Location Manager


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The location manager is responsible for finding and locking down filming locations before production commences. They are under a tight deadline to secure locations before production is set to start.

  • Collaborate with the director and production designer: The location manager reads the script and works with the director to get an idea of the types and number of locations needed, and the director’s vision for those locations. The three individuals will also discuss non-creative logistics like whether or not the location needs a base camp (the area where all the trailers are parked), how many crew members are needed at each location, etc.
  • Hire the team: The location manager oversees the locations department and is in charge of hiring the various members.
    • The assistant locations manager assists the location manager by managing the current set while the location manager preps the next location.
    • The location scout is the first to scout locations, photograph them, and report their findings back to the location manager.
    • The location assistant(s) are available to perform any task the location manager might need. They primarily keep the locations clean during filming, assist in cleaning up a location after filming has wrapped, and sometimes field inquiries from neighbors or control pedestrian traffic through a shoot.
  • Visit the locations: The scouting process is lengthy, with often three or four visits to a single location before a decision is finalized. The location manager steps in to narrow down the location scout’s options and to take photos for reports back to the director and production designer. During a location scout, the location manager will consider the following questions:
    • Is there enough power for the shoot?
    • Is there water and access to toilets?
    • Where can trailers be parked?
    • Is there parking cast and crew at the location?
    • Where is the nearest hospital?
    • Is there a lot of disruptive noise (i.e. planes flying overhead, noisy highways) in the area?
  • Clear the location: Once the Location Manager decides on a location, they begin the process of clearing the location, which includes:
    • Negotiating contracts and rates with the location owners.
    • Getting film permits from local authorities and police.
    • Getting an insurance policy for the location.
    • Ensuring the location complies with all health, safety, and security requirements.
    • Distributing “resident letters” or “filming notifications,” which are written memos that alert neighbors in the area of filming production and how long it will take. These often include direct contact information for the locations manager.
  • Lock the location: If all goes well in clearing the location, they enter a phase referred to as “locking down a location,” which means the contracts are signed and the location is secured. During this phase the location manager will make sure the crew has everything they need at the location. This can include:
    • Provide power sources and generators.
    • Install a portable air conditioning unit.
    • Hire a cleaning company.
    • Hire private security to watch the set overnight.
    • Rent dumpsters, tables, and tents for catering.


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