Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to secure a location

I've been doing this a lot lately. Here's how I go about doing it.

1. Call.

2. Get told that the person you need to talk to is not in and that you can leave your number for them to call back. Leave number.

3. Wait for them not to call back. They don't. So call again. They probably won't answer so leave a message.

4. They finally call back but you are unable to answer because you are stuck on set and unable to answer your phone.

5. You call them back but they are miffed that you didn't answer your phone, so to prove a point, they don't answer their phone. You leave a message.

6. Two minutes later, after figuring this little game of cat and mouse has gone on a bit too long, they call back. You tell them what you want to do, by which time you are so over eager because you are finally talking to a real person, you exasperate yourself explaining the situation. A bit confused, but eager to get out of the conversation they agree to whatever it is you want, if only to get you off the phone.

7. Since everyone is agreed. You then ask them to sign a location release form. Thinking this is a last bit of trickery they then go on to play 20 questions about what, why, how, and who this location release form is supposed to entail.

8. With the tables turned and you wanting to be the one getting off the phone, you gleam over the fine print, which is really nothing but fine print, and tell them it's nothing to worry about, (just a document signing away the production company's liability should anything happen to their business.) Seriously.

9. You hang up. Take a deep breath, and realize that in 2 minutes, you just accomplished what you've been trying to accomplish for two days.


  1. Very well put. I've been through all this before one time when I had to shoot at a restaurant back in the spring. I thought it was gonna be a huge pain, it was actually real simple. Went to the place, got the manager's number, called him, asked, he said yes, signed the release form, and we shot the scene. Getting locations isn't too terribly bad, I'm just always afraid they'll say no, especially when I have my heart set upon one location in particular.

  2. it doesn't start getting frustrating until you start having to pay for locations. then it can potentially get hella frustrating. that's when it's time to have a good entertainment lawyer for the production. It's really all dependent on how big of a foot print the production leaves. Foot prints are all about inconvenience. The bigger the foot print the bigger the inconvenience so the more likely you are to have to pay higher for the location. For instance, productions who have gone into a location, like someone's house,where they completely remodeled it for the movie, will often times then gave the owners the option of keeping the remodeling or changing it to however they want it, upgrades and all, on top of what they actually paid to use the place. There's also problems like shooting at landmarks or historical sites that you have to get not only the location released but to do it you have to get the support of whoever runs the place, whether it's a non profit, government, ext. When you are a student film maker or a small reality crew, this usually doesn't pose much of a problem because you can fly in under radar, but as always, the bigger the show-the bigger the problems. In the end, money solves everything.