Author: Tony

Location Scouting

Here are some guidelines & policies as you begin location scouting for your project. Typically on most projects, searching for locations is a team effort, led mostly by the Director and Producer, though other pre-pro crew members can certainly assist. It is fine if someone other than the Producer makes initial contact with the location owner, but the Producer should be the one who completes all of the paperwork with them.


When showing up at someone’s home, be sure to take safety precautions. Not everyone appreciates having strangers show up at their front door. Being able to show some credentials will help identify you as a film student.

  • Here is a link to our Location Pamphlet in the handbook that you can print and hand out to them.
  • You should also have your student ID on you for further identification.
  • You can also check out from the ER a large car magnet with the FSU logo and “Location Scouting Vehicle” on it that you can put on your car door.
  • Consider going in pairs so you know someone’s got your back.

Also be vigilant about COVID risks as you evaluate each location.

Location Searching

You can do a virtual scout through Google maps/street view. If you need to know who owns a particular property, you can do a search on the Leon County Property Appraiser site. Searching by address, or pointing to it on a map, will show you who owns the property. Then you’ll need to do some more google-sleuthing to find out their contact info.

You can also look for locations by driving around and just showing up at the location to ask in person. Be considerate of the time of day (e.g. if it’s a home, then not too early in the morning nor after dark; if it’s a restaurant, not during their lunch rush).

We do not currently have a searchable location database. If you know of a location that was used in a previous project, you can find that project in Motion and find the location info under the Location tab for that project.


Always be professional and courteous. Remember that you’re asking them to do you a big favor. Be sure to discuss:

  • all of the logistics involved
  • the content of the script (especially if there may be anything objectionable)
  • the dates (not just production, but pre-pro also for tech scouting, set dressing, shot designing, photoboarding, etc)
  • the spaces you want to use (not just set, but also all the equipment staging areas, greenroom, craft services, parking, etc)

Location Rental fees

Historically, we have seldom had to pay to use a location. Most of the time, people have been very generous in allowing us to film without charging us anything. The exception to this may be for places that normally charge for their use (e.g. a hotel room), or that require that you pay one of their employees to be there on the shoot date (e.g. at a business). If they do want to charge you, make sure you’re clear on what the rate will be.


While location scouting, be sure to complete a Location Hazard Assessment form. This will help you identify any hazards that may be at that location. If there are any, and you’re still planning to use that location then you must also complete a Hazard Notification form for each hazard, detailing how the production will deal with the hazard in a safe manner.

Ask the location owner the questions that are listed on the Location Shooting Plan Agreement and fill in the answers they give you. Do not give them a blank form and ask them to fill it out for you. Then have them sign on page 2 and give them a copy of this form for their reference. You will also complete and have them sign a Location Agreement.

Thumbnail Templates

Production Paperwork

Horizontal thumbnail template

Vertical thumbnail template


Thumbnail images will be used in displays online (Vimeo, YouTube, etc). Since some websites use horizontal thumbnails (1920×1080) and some use vertical thumbnails (1200×1600), you will deliver one of each.


  • Save a flattened JPG file (maximum file size 2MB) and a layered PSD file (also deliver any custom fonts used).
  • Keep all of your layers inside the appropriate folders, so that everything remains well-organized when you deliver the final Photoshop file. Make sure all of your layers have appropriate names, so that someone else could make sense of what each layer is.

Do Not:

  • Do not adjust the dimensions or resolution of the file. It’s set up to meet the specs needed for online viewing.
  • Note these online content restrictions for the thumbnails:
    • No nudity or sexually provocative content
    • No hate speech
    • No violence
    • No harmful or dangerous content

Documentary Reporting

Project Meeting

The Director(s) of each project will have a required Zoom meeting with Valerie some time during the project’s production window. Each team should schedule those meeting times with Valerie and add them to your Production Schedule in Google sheets.

Daily Reporting

Each group must post a report in the group’s Slack channel by midnight (EST) every day from Feb 28 – Mar 18. Missing, late, or incomplete reports will result in a grade reduction for all members of the group. Directors should post on their shoot days, and anyone can post on non-shoot days.

Each day’s report should include the following information:

1. Wellness Check

  • Indicate whether everyone is feeling OK, or if anyone has any COVID symptoms, such as a fever, chills, shortness of breath, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, nausea, and loss of smell or taste.

2. What did you accomplish today?

  • A short summary of the day’s events

3. Photo of the day

  • If it was a shoot day, then include a behind-the-scenes photo.
  • If it was not a shoot day, then any photo that is indicative of the day’s events.

4. Any additional concerns

  • Any incidents, accidents, delays, equipment problems, etc.

Budget (Doc)

Each student will be allocated $140 to go toward documentary production expenses. These funds can be used in the following categories:

  • Petty Cash (which includes production design, production supplies, music or stock image licenses). You can pay for these expenses out of pocket, then get reimbursed.
  • Travel (if traveling away from Tallahassee, can include fuel, airfare, lodging, car rental, and meals). With the exception of fuel and meals, the school needs to book these expenses directly for you in advance. Do not pay out of pocket for any of these if you plan to use the school funds. You can pay for fuel and meals out of pocket, then get reimbursed.
  • Services (if you need to hire someone, like a composer). The school needs to pay for services directly, and this must be initiated at least 1 week prior to services beginning.

In order for the funds to be released to you, each student will need to submit a Budget Sheet to the Head of Production showing how you intend to use those funds. Once the budget is approved, instructions will be provided on the process for using those funds depending on which category your expenses fall within.

This is a “use-it-or-lose-it” budget.

Doc Schedule Overview

Jan 5 – Feb 25Development & Pre-Production
Feb 10Doc Group Logistics Meetings
Feb 23Doc Group Greenlight Meetings
Feb 24Equipment Check-Out
Feb 28 – Mar 18Documentary Production
Mar 22Equipment Check-In
Mar 22-31Paper Edits
Mar 31 – Apr 20Post Production
Apr 24Documentary Screening

D1 Handoff Chart

Below is a chart showing the handoff of the following items from one show to the next during the D1 cycle.

  • Media Cards
  • Production iPads
  • Walkies
  • Script Supervisor Laptops
  • Camera Batteries

Map to Critchfield Hall


Critchfield Hall is located approximately 10 miles northwest of the school’s main home in University Center A:

When providing directions to cast and crew, you can use the PDF above or share this link to Google Maps.

Pro tip: When heading towards Critchfield Hall, the final traffic light you hit (right after you pass the I-10 freeway) requires a complete stop on red. There’s a good chance you’ll get a ticket if you roll through on a red.

Producer Responsibilities (D1)


  • Assist the Director in Location Scouting.
  • Secure each filming location by completing a Location Agreement and Shooting Plan. Make sure the location owner is clear about the nature of the production, and provide them with a Location Pamphlet.
  • Organize the Tech Scout of the location with the ATL. Establish where the restrooms, parking, staging, base camp and set will be. Complete a Location Hazard Assessment Checklist. If any location hazards, then also complete a Hazard Notification Report.
  • Have each actor sign a Performance Agreement.
  • Arrange for volunteers and/or extras if required.
  • Break down the script and create the Production Schedule in Scenechronize.
  • Create a Setup Schedule with the Director and DP (based on the shot list put together by the Director and DP).
  • Prepare all scheduling information and other materials required for Directors Prep.
  • Attend Directors Prep and takes notes for the Director.
  • Assist the Director with any and all logistical needs to prepare for principal photography.
  • Run the Production Meeting by reading the action of the script. Answer crew members’ questions. Have each crew member sign a Crew Deal Memo.
  • Prepare all the paperwork needed on set.
  • Check the weather periodically to monitor adverse conditions. Have a back-up plan.
  • Purchase Craft Services by the night before production.
  • Pre-order lunch and arrange for it to be picked up by a volunteer on the day of production.
  • Have a Greenlight Meeting with the Head of Production, during which you will:
    • Show all completed Location Documents.
    • Follow through on any questions that were brought up in the previous Producer Meeting.
  • Following the D1 Handoff Chart, pick up the pertinent items from the Equipment Room.
  • Create the Call Sheet, including a map and set diagram, and email it no later than 12 hours before call time.
  • Double check every logistical piece of information and make sure nothing has been forgotten.

On Set


  • Arrive at set FIRST, at least 30 minutes before call time.
  • Immediately establish contact with the location owner to make sure everything is still going as planned. Check back with them periodically throughout the day as needed.
  • Deliver the craft services to the 2nd AD for them to set up the craft service table.
  • Give the 2nd AD all the paperwork you prepared ahead of time for them to have completed throughout the day.
  • At call time, have a Safety Meeting with the entire crew. Complete the Safety Meeting Report and have a Shop Steward sign it to verify it was completed.


  • Run through the 1st AD Set Procedure: Block, New Deal, Build, Rehearse, Shoot…
  • Manage the time on the set by keeping up with the Setup Schedule. Adjust schedule as needed.
  • Look ahead to next setups and make sure departments are prepared and working ahead.
  • Verify with volunteer or caterer that lunch will be brought to set in time to set it up prior to releasing for lunch.


  • When it is time for lunch, release the cast & crew for lunch.
  • Make periodic announcements on time remaining on lunch.
  • Make sure lunch does not exceed one hour.


  • At Camera Wrap, make sure crew wraps safely and efficiently. Make sure to have Company Wrap on time.
  • Collect all the Daily Production Paperwork and Camera Card from the 2nd AD.
  • With 2nd AD, clean and secure location. Be the LAST TO LEAVE (except perhaps Art Dept).
  • Whenever possible, do a walk-thru with the location owner to verify everything is in order.
  • Leave the location better than when you arrived.
  • Approve the Daily Production Report and have 2nd AD distribute copies at the end of the day.


  • Turn in Camera Reports and Camera Card to the cubby in the ingest room in the Post Hall as soon as possible after wrap. Be sure to scan a copy of the Camera Report first for your delivery.
  • Turn in Production Delivery Paperwork via OneDrive to the Head of Production by 9am Thursday after production.