From a creative standpoint, the location manager needs to work with the production designer to find the locations that best fit the script. On the logistical side, the location manager needs to then secure all the necessary agreements and filming permits to actually film there, as well as notifying neighbors and residents with official letters declaring your production’s intent to film. If there are any potential problems with a site, location managers should tell you ahead of time so you have the option of ignoring their sensible warnings. It’s also nice if the location manager understands the incentives for shooting in various places; some places are so happy to have anyone film there that they’ll not only throw tax money at your production, but also provide municipal services like police and fire departments for your disposal.
Locations & Transportation
Unless your project is digital animation or a video supercut, you need actual filming locations. The locations team will help you find the right places and make sure you don’t get threatened at gunpoint by angry property owners. If your shoot requires any heavy equipment, you’ll also need a transportation crew to haul it back and forth from all those totally legal and legitimately secured locations your locations team found.
If your location manager has an apprentice, that person is the location scout. There’s a good chance your location scout might just be you or one of the producers tagging along with the location manager. Basically, a location scout provides a second set of eyes for every spot, making sure the location manager hasn’t gone completely nuts or didn’t accidentally read a different script. Location scouts can also offer additional solutions to problems with any sites, or perform reconnaissance work on any potential sites to make their job seem way cooler than it actually is.
The transportation team for your project may consist of anyone willing to lend a car or drive the U-Haul truck when you can afford it. However, if you don’t want to test the limits of your friends’ auto insurance policies or just can’t figure out where the hell to legally park that U-Haul for 14 hours during shoots, there are professionals out there who do this sort of thing. Teamsters offer good drivers with a solid understanding of the laws – at least the ones that apply to their work. Despite their reputation, teamsters will also get the job done on time. And yes, in case you didn’t know, the teamsters are definitely a union, so you’ll have to play by their rules. But by doing so, you’ll have access to transportation by plane, train, automobile and even tank…no, not that kind of tank.