Home > Joe's Movies!, JoeRants > Locations, Locations, Locations (part 3)

Locations, Locations, Locations (part 3)

August 28, 2012

This is a part three in a discussion about finding locations and making them work. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

“Table at Luigi’s” was a pretty big challenge, location-wise. We didn’t have a lot of locations, but we had a big one – a full restaurant, including a dining room and professional kitchen. Plus the front exterior and back alleyway.

Our goal was to find a restaurant that was closed and someone would let us film in. The problem was finding a restaurant that was closed and someone would let us film in. Two problems, really – first, Conway has been on an upswing economically since I moved here, and closed-down restaurants were hard to find. Second, no property owner thinks that their property won’t be snatched up next week. We spoke with a number of people around January for our July shoot, but no one (understandably) would talk seriously with us about letting us move in for three weeks in the summer.

As we got closer and closer to July, nothing changed. We looked at a location in Hot Springs that might have let us film, but it’d been closed for years, needed huge amounts of work to be filmable, may or may not have had electricity, and was a 90-minutes drive each way. We also looked at a local church. They weren’t as available as we’d like, but they might be do-able. They had a decent (though a little small) kitchen, and a dining hall that was too big and looked a little too much like a church. Still not a great option.

It was getting to be May, and we still didn’t have the main location for the film.  I’d talked with Scott Meador (him again) about the renovations we’d have needed to do to any of the locations to make them work, and I asked him to talk me out of building the location in our TV studio. We measured it out and looked at it, and put together a rough budget. The cost of building the walls of the restaurant were about the same as the insurance it would take to get us into a restaurant. So we built a dining room. And we had a bunch of flats that our students could use when we were done.

That still didn’t solve the problem of the dining room needing a kitchen. So we went back to the church, looked at its kitchen, and decided that we could use the two separate locations and edit them together to make them seem like they were a single space.

Somewhere along the line, we decided that we could digitally insert the kitchen into shots from the dining room, and vice versa, and we even made a quick behind-the-scenes video about how we did that.

Luigis VFX demo from daringly Dull productions on Vimeo.

So we had the dining room and kitchen, then had to find the front of the restaurant and the back alley. We found spaces around town that were close enough to work, but really, if you pay too much attention to where things are, there’s a bit of a Dr. Who “pocket universe” happening. The kitchen can’t really be contained in the small space that is the restaurant from outside. Oh, well.

The job of creating the restaurant wasn’t finished when we had the dining room. Beyond the transformation of the kitchen (anywhere you see shelving is actually a window with a custom sized insert, and we just put a large wire shelving unit in front of an exterior door. It’s amazing that people don’t notice – it’s in the background of their first kiss), we still needed to make the dining room into a dining room. Scott built us a beautiful bar, and put some great stuff up on the walls. But we needed tables and chairs and tablecloths and… all the stuff that makes it a restaurant.

All right – that’ll be one final post.

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  1. September 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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