Scouting locations for your film

Location scouting is an important part of preparing to shoot your film. A location says a lot about the story and its characters, whether it’s intentional or not. The locations used in Spike Jonze’s “Her” set it in the future and the house used in John Cassavetes’s “A Woman Under the Influence” sets the characters up as blue collar workers.

I recently read an article titled “5 Mistakes That Every Amateur Filmmaker Makes” that mentioned “white walls.” The article said that white walls are an obvious giveaway that a film was made by amateurs. Although I found the article to be a bit headstrong, I do agree. The house I used in my film has white walls and I think it somewhat takes away from my film, simply because it does not add any emotion to the picture. The way that films like Kubrick’s “The Shining” and “Eyes Wide Shut” use interior design to convey emotion is very effective and subliminal. Where as those very decorative walls help build the world, white walls don’t do anything at all for the world, except maybe say it’s bland. So when location scouting, try to find places that don’t have white walls, unless you want to use white walls for some aesthetic reason.

Another thing to think about when location scouting is availability. Although you may get permission from a restaurant to shoot your movie there, they may have very limited hours or availability to shoot there. For my film, I had to completely rewrite my final scene because the location I was planning on shooting at was closed. So make sure your locations are locked down and available.

Locations are important! Take some time and think about what locations would best help to tell your story and are available.

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