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Reel Opportunities

Location Manager

What does a Location Manager do?

The location in which a film is set has a huge impact on its look, feel and story. It’s the job of Location Managers to find that place in the physical world and make sure it’s accessible, safe, and not too expensive to hire.

Based on scripts and discussions with the Director, Production Designers, and other department heads, Location Managers start their research. They might be looking for deserts, stately homes, or shady underpasses. They arrange visits to the locations, take photographs, detailed notes, start discussions with the location owners and work out costs. They present their findings to the Director and, once approved, negotiate and confirm contracts with owners.

Once filming has started, Location Managers manage the location. They make sure everyone in the cast and crew knows how to get there. They negotiate parking, noise reduction, power sources, catering requirements, and any official permissions that may be needed with the site’s management or owner. They are responsible for ensuring it’s safe.

After the shoot, they make sure that the location is cleaned and locked up, before returning it to its owners in a satisfactory condition. Any damage must be reported to the production office and any insurance claims dealt with.

What's a Location Manager good at?
  • Sourcing locations

    Have an eye for architecture, knowledge of landscapes, ability to research and visualize how a location could be turned into a set

  • Interest in photography

    Take good photographs of locations to present to the rest of the production team

  • Law

    Know how to comply with public liability, trespass, public highway, and health, and safety legislation

  • Negotiation

    Get the best price for the location and facilities

  • Organization

    Plan, budget, attend to detail, and spot potential problems in advance

  • Communication

    Work sensitively with location owners, members of the public, and production colleagues

  • Not getting lost

    Have a good sense of direction and the ability to read maps

Who does a Location Manager work with?

Assistant Location Manager or Location Scout
Assistant Location Managers must prepare movement orders and assist with scouting or additional locations by researching, photographing, and making appointments to meet with owners and residents. If a location is approved, the Assistant Location Manager organizes technical visits for heads of other departments. During production, they are responsible for writing and distributing letters to local residents informing them about the filming and liaising between the crew and location owners. At the end of each day, they help the unit manager to clear and tidy the location and set.

Location Production Assistant
Location trainees or locations production assistants assist the locations manager and assistant locations manager on set.

How do I become a Location Manager?

Some key skills to becoming a good Location Manager include the ability to read, understand and draft contracts, logistical and administrative skills, take photos, drive a car, and interact with people in a professional manner. While there is no direct educational route to become a Location Manager, some have a background in geography, real estate. Gaining experience on-set as a Locations PA, and working towards the locations department is an excellent way to get into the field.

Here are some tips:

Take a health and safety course: This can be a valuable skill on set, especially when working with equipment and vehicles. Taking a course in health and safety can set you apart from other candidates.

Learn to drive: If possible, get access to a car. This makes you more versatile and means you can help more.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.