions, there have been airports that, for one reason or another, does not have a PreCheck line. Rendering my membership useless at that time. That is quite irritating, I’ll admit. Those occasions only account for perhaps 5% of my trips. Anyways, I’m done with my rant now. Just wanted to share this with you all. Have a good one!