4 Tips Local Filmmakers Should Know for Finding Locations

Finding the perfect location can be a challenge for any filmmaker. Whether starting on your first short, making a feature-length movie, or filming a YouTube video, choosing the right place to shoot is critical for every successful film. Fortunately, various techniques can be used to find great locations, regardless of whether you’re shooting in your hometown or traveling to a new country.

Filming locations provide more than just a backdrop for a scene but also establish the story’s mood, creating an atmosphere of suspense, romance, drama, and more. To make the most of their film’s potential, filmmakers should consider the following four tips for scouting out great locations.

1. Go Digital

The digital age has made it easier than ever to find opportunities for filming in unfamiliar cities. For local filmmakers, the internet enables efficient research to explore new areas and uncover unique local spaces that they may not have known were open to film.

Through digital mapping tools and websites like film locations, filmmakers can explore local filming locations and find out if they can easily access them. Even if a filmmaker cannot visit the physical location beforehand, they can still attain additional information about the different places, such as photos and contact information, before booking a shoot.

2. Take Advantage of Local People and Organizations

Local people and organizations are excellent resources for discovering new filming locations. Filmmakers should consider contacting local film commissions, business associations, historical societies, and other civic groups in cities they plan to visit to get information about filming locations.

Many of these organizations are also a great source for learning about location fees and other regulations that can affect film production. Additionally, these organizations can connect filmmakers with local businesses that might be willing to provide services or rent out their locations for a film shoot.

3. Get Creative

Creativity is a great asset for filmmakers trying to find interesting and unique locations. Some places within a city are especially well-suited for a particular type of movie, such as industrial areas for action films or beautifully scenic parks for romantic comedies.

Even if a location’s primary purpose isn’t to provide a filming site, a filmmaker can still get creative and develop new ways to use existing areas to match the scenes they want to capture. This creative eye is a great strength and can help filmmakers search for unique and exciting locations, regardless of the type of film they are making.

4. Tour In Person and Take Lots of Pictures

Touring potential filming sites in person is always best and will allow the filmmaker to understand better the location’s size, layout, and amenities. If a scouting trip isn’t possible, filmmakers should at least try to take pictures and videos to create a visual reference for the areas. Photos and videos can help compare several locations and get a better site overview before deciding.

Finding the perfect locations for a film can take time and effort, but if done right, it can make all the difference in a project’s success. By utilizing digital tools, taking advantage of local people and organizations, fostering creativity, and touring and taking pictures of potential locations, filmmakers can ensure they are setting themselves up for a successful shoot.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.