Writing Short Films: Location

Location is a really important aspect of low budget filmmaking that a lot of writers may not take in to consideration when writing a short. Fantastic locations add immense production value to your film and if your film looks snazzy, your script is fab and your actors zing, then you can take over the world.

Set your film a location that you have access to.

Really think about what you DO have access to. All the places you might be able to sweet talk someone into letting you use. I used to work in a restaurant, spoke to my boss about a short film I was writing and asked if we’d be able to shoot it there. The answer was yes. Suddenly the film stands out against others that are shot in someone’s lounge room.

Have you got access to somewhere different? A farm? A house by the beach? A skyscraper with a view of the Thames? A nightclub? Somewhere that someone else probably wouldn’t have access to? Go for it. Set your film there if you know you’ll most likely be able to swing the location. Make it easier for yourself to get your work made.

Likewise, if you visit somewhere and fall in love with it, then look into how hard it is to get permission to shoot there. It might be really simple. It might be really difficult. But at least you’ll know how much work you’ll have to do to get your film into production. You might not even have to do any of the leg work if you get a producer or production manager on board, but arm yourself with the knowledge of how difficult it’s going to be to shoot in the middle of the MCG before you write it.

It really is amazing how much difference it makes to set your film in a location that doesn’t scream ‘low budget’. Of course, there are certain films that have to be set in a lounge room or an office or a bedroom – that’s where production design comes in.

Think about what you’ve got in your arsenal and use it to your advantage.

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