Location! Location!

In the old movie westerns, the scout is the person sent ahead of the others to survey their situation. With today’s movies, a location scout does pretty much the same thing—but without the horse and the bad guys!

Finding the most suitable locations which fit both your story and your budget is challenging but important. Let’s say you want to shoot inside a fancy restaurant or art museum or maybe even a private home. Don’t just show up with your crew and equipment, with the expectation that the management will be thrilled to be in a movie. Get permission first.

Call the facility and ask for the manager or owner. Tell this person that you’re producing a film and there’s an important scene in your movie which needs a restaurant or museum or whatever. Tell them you’ve been doing some location scouting and you think their place is ideal. Would they mind if you came and toured their facilities and talk about the possibilities?

Then visit the locations, making notes of any possible challenges, such as:

· not enough electrical outlets

· too close to children’s school or playground

· too much traffic noise· potential flooding from lakes, rivers, streams

· crowd control

· too many trees

· too much furniture

· facility is too dark or too bright

Assure the person you speak to that you are very responsible and well-organized. Then give them your personal guarantee that you and your crew will show complete respect for their property and that your crew will move furniture to their proper places after you have completed shooting. Be sure to give them an estimated time of arrival and departure.

Whenever you use the image of a person (let’s say a person you have interviewed for your documentary), you will need a photo release. And do make sure that each person who will be seen on camera has read and signed the photo release before you begin shooting!tle more about you.

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