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Location Manager

The Location Managers' primary role is to identify and find ideal locations for a film shoot, reporting to the Producer, Director and Production Designer. The role also involves negotiating with each location's owners about a number of issues, such as the cost and terms of the hire, crew and vehicle access, parking, noise reduction, and what official permissions may be required. Once filming has begun, Location Managers are in charge of managing all aspects of shooting in each location, and also ensuring that every location is handed back to its owners in a satisfactory condition after the shoot.

On larger productions, Location Managers may supervise Assistant Location Managers and/or Location Scouts, each of whom support and assist the Location Manager in finding the ideal location, and in all matters relating to its use for filming.

What is the job?
In pre-production, Location Managers must work closely with the Director to understand his or her creative vision for the film. This informs Location Managers' decisions when identifying and visiting potential locations, together with issues such as accessibility, and the flexibility of the schedule and budget. They usually compile a photographic storyboard in the production office in order to report back on their findings.  

Location Managers' primary role is to identify and find ideal locations for a film shoot, reporting to the Producer, Director and Production Designer.  The role also involves negotiating with each location's owners about a number of issues, such as the cost and terms of the hire, crew and vehicle access, parking, noise reduction, and what official permissions may be required.  Once filming has begun, Location Managers are in charge of managing all aspects of shooting in each location, and also ensuring that every location is handed back to its owners in a satisfactory condition after the shoot. 

On larger productions, Location Managers may supervise Assistant Location Managers and/or Location Scouts, each of whom support and assist the Location Manager in finding the ideal location, and in all matters relating to its use for filming.

Responsibilities
In pre-production, Location Managers must work closely with the Director to understand his or her creative vision for the film.  This informs Location Managers' decisions when identifying and visiting potential locations, together with issues such as accessibility, and the flexibility of the schedule and budget.  They usually compile a photographic storyboard in the production office in order to report back on their findings.  Once the ideal location is agreed, Location Managers begin negotiations over contracts and fees for the location, and make all the necessary arrangements for filming to take place, including co-ordinating parking facilities, available power sources, catering requirements, and permissions from the relevant authorities.

Location Managers are also responsible for ensuring that everyone in the cast and crew knows how to get to the filming location, and they must display clear 'location' or 'unit' signs along main routes.  During filming, Location Managers oversee the health and safety of everyone using the location.  After the shoot, they must ensure that the location is securely locked, and adequately cleaned, before returning it to its owners.  Any damage must be reported to the production office and, if necessary, insurance proceedings instigated.

Skills
Location Managers need initiative and a strong imagination in order to visualise and find potential locations that will satisfy the Director's requirements.  Excellent organisational skills and the ability to negotiate are essential in order to successfully gain permissions to film in the ideal locations, as well as to keep location fees on budget.  Administrative skills may be required when drawing up contracts and negotiating permissions with local authorities.  Trouble-shooting and communication skills are useful during filming, when Location Managers may need to resolve any unforeseen problems involving the location.  They must also be extremely reliable and flexible - Location Managers are usually the first to arrive on location and the last to leave, so the hours can be long and unsocial.  A high degree of motivation and enthusiasm are required.

Qualifications/Experience
No formal qualifications are required to become a Location Manager.  Industry experience is key, and the best place to start is in the conventional entry-level role of Runner.  Ideally, on-the-job training may then be acquired by progressing to the role of Location Scout, or Assistant to an established Location Manager.  A full driving licence is essential for this role, as is a good working knowledge of health and safety requirements.  The successful completion of any Health and Safety training courses is extremely useful. 

Individual course accreditation in certain subject areas is currently being piloted. As part of Creative Skillset's and the UK Film Council's Film Skills Strategy, A Bigger Future, a network of Screen Academies and a Film Business Academy have been approved as centres of excellence in education and training for film.

Where to go for more information
Creative Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries. The first sources of information for all jobs in the industry are the National Occupational Standards. Browse Creative Skillset's website for links to our network of training partners, information about training and access to the comprehensive Creative Skillset/BFI course database. Finally, Creative Skillset Careers is UK's only specialist media careers advice service; for detailed media careers information and advice, visit http://www.creativeskillset.org/careers/.

Websites
Many cities, regions and countries within the UK have their own film offices offering information and advice on filming on location. Regional Screen Agencies


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