A Director’s Take on Location Scouting

When making a film, finding the perfect location is crucial. A great location can set the mood, add authenticity to the story, and make the audience feel as though they are truly immersed in the film’s world.

The responsibility of finding and securing these locations typically falls to the location department, which consists of the Location Manager, the Location Scout, and assistants. They all answer to the director and his vision for the story.

The Location Manager oversees all aspects of the location department, including scouting, securing locations, and managing the budget. They also coordinate with other departments to ensure the location needs are met throughout the production. Essentially, the Location Manager is the go-to person for anything location-related on a film set.

The Location Scout, on the other hand, is responsible for finding potential locations that fit the director’s vision for the film. They are typically the first person on the ground, scouting various locations and taking pictures to present to the director and producer. The scout should have a great eye for detail and understand how to capture the essence of a location in a photograph. They need to be creative and resourceful in finding the best possible locations that work within the budget.

Once a location has been identified, the director will visit the site to determine if it works for the story. There are several factors that a director considers when scouting for locations. Some of these include:

  1. Authenticity: The location needs to be authentic to the story and feel like it truly belongs in the film’s world. For example, if a film is set in a particular era, the location should reflect the time period accurately, or the location owners need to be willing for the art department to make the needed changes.
  2. Accessibility: The location needs to be accessible for the cast and crew. This includes transportation, parking, and ease of access to power, fresh water, and other resources.
  3. Lighting: Lighting is crucial to the look and feel of a film, so the location needs to have the right lighting to achieve the desired effect. This includes both natural lighting and the ability to set up additional lighting if necessary.
  4. Sound: The location needs to be suitable for recording sound. This includes considering background noise, acoustics, and the ability to control the sound environment.
  5. Logistics: The location needs to be practical for filming. This includes factors such as the ability to set up cameras and equipment, the availability of restrooms, and the location’s safety.

Once the location has been selected, the Location Manager and their team will work to secure the location, negotiate contracts, and ensure that all necessary permits are obtained. They will also work with the director to ensure the location is set up to meet their vision for the film.

Finding and scouting locations is a critical part of the film production process. The Location Manager and Location Scout work together to identify potential locations that fit the director’s vision for the film. The director considers factors such as authenticity, accessibility, lighting, sound, and logistics when scouting for locations. Ultimately, the location department works to secure the location, negotiate contracts, and ensure that the location is set up to meet the director’s vision for the film.

By working together, the director and the location department can create a truly immersive and believable world for the audience.

Copyright © 2023 by CJ Powers