You may have the perfect script, the right crew and talent for the shoot, but not the right location. Unlike talent or crew, you can’t just interview or audition locations to find the right one. Discovering the perfect film location can be a time consuming and tedious process that takes away from valuable time spent elsewhere in the production, not to mention all the paperwork that goes into securing a good location. In this article, we’ll go over some reasons why to use a film location agency and how they can help you get the perfect film location.
They take care of the process from start to finish
Determining where you want to shoot is only the first step in securing a good film location. There is a mountain of paperwork, permits, contacts, insurance and more that has to be done before the shoot can even begin. A film location agency will have managers to take care of every aspect of the shoot, from location discovery, to strike at the end.
Often, securing a location requires a number of permits, insurance, the right contracts with the correct legal language, payments and more. Once the shoot beings, you’ll often need a point person to be able to help you utilize the space to fullest extent. A good film location agency will help you with on-site services, to keep the shoot running smoothly.
In the past, the assistant director could handle all the duties a location manager now has, but as the film industry grew it was recognized that better oversight was needed. A location manager is a specialist in everything related to finding the location and ensuring the shoot goes smoothly there. Your film location is often a character in and of itself, so you could think of a location manager as a type of casting director!
A location manager will often supervise several scouts and work closely with the director and production designer during preproduction to get the right location for the film, and to make sure all scripted locations are accounted for. They also are responsible for public relations at the locations, and for the safety of the crew during filming.
Your location manager will schedule dates for preparation, wrap and strike, and any fees with the property owner or neighbors or tenants that might be impacted. They also are familiar with all the local permits that are required not only though the municipality, but any community or housing associations. They also arrange parking for trucks, arrange temporary facilities for holding production, all while minimizing the impact on the surrounding community.
Arranging to shoot at a film location is a massive project by itself, so having an expert taking care of that for you allows you to focus on the shoot and not on whether or not you have the right permit.
They have a portfolio of proven film locations
A good film location agency has a portfolio of locations that they have either used in the past, or can show as potential options for your productions. Ideally, they also have experience in a number of different types of shoots, from music videos to feature films.
The film location agency should have a locations library of a number of commercial and residential spaces that are available to shoot in. A location library cuts down on the time spent scouting a location. They may have the perfect place for you to shoot already! Be sure to go with an agency that will show you the space yourself, and not make you rely on photos or video of the space. If they can’t get you to see the space without your crew, they probably can’t have you see it with your crew.
Often, the location agency has a good standing relationship with these spaces and know the property owners well. This ensures a smooth time shooting on location. It also means they have a stable and practiced plan in place at each location, and are able to deliver a quality shoot every time. They may even be getting submissions from property owners who want their locations featured in film. They will thoroughly vet them and assess these properties to determine what kind of shoots would do best in them.
They are experts at what they do
A good film location agency will have years of experience under their belt. This ensures they have the skill and connections to get your film its perfect location. Being a location manager requires a cool head and being able to think quick on your feet to address any problems that might come up during a shoot. An experienced film manager will have a solution for everything, and keep abreast of any changes to permit laws, or insurance requirements and be able to keep everything under budget.
A film location agency can get you the people, the place, and the paperwork you need to create a no-stress shoot on location. They can ensure you have a smooth process from set up to strike, without having to worry about any of the process yourself. A good film location agency will have contacts all across the country, or even world, to make sure you have the best chance to find the right location. You don’t want to be stuck with locations in one city or area, especially if your script calls for a multitude of different locations.
You can also trust that your location manager will honor your budget, and be able to show you locations that fit within the scope of the project, or be able to find places that do, and not waste your time with locations that are impractical or too costly. They will have a portfolio of options to fit your intimate dinner scene, or bustling city scene, or a scene out by a quiet lake. Not only will they be able to understand the atmosphere and mood you are trying to capture, but they will have options to show you right away.
You surround yourself with experts when you make a film, hiring the best crew and actors you can get, so why not do the same for your film locations?