Friday, August 7, 2009

Tips on Filming Locations

Let's talk locations.

When scouting, think of the best area to be in and focus your efforts on that area. Limiting your choices is a good idea or you will be driving around for weeks. I'm not kidding when I say "weeks." 

Be realistic about the location. Sure, you may want to shoot in Beverly Hills but, unless you know the owner of the location, good luck finding a cheap one.

Don't forget the permit. If you are shooting in LA, do not assume FilmLA covers every area. They don't. Each area in Los Angeles tends to have a unique permitting situation and some are more rigid and more expensive than others.

I have found that Burbank is tough because the cops control the permits and they are expensive. LA and Santa Clarita have really well-organized offices but they are expensive because they offer permits for 10 locations over two-week periods. Culver City is way too pricey for its own good. Ouch! Santa Monica can be nice if you are shooting and parking on private property. They will not charge you if you are completely on private property. Go Santa Monica! We love that.

For Take Me Home, I believe we shot in every city that had its own permit. We learned a lot about permitting and how ineffective and costly it can be! Plan wisely!

Make sure it has decent parking in the area or a lot you can use for your vehicles. And find a good spot for your equipment truck. You will want it close by. One Production Manager suggested that if you can't find a low cost solution for your truck, just park it in front of the location and eat the cost of a ticket. It may actually be cheaper than a parking lot. Don't tell the traffic cops I said that!

Look for amenities. Does it have bathrooms you can use? If not, you will need a port a potty. Does it have a market nearby for when you run out of water? Trust me, you will run out, unless you have a waterfall at the crafty table.

Where is the nearest hospital in case there is an accident? Nearby gas stations, restaurants, and hardware stores are good to know as well.

Ask for referrals from friends and drive around the areas you like to find locations. The friend referrals are good because you will have a better chance at getting the location for a much lower cost (even free) if you know the person. Don't be afraid to knock on doors. All they can do is say no (or maybe yell at you for not filming a movie on Iraq). But you will eventually find your yes.


Jentri said...

Great tips! Thanks for always writing such helpful info, Jane!

Phantom of Pulp said...

Smart tactics, Jane. Thanks.