My biggest gaffe: Being lax about locations

Shaneil Patel, account manager at Taylor Herring, learned the hard way that some locations require permission to film in them.

Shaneil Patel
Shaneil Patel

In our line of work, Monday’s team meeting usually starts with: "Right folks, here’s a new project, you have six days to turn it around."

It’s the nature of the beast. In the high stakes game of PR poker you can get dealt a dodgy hand when asked to arrange things at the 11th hour…

Picture the scene. It’s summertime. It’s 2011. It’s shorts into work weather and a rapid turnaround project lands on my account director’s desk.

This was my first shoot and as a young, fresh-faced graduate in the big city I was itching to go and keen to impress.

We had three days to spring production into action, pull off a photoshoot, prep the team and create all assets to achieve widespread coverage.

On the afternoon before shoot date, the client sent a request that we increase the locations to three.

I had one job: find two extra locations, which I managed with ease and confident conviction. And it all went well. Or so I thought.

Several weeks passed and we moved on to other assignments. A registered letter arrived at the office.

Next thing there was a new email in my inbox. Subject: WTF???? "Shaneil. Why have we landed a £2,000 fine for filming without permission back in June?"

I can still hear my own heartbeat to this day.

Moral of the story/lesson learned: Always check if a public location requires special permissions.

* Are you a PR professional with a big gaffe from your past that you're willing to admit to, and write about in PRWeek? Email

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