We wrote about Set Scouter last year when it was heralded as the AirBnb of location scouting, and since then the platform has grown substantially both in listings and regular users. They relaunched a redesigned website in December and are now announcing their services in its first major U.S. city: Miami, FL. With over 1,000 locations listed in Toronto (compared to about a dozen in Los Angeles), the 250+ listings in Miami shows that Set Scouter wants to tap into potentially much larger user-base of filmmakers in the US. Founder Alex Kolodkin says it's like "having a production assistant that you don't have to pay for or hire," and indeed upon signing up for the site you will receive a phone call from a friendly Set Scouter employee that will try to help you find a location you're looking for.

"We’re trying to build a community of trust, a community of people who are eager to have your back."

Perhaps the coolest thing about Set Scouter is the general ethos of the homeowners that have listings on the site. Set Scouter's goal is to recruit supportive homeowners that aren't simply there to make extra cash, but want to be part of the production community in their city. This makes the process much less strained for producers as they aren't dealing with burnt out location managers who do it every day — on the contrary it's (ideally) actually exciting for the homeowner to have a production at their place. Creating value for your film by allowing others to take part in the experience is an asset we can all learn to leverage, especially with people who are more foreign to the process (read: still think it's romantic).

The price of locations on the site are not always modest, because of the nature of the homeowners using the site. If you find the perfect location and the pricetag is too high, you're often able to negotiate with homeowners directly on rates.

Set Scouter services at a glance (for filmmakers):

  • Finding / booking locations
  • Facilitating location scouts
  • Payments, overtimes, security deposits
  • Insurance documentation

Largest location densities:

  • 1000+ listings in Toronto
  • 250+ listings in Miami, FL
  • 150+ listings in Austin, TX

Set Scouter is ideal for productions with more than just a shoestring budget behind them, but is a good option when you need an important location. One snag in the system for many low budget filmmakers is production insurance. Set Scouter helps handle the facilitation of insurance documentation — but that's assuming your production has insurance. Sometimes you won't be able to negotiate a location without insurance which adds an extra step and extra expense. Set Scouter will truly become a one stop shop once they are able to integrate a hassle free insurance process into their site (much like progressive rental companies like ShareGrid).

Rustic Loft on Set Scouter

At the moment, Set Scouter is best used to find clean looking (often modern) residential spaces for independent film or branded content. The site's listings for locations in places outside of Toronto, Miami or Austin are severely lacking, but if they continue to find themselves expanding (which seems evident), I could see Set Scouter easily becoming a new standard in location scouting. The more people use the site, the more likely they will expand their services in your area, so sign up! Plus, you'll help reduce the chance we'll keep seeing the same locations reused in every indie film.

Source: Set Scouter