What is a Location Scout?

The location scout helps the director bring the film’s vision to life. They go into the world and find locations that match script and storyboard. With some guidance from the director and producer, the location scout finds places to shoot that coincides with the director’s concepts and fits in the producer’s budget. Scouts will use a combination of online research and direct communication to find great spots to film. The scout will check out potential sets themselves to ensure the best result for the project. Once the scout pinpoints the locations, the location scout will return to the filmmakers and discuss budgeting and logistics. A good scout will find appropriate locations near to each other if possible, presenting the least amount of financial and legal hurdles towards completing the project on budget and on time. The location scout negotiates for the use of the location, works out logistics with the crew and with the local officials who will give permission to film at the location. When the pre-production phase is nearly done, the location scout photographs the location so that everything is returned to its original condition when the crew leaves.

Primary Roles

Find locations to enhance the project’s creativity

Find locations to enhance the project’s creativity

Location scouts primarily find locations to make a film, television show or commercial. The location scout works with the creatives to find sets that will enhance the audience’s experience through authenticity and visual flair. The location scout will research potential locations and then visit them personally to see the actual site. This helps with logistics; whether a site is easy to reach or features any obstacles that may detract from the shoot. The location scout also makes sure that the locations chosen don’t drive the film’s budget out of control through unwieldly ordinances, taxes or fees.

Secure use of the desired location

Secure use of the desired location

Once the producers and director sign off on the locations, it is up to the location scout to make sure the production follows local ordinances. The location scout works out any negotiation with property owners, like lease agreements. Film shoots will be disruptive to local communities, and locals could potentially disrupt a set. The location scout will work with local officials to seal off shooting locations from traffic, getting law enforcement to set up barriers and direct traffic away from the set.

Secondary roles

Logistics

Logistics

The location scout may assist with set direction, getting special props on set and moving crew from location to location. The location scout will make sure the crew returns the location to the condition it was in before shooting began.

Budget assistance

Budget assistance

Location related issues might crop up during filming that requires extra expenditures. In addition to pre-production budgeting, the location scout may help determine additional costs like labor, local fees and the cost of breaking down a set.