Sorry for the radio silence over the past few weeks. I’ve been busy gallavanting around the world with precious little time to post to the blog. However, all is not lost and you guys get a post today!
Whilst I’ve been away, Jack and Craig have been chasing up various bits and pieces. Craig is being very brave and attacking the budget and Jack has been politely accosting universities asking about permission to use their buildings for filming.
Locations are crucial to low budget films and short films particularly. I can always tell instantly that it’s someone’s bedroom dressed to look like an office or it’s a bathroom in a pokey flat that’s doubling for a school toilet block. The key to low budget filmmaking is production value. Just because you have no money, that doesn’t mean it has to look like you have no money. You can cheat so much on film. You just have to think laterally.
The other key thing I’ve found about locations and low budget filmmaking is that you want them close together. Ideally, you only want one location change for the entire shoot. Even better, no changes at all. It costs less money, it saves time and it creates much less stress on shoot day and there will be more than enough of that as it is. So be willing to compromise if you have to.
I’m not going to lie to you, blogosphere. This has been pretty tough. Jack is doing a superb job. Our locations are pretty simple – two classrooms, a library and something that looks like a main entrance to a university. We started brainstorming fairly widely – the script is set at a college, but we thought that we might be able to cheat a high school as one as we had access to one. We listed universities that had a film course that might be a tad more lenient when it came to requests to shoot. We had a list of about six or seven (helped immensely by Jack and Craig’s insider knowledge because I know nothing about London universities) and Jack started from that.
We’ve hit two main problems so far.
The first is money. Most places want to charge us a location fee that is generally over £500. One university wanted over £1,000! In a perfect world, we’d get a location for free. At the moment, both those figures are out of our price range. But, again, we will look at compromise. We haven’t done a recce on any locations yet. If there’s one that’s particularly perfect, we’ll figure out a way to meet the figure if we need to.
The second is that a lot of universities won’t allow us to shoot in their libraries. I don’t particularly understand why. At any rate, we were thinking about looking at a second location for the library but a location move on a shoot where we (in theory) don’t really need to move, I’m not entirely enthused about the idea of it. I’m confident we can find somewhere that will meet all our criteria. It’s simply a matter of digging deep enough to find the location gold or working out a compromise that will work for both shoot and script.
Wish us luck!
Any suggestions on how you handle location hunting? I’d love to hear what you guys think!