5 Things That Will Make Location Scouting a Little Easier

Scouting locations for your production can be a headache, but these five things will make it a whole lot easier.

Location scouting is something you do to prepare for a production, but it too needs quite a bit of preparation before you ever step foot on a potential spot. You have to assess everything, like the look of the location, its power resources, and noise pollution. You have to make sure the location makes sense to your story. You have to think about literally everything before making a final decision and it's exhausting. However, Morgan Cooper of Cooper Films tries to make this process less of a guessing game by giving you five location scouting tips in the video below. Check it out:

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKq4UEOHISI

If you're a director and/or a cinematographer, Cooper's five tips are perfect for you (assuming that you'll be the one out there scouting):

  • Bring a light meter
  • Think about gear staging
  • Take good pictures of the location
  • Talk about blocking while at the location
  • Try the Artemis app (It's a bit spendy at $30, but is highly rated.)

The main lesson that I think we can learn from all of these tips is that location scouting is about preparedness and attention to detail. You have to know everything about your project. You have to know everything about each location. Ask yourself what the needs of the production are and then ask yourself which location meets most or all of them.

One of the most common mistakes new filmmakers make when scouting locations is choosing one based solely on what it looks like. They go there with their ideal location in mind, the one they envisioned when dreaming up their film, and if it looks like the dream they're sold. This is not the way to do it. Yes, appearance is an important factor, but it's not the only one. You need to think about so much more if you want your location to work out in the end. (StudioBinder has a really great location scouting checklist that makes this process so much easier.)      

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Awesome advice for filmmakers! Set Scouter has a bunch of excellent resources to help with scouting. Check out our checklist on how to work with homeowners. (http://blog.setscouter.com/location-scouting-checklist-working-with-loca...)

Simple Callsheet is also pretty neat (www.simplecallsheet.com) — it's a totally free and editable call sheet generator for any production. Email, text, or download a PDF.

Lastly, my team and I are always happy to answer questions about Set Scouter or scouting in general. Just leave questions in the comments below and I'll be sure to answer.

Alex Kolodkin
Founder, Set Scouter

We love NoFilmSchool, be sure to ask me for our NoFilmSchool discount!

September 2, 2017 at 6:37PM

Alex Kolodkin
Founder @ Set Scouter