The location in which a film or stills shoot is set has a huge impact on the look, feel and story of a production. It is the job of a location manager or a location scout to find and secure the most suitable setting/place to film each scene, whilst working within the budget available.
Once a production has been green lit, the location manager is one of the first crew members to join the team. In the early stages of pre-production, a location manager will have detailed discussions with the director, production designer and producer before starting their research. A location manager will be provided with a script, treatment, and/or reference images to help guide their search.
A location manager will take photographs (scout) of selected locations to share with the rest of the production team to review. Once the director has decided which locations have the most potential, the location manager will schedule a recce (viewing) for the director, producer, and production design to look at the locations in person. Once a location is approved, the location manager will start negotiations and confirm contracts with owners or secure the bookings.
A location scout will often work alongside a location manager to help lighten their load. Depending on how many locations are needed or how complex some briefs might be, the location manager will delegate specific locations to scouts to go out and find for them. The scout will then share their findings with the location manager at the end of each day.
Once the filming has begun, it is the location managers job to manage each of the locations. This includes making sure everyone in the cast and crew know how to get there. Organising the parking plans, ensuring the location is properly protected from damage, noise reduction, power sources, catering requirements and any official permissions that may be needed with the site’s management or owner. It is important that a location manager remains cool, calm and collected throughout a shoot day, so that they have a reassuring presence on set and can solve issues quickly and efficinetly as they arise.
After the shoot has finished at a location, it is the location managers responsibility to make sure that the location is cleaned and returned to the owner in the same state in which it was received.
How to find a location manager or scout in London?
There are many ways of finding a good location manager or scout in London. Often a good location manager or scout will be recommended via word of mouth, for example if someone has worked with a good team before they will often try and work with the same people again. There are also great location libraries in London like Locations Direct that can provide location managers and scouts or can make recommendations.
If you don’t have the budget for a location manager or a location scout, a location library like Locations Direct can also be a great place to instantly find locations in London, you can do this yourself by searching through the website online.