Factors To Consider Before Paying For A Location

SO YOU’VE DECIDED TO RENT A LOCATION

Permission

You need the owner’s permission. Confirm that they are indeed the owner, not a tenant. This includes businesses as well. You will then negotiate the terms (fees, date and times, etc.) and put those into a location agreement, which can be found here. While location agreements are not always required, they are strongly recommended.  

Existing Light

How does the sun affect your location? Can the windows be blacked-out for “night” scenes to be shot during the day? Is it in a canyon that only gets a few hours of sun each day. Check the location at night if you plant to shoot there at night. 

Sound

Consider air traffic, street noise, machinery, appliances, pets and children (e.g., is there a school nearby?)  

Access 

With exterior locations confirm your cast and crew can get to the set and there is ample parking and road access. For interiors, you need to confirm all the above in addition to making sure equipment can be loaded in. Is an elevator available? Stairs? Ramps? 

Restrictions

Are there time limitations? Some communities limit the hours of filming. Will you be restricted to the number of people or vehicles you can bring to the location, or the type of scene you can stage at the particular place? 

Electrical Power

Is there sufficient power for your lighting needs? Will you have to rent a generator? 

Destructibility

How “student-proof” is your location? Are there fragile objects too valuable to replace? Can you afford it? 

Neighbors

If your scene involves stopping traffic, blocking streets, working late at night or creating an inconvenience in some way you need to make sure the neighbors are agreeable – in advance. 

Comfort and Safety

Will the location be a safe and comfortable place in which to work? Is there a place where actors can change, rest areas and bathrooms? Is there proper air-conditioning, heating or ventilation? Is the location structurally sound and free of toxic materials? Are medical, fire and police stations close? 

Don’t settle for the first location you find. Look for multiple options to choose from and provide backups in case a location falls through. 

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