Every video needs a location. Whether it’s in the Oval Office of the White House or your grandfather’s basement, your location is the stage for your video; it gives your story context. Finding the right location to set your story can be just as crucial as casting the right actors to tell it. This can prove to be challenging, especially with smaller budget projects with tight deadlines (my favorite!).
Here are 5 tips that can help you find the right location in a hurry:
- Search Far and Wide…Within a 3 Block Radius – Time is of the essence, so don’t waste it driving all over the state looking for the perfect spot; stay local. Being based in Old Town, we don’t have to travel far to find a park, restaurant, hotel or bar, in which to shoot. That doesn’t mean we’ll always be granted access. But we take comfort in knowing we have options close by. Try to start you search local and then brand out if needed.
- The Perfect Pitch – How you approach each location is essential. Think of it as an audition or job interview. The person(s) who will ultimately decide your fate is a manager or owner. Present yourself as a professional. Showing up with shorts and t shirt may not give the best impression. You don’t need to be wearing a full suit and tie, but a dress shirt with a nice pair of jeans will do the trick. Prepare a brief overview of what you intend to do and what the project entails. That owner is going to want assurances that his place is in good hands. Having an outline, shot list or even mood board will help you explain the project and make you look good.
- Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse – Sometimes money is not enough, or more likely, you don’t have enough money. This is where you can get creative, especially with smaller venues. Film crews tend to draw a lot of attention. Offer them exposure; a shout out on twitter or some behind the scenes photos for the their Facebook page. Social media is great way to create buzz for your company as well as their company. If you’re location is a restaurant or bar, have them cater lunch for the cast and crew – guaranteed business! And let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want to eat on the set of a 522 production?
- Go With Who You Know – Look up some old locations where you’ve shot in the past. If you’ve left a good impression, chances are they’ll welcome you back the next time around. Keep contact information for every location you use so you know exactly who to call in the future. Securing a familiar location also minimizes any logistical concerns like parking and load-in.
- Be Resourceful – When all else fails, use what you have. Shoot in your living room, your basement or the woods behind your house. Get creative with your space and make the most out of it. At 522, we’ll often transform our studio into a living room, office space or press conference. You can save time and money by keeping things in house.
Finding the right location can be challenging. However, these tips should help focus your options and help you find the right location to shoot your video.
If you want to read more on location scouts, here is a past post and video we did explaining what a location scout is.