Film locations are often their own characters in itself. Think about Hogwarts in Harry Potter, the house in Parasite, or jury deliberation room in 12 Angry Men. The setting of the film is equally as important to the storytelling as a certain character or an incident. Film locations where action takes place are often packed with symbolism, visual storytelling, and sometimes acts as a creative limitation.

However building expensive set pieces, or deciding to shoot in a highly populated area, might now appeal to you as a first-time filmmaker. Closing location deals might sometimes be a hassle. However, setting is a vital element in film production, one that should be effectively reviewed.

Here are elements that beginning filmmakers should consider when dealing with locations on low budget films.

Choosing the Right Film Location

If you are a beginning filmmaker, one of the biggest challenges you will encounter is trying to have as small a budget as possible. And you can really save a lot by choosing the right film location for the production.

This is something that needs to be considered as early as the screenwriting process. A lot of great films with a relatively small budget are set in the same location. On one hand, this decreases the scope of the film. Yet, it can act as a creative limitation and produce some remarkable results.

Think about movies like Hitchcock’s Rear Window or Polanski’s Carnage set in a single venue. These films have left a last-longing impact on the viewers, yet the premise and setting is so simple.

When writing your script, think about how you can simplify the story, and attempt to tailor it for a single location. Consider the places that are available to you (such as a friend’s house or relative’s restaurant) that can help you cut down the costs. You want to shoot at a film location that will provide as few interruptions as possible. You’ll be surprised how many people will agree to let you shoot based on your enthusiasm and passion.

Film Location Permits and Permissions

Even when you close the deal on your film location, in some cases you can’t start shooting until you get all the necessary paperwork done. A variety of states, counties and municipalities often require you to file shooting permits. Without them, you won’t be able to access the film location and record its legality.

This applies to, in particular, many public and private venues in the US. However, some potential film locations in Europe may also require shooting permits. Especially if you would like to seal off a public area for filming purposes and allow no people in. Without special authorisation for a film location, people will be able to pass by, and thus, interrupt your shooting.

Before you start shooting, make sure you are cleared with all the legislative bodies in regards to shooting in a particular film location. if you don’t want to break a law and get fined, that is.

Overall, managing to close a deal on a film location might seem like an intimidating and a complicated process. Yet, it is vital for a successful film production. Make sure you do enough research on all the potential documents that are required, have an accessible location in mind, and make sure you find the ways to minimize the costs for the location.

Then you are good to go and shoot the film!

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Writer and Screenwriter

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