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I dont know how to scout for location. Any help?


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#1 Afolayan Dammy

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 10:30 AM

I really don't know why this is a big problem for me as lame as it might sound, I always have big ideas(not in terms of expensive ideas) and lovely concept to shoot. But then, I really don't know how to go out and scout for location. I am either thinking "oh, had it been I have a car, I would just drive around  town and get that location I need" or how I wish I know people that have access to beautiful looking locations that would just give me a call and say, we found a location for you, come and shoot your story here". This has always crippled me. There are sometimes, a big picture might just come to my mind and I am like, I must shoot this, this is beautiful ,but then getting that location becomes a problem. Not like am thinking of super high location like President's Obama's office, no, sometimes the picture am painting is just a small lovely location but then going out to scout for that location just becomes a problem for me.  And its kind of suppressing the amount of things i probably could have done. The amount of videos I could have shot. Anybody else once had this silly problem? Please don't read and leave without helping out with a little advice... Please! Any advice for me.


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 10:52 AM

Hire a location scout?


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#3 Afolayan Dammy

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 10:56 AM

Would love to but I don't have the budget. Any advice as to how to do it myself


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#4 Matthew Padraic Barr

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 12:08 PM

Early on in my career, when I didn't have much help to find locations, I would use google maps with the street view to at least have a look at the exteriors.

Also, before even going to the location, you'll want to call the establishment and talk to the GM. Many places, especially in a major city, will not let you shoot there under any circumstance, other places are very accommodating. You'll want to find this out before scouting because there is no sense considering a location if there is absolutely no chance of you shooting at that location.

-mpb 


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 03:23 PM

Is this for a specific project or scouting in general?  Interiors or exteriors?

 

Without a car, it's kind of difficult to just wander and scout - which has been my process for a long time regarding exteriors.  Interiors are completely different and usually require very specific ideas before even attempting to find a space that will fit the bill.  For my most recent short, I considered a sound-stage but wound up using my house instead.  With a little redecoration it worked out very well and was very cost-effective.

 

As David said, you need a location scout.  But if you can't afford the scout, you probably won't be able to afford the location.


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#6 Matthew Padraic Barr

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 03:37 PM

It depends on the city as well. In NYC, as Bill mentioned, you will have more difficulty finding accommodating locations; they will ask for financial compensation.

But I've shot in Phoenix, Nashville, Dallas, LA, etc. and I've found locations that were very accommodating, sometimes even letting us shoot for free, granted they were often short scenes. If you plan your shoot really well this can work. If you're planning to shoot a long scene, though, you might have a more difficult time find a place without any money.

-mpb


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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 03:55 PM

But I've shot in Phoenix, Nashville, Dallas, LA, etc. and I've found locations that were very accommodating, sometimes even letting us shoot for free, granted they were often short scenes.

 

That's fortuitous but true.  Depends on the people involved (on both ends.)  The big issue I always run into is that most places will want you to have an insurance policy of an amount that I can't afford.


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#8 Matthew Padraic Barr

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 04:00 PM

Very true, Bill. Good point.

Insurance is always a big worry of mine on low-budget projects.

-mpb


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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 04:27 PM

Search the web for pics of likely locations. Take notes of the ones you like, get contact info, make phone call inquiries, rent a car and check it out in person. Get your DP and Prod Designer to go with you. See if the location needs a fee, permit, insurance cert, etc. Do they have any time, noise, accessibility, parking restrictions? Find a few different options. It's really not that hard. If you're a film student, you may be able to get prod insurance thru your school.
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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 04:31 PM

If you're a film student, you may be able to get prod insurance thru your school.

 

That makes a world of difference.  If you're a student you can always use the classic "Please!  I'm a student and I have no money!" tactic. ;)


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#11 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 04:56 PM

Haha :) Doesn't work in LA and even in some parts of SF anymore!

I recently shot a student period short set in 1950's Havana, that was an interesting challenge considering we shot entirely it in the Bay Area. Was very impressed with the first time director, she found and secured all of the locations on her own and also did most of her own production design. We shot in the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens permitted, on the campus grounds for an exterior balcony scene with green screen permitted (she attends a different school with no affiliation), in a CA State Park permitted, two historical homes permitted, and one private residence with permission. Most of the property owners and managers were very happy to help us. We scouted all of the locations together and got great value for her money.

So, it can be done properly even on a student budget with enough vision, persistence, and hard work.
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#12 joshua gallegos

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Posted 29 November 2014 - 07:29 AM

Contact the film commission from your city or state, they will usually list some locations on Reel Scout http://www.reel-scout.com/ 

They will have contact info so you can speak with property owners, etc. Afterwards, they will send a release form for you to sign. 


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#13 Jim Ritscher

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 12:02 AM

We used a diner for a recent shoot in the Boston area. We used Google to locate possibilities. We got someone to let us shoot for free (when the diner was closed) because they thought the (short) film would help bring in more business. The question is always, "What's in it for them?"

 

Get peopl;e interested in your film, and find someone with a car.


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#14 Chris Millar

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 04:56 AM

I've always taken an interest in the personality types that get attracted to certain positions...

 

Of the two location scouts I've gotten to know a bit better, they were both good listeners, down to earth/personable and both very 'ok, let's get it done' types.

 

I think key in your case is getting out and talking about your ideas, talk talk talk - the more exposure you have to peoples ideas the easier it's going to be huh?


Edited by Chris Millar, 14 December 2014 - 04:56 AM.

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