What is a Location Manager?

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Live action film is a format that is based around the idea of filming in real space. Unlike animation you cannot just create your own location entirely on your own. Whether you are trying to use a real-world location or a studio that you begin construction within, you still need a space to fictionalize for your film story. On larger films there is often a Location Manager assigned to complete this task.

Film Commission

The Location Manager is not usually provided by the studio and is not considered part of the regular above or below the line crew. The film commission of larger, usually urban, states tend to already have a number of locations inspected. They create large databases for easy access when a film is ready to film in a given area. Location Managers are often assigned by the film commission of the area, but if you can you should always try to get your own. This way you can be sure that you have someone who will actually make the best choices for your film. Even if they are a part of the film commission try to work with the same people repeatedly so that you can develop a relationship with them.

The Script

The Location Manager begins analyzing the script and comparing it with available locations. They will go through possible locations that will fit specific spots in the screenplay and then begin sending them to other people in the crew, such as the Director and the Unit Production Manager.

Sound Stage

A Location Manager may or may not find studio space for the production if needed. This often depends on the location of the film commission and the involvement of the Location Manager. This position is much more reliable for finding field locations that fit your needs.

The Next Step

After the Location Manager finds all of the primary locations the task is then passed to other positions, mainly the Producer and art department, to secure it and then prepare it for filming. The way you really determine the effectiveness of a Location Manager is if they can really see what your script requires and finds locations that not only meet the practical considerations but will also elevate the mood and tone you are looking for in your aesthetics and story space.

This post is part of the series: The Film Industry

Different Topics In the film business.

  1. What is a “Package?”
  2. What is a Creative Executive?
  3. What is a Location Manager?
  4. What is “Turnaround?”
  5. What is the Difference Between an Agent and a Manager?
  6. What Is a “Back End?”