Becoming a film production location scout is typically easier for people who already have some experience within the entertainment industry. There is much more to scouting locations for a film than simply having a look around interesting places.
Although some movies are filmed largely within the confines of a studio complete with prefabricated sets that can appear quite authentic, most films need some shots that are filmed in true locations. Directors may have particular areas in mind, or may want to shoot scenes in historical areas to add authenticity to the film. In some instances, it is simply easier to film at a location than it is to recreate the location in a studio.
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How do studios decide where to film scenes that call for locations away from the studio? A film production location scout finds the locations based on the needs of the script and the desires of the director. The location scout may not simply be in charge of finding the location, but may also need to research the feasibility of filming in that area. Will the local government allow the filming, and if so, what permits will be required? Will the community be receptive to hosting a film production? Are there sufficient resources nearby to temporarily house the cast and crew for the filming? These are the types of questions a location scout has to address when considering a location for filming.
Becoming a Film Production Location Scout
For many people, becoming a film production location scout is about being in the right place at the right time. Many location scouts started out in another area of the film industry and eased into this role because of an interest for seeking out interesting locations.
For people who want to become a location scout, yet who do not have previous experience within the film industry, there are still ways to obtain this career.
Enter the Film Industry
A position on a movie crew can be a good start toward becoming a film production location scout. Getting a job as an assistant to anyone on the film crew who works on the logistical side of the film can be a great option because these are the people who make the film happen. Beginning jobs within the film industry are typically not very glamorous, but they can be a valuable stepping stone to ease into the position you really want.
Develop A Good Eye
Film production location scouts can take a glance at a location and immediately know whether or not the area will be suitable for filming. Scouts will look at how the light lands on a building, or will study the traffic patterns in busy metropolitan areas to quickly assess whether or not the location will work.
Become Culturally Aware
Movies are filmed around the globe, and for this reason location scouts should demonstrate the ability to speak to people in a variety of cultures in ways that are respectful yet persuasive. In other words, Film scouts must be able to show that they will not offend the locals.
Obtain Field-Related Education
There are many people working within the film industry who have no college education, but people who want to jump right into a career as a film scout will have a better chance of getting hired if they have some educational credentials to back up their ability to get the job done. Film degrees are a good option, but so are other degrees that demonstrate the ability to think logistically.
Starting with small productions can be a good way to get your foot in the door as a location scout for a major studio. Once in a while, ads will pop up on Craigslist and other websites asking for people to take on the task of finding locations for small productions for a small fee. These jobs typically entail getting the details of what the film company is looking for and then taking to the local area with a camera and snapping photos of possible locations. This seems like a simple task, and oftentimes it can be quite simple for smaller productions, but the experience can be incredibly valuable for your resume.
Get whatever experience you can within the film industry, all while working toward your desired career as a film scout. The more experience you can boast, the likelier you will be to land the job you want.