Apologies for rushing this post; but I’ve been super busy the past week trying to secure locations for a film I am making.

This weeks subject is location scouting, which obviously a key part of the filmmaking process as good locations add production value and realism. I also find it much more fun to film on location over a set as there is something freeing about it.

In the past week I’ve spent four days locations scouting and hours sitting at my computer sending out e-mails. This is the first time I’ve needed to do a proper location scout and it has definitely been a fun and interesting experience as I attempt to secure rights to film in perfect locations for no cost; with varying degrees of success.

Before talking about the scouting itself I’d like to explain why I was scouting. Last weekend I entered a Coventry based competition entitled 2Weeks2MakeIt and as the title suggests the competition gives me just 2 weeks to a make a music video for a band.

Drawn out of the hat, the band to which my group was assigned was a young singer-songwriter who had written a pretty little song. After discussing ideas we decided that a forest location would be the ideal setting; as the mood of song would require a balance between prettiness and desolation.

Therefore last Sunday I headed out to Sutton Park that has a wonderful forest area and scouted around for locations. The park is a lovely location and after hours of exploring; several locations where found which would have looked wonderful for the video.

BI8bamuCcAAqKuP.jpg-large

However on Monday due to some unforeseen circumstances all the plans where halted as our musician was forced to withdraw from the competition. The lovely people who run the competition paired us with a new band and extended the deadline accordingly. However this did mean we had to begin planning from scratch.

The new band being a rap/hip-hop group obviously wanted a more urban setting and with song being a love-song the narrative which was chosen was to have two couples going on terrible dates before meeting each other and finding their ‘true love’. This story meant that two locations for these bad dates needed to be found – some kind of competitive one (e.g bowling) and a more casual one (a restaurant).

On Wednesday I was off scouting again and this time it was a very different experience to the first scout because rather than simply wandering through a forest; this time I needed to speak to people and negotiate with them.

This is something I was extremely nervous about – I am not only the most confident person and have a tendency to mumble. But I took a deep breath and entered the first location. After a brief chat with the manager; he agreed that we could film if needed and contact details where swapped. I was surprised by his reaction and he seemed really interested in the fact that we wanted to make a film. I think this is most likely because to an outsider the idea of a film crew coming along is quite snazzy and exciting; whereas to me working it doesn’t feel to impressive.

So after this first acceptance I went from location to location and made lots of contacts. Emails where consequently sent out and each place sent us a list of available times and this is where problems arose. Although the locations where fine with us filming; the fact that we needed to film this weekend – because of the competitions time constraints and that the band work full time jobs – meant that many locations wouldn’t allow us access and would prefer us to film in the week.

It also doesn’t help that the weekend is a bank holiday meaning they will most likely be busy; this makes the shoot a scheduling nightmare as many venues had only small availability.  The idea for the video has consequently been adapted meaning the crew, are now going to spend the day location hopping and filming small segments at each location.

The one thing that surprised me the most with a majority of the venues is that they where willing to let us film free of charge. This was odd as I was expecting to have to pay extortionate amounts for locations or at least spend some time negotiating. Most places however just seemed happy for advertising in the video; which is ideal and extremely easy for us to offer.

During this week I’ve learnt many valuable lessons about location scouting and discovered that obtaining rights is a lot easier than I expected; if next time I need to scout we have a confirmed date then the entire process would go much more smoothly.