Home > Joe's Movies!, JoeRants > Locations Locations Locations (part 1)

Locations Locations Locations (part 1)

August 22, 2012

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Classes at UCA start up again tomorrow, so it’s been a long week of meetings around here.

I thought I’d put up some thoughts about locations and how to get them and use them in your films. Just coming off of our film, there were a number of things we did to get the 42 locations we used in the last two months.

There are a number of ways to secure locations for your films, but the best tool you can use is time. What locations are you going to need? The sooner you identify them, the sooner you can start figuring it out.  I’m a big believer that there’s always a way to get what you need, you just have to figure out how.

For a film I did back in California, we needed to shut down a street for a day. Here in Conway, shutting down a street just means talking to the city and getting them to help. It’s awesome. But if you know anything about California, that’s just not possible on a no-budget film.  This is where time is on your side. My awesome location manager found a business park that owned two blocks of buildings and the street between them. So they can shut down their street at will. But that means a lot of phone calls between us and them, finding the right people to speak with and setting up all the details. It took a while, but we were able to go in on a Sunday morning and film our traffic jam scene.

For Sympathy Pains, we needed a hospital birthing room for the final scene. As you can imagine, no hospital in the world is going to (for free, at least) schedule us a birthing room that would keep someone from actually being able to have a baby in there. Births aren’t always on schedule, so they have no idea if they’ll have a room available or not for us to film in. They were very nice, but for us to schedule the cast and crew, we can’t have a room that may not work out.

So we found the Conway Regional education center-  turns out they have an instructional birthing facility. We emailed back and forth with them, and it took a long time for them to be able to speak with their supervisors before the OK for us to film there came through. Great – we had the location with about a month to spare. We then went to scout the location (which we should have done first), and discovered that while the equipment was great, the space itself looked not at all like a birthing room. It looked like a converted house, which it was. It’s a great educational center, but completely wrong for us.

So we then started a discussion about using their equipment. We got them to agree to let us use the equipment as long as one of their instructors was with us. GREAT! Now we not only had equipment, we had an advisor who could show us how to do a birth scene legitimately, and an extra to play one of the nurses! We got a local U-Haul to donate a truck (“just fill it up when you’re done”), and found a good looking room that we cleared out and loaded up with the birthing equipment. Tada. But all of that needed the time to make it happen, to allow for communication with our contact, her communication with her bosses, and the time to figure out what to do once we saw we needed to go elsewhere.

I’ll put in a few more stories with lessons learned tomorrow, but the key thing is working as far in advance as you can. There are people you know who know people who have what you need. If not, start reaching out. People want to help – find those people and let them help you!

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