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Film Locations: 5 Tips For Producers

Whether you’re a veteran producer, or you are just getting started, it’s always a good idea to brush up on best practices, especially when it comes to film locations.

AVVAY.com Film Locations - Penthouse Loft Los Angeles
Photo studio / Film location in a DTLA Penthouse Loft on AVVAY.com

Tip One: Parking

Parking can often be a deciding factor for certain film locations. Whether it’s a secret cottage tucked off the windy roads of Topanga or an exquisite loft in Manhattan, figuring out where to safely and efficiently park your tech and gear vehicles to unload is crucial. Being conscious of parking on the front end as you scout potential locations will save you from wasting precious time later. Nobody wants to end up in a situation where your director falls in love with a location that you realize has ZERO parking and a horrible load-in.

Tip Two: You Get What You Pay For

Budgeting for film locations is a tricky road to navigate. In a perfect world, you want the best location at the lowest price. But with larger location budgets, you often do get a wider variety of higher-quality options. It’s all about finding that middle ground most of the time. Work with your scouts, lean into their knowledge, network, and negotiating power. There are hidden gems out there, and our team has spent years building relationships with fantastic hosts to get you the best pricing possible while also saving you a ton of valuable time in the process. After all, our mission is to make the lives of producers better.

Tip Three: Never Assume Anything

Whether you want to use a certain room at a location for H&M, or you want to arrive at the shoot 30 minutes early ahead of the rest of the crew, you can never just assume you have the green light. Be direct and clear with your location host, or site rep, about how you plan to utilize the location, and about what areas of the property you’d like permission to occupy during the production.

As a general rule, be kind, courteous, and always over-communicate with a location. It’s better to over-clarify than to make incorrect assumptions that can ultimately ruin a shoot for the whole crew.

Tip Four: Not Everything is Online. 

For those extra-challenging, hard-to-find locations, not everything is easily found online. Sometimes it takes detailed research and good old-fashioned driving around town to find a location gem. But let’s be honest, there is just less and less time available for that and even less money available in the budget to pay someone a day rate to do that driving for you — especially when you may ultimately only get one or two more location options at the end of the day.

This is where our tech-enabled team of location pros can come in handy. With our years of experience in the field, paired with next-level tech, our team can track down virtually any location you need, from coast to coast, at the drop of a hat.

Looking for a location now? Get started!

Tip Five: Feed The Location Host

As I’ve already mentioned, kindness and awareness of others go a long way in production. For the camera person who is on their feet all day carrying an 80lb rig or for the PA who has been doing runs all day, to the Director and talent, everybody enjoys that break to slow down and eat a meal. The location host is no exception! Offer to buy your host a meal the day of the shoot. They may feel uncomfortable leaving their property while a photo or film shoot is at their place and a warm meal is a simple gesture that can go a long way in showing the host that the production is appreciative of them. It’s the little things!

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