Location Scouting

Here are some guidelines & policies as you begin location scouting for your project.

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.

COVID-19 Protocols

Be particularly vigilant about following covid protocols. Here is some more info on this in the handbook.

Safety

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.

Communication

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.

Documentation

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.

Location Search Responsibilities

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.