1399754821Under the Skin © 2013 Film4 and BFI

Location Manager (Film)

Film | High End TV
Personality type:
Locations | Production

The lowdown

  • Finding ideal locations for a film shoot
  • Negotiating fees, terms and permissions
  • Managing the location during the shoot

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • Have plenty of initiative
  • Be able to visualise and find potential locations
  • Have excellent organisational skills
  • Have good negotiating skills
  • Have an understanding of location fees
  • Be able to work within budgets
  • Understand contracts
  • Understand local authority processes for permits
  • Have good problem solving skills
  • Have good communication skills
  • Be reliable and enthusiastic
  • Be flexible and able to work long hours
  • Have a full driving licence
  • Have a good working knowledge of health and safety requirements

What does a Location Manager do?

The Location Managers' primary role is to identify and find ideal locations for a film shoot. They report to the Producer, Director and Production Designer

The search for exactly the right location can take months of research and scouting.  Work starts in pre-production, to understand the Director’s creative vision for the film. This helps the Location Manager make the right decisions about potential locations.

They also have to take into account accessibility, the shooting schedule and budget. They have to negotiate the cost and terms of the hire, crew and vehicle access, parking, noise reduction, power sources, catering requirements and any official permissions that may be needed. They often use a photographic storyboard to illustrate their findings back in the production office.

Once filming has started, Location Managers are in charge of managing all aspects of shooting in each location. They have to make sure that everyone in the cast and crew knows how to get to the filming location, that it has been signposted clearly along main routes.

During filming, Location Managers oversee the health and safety of everyone using the location. 

After the shoot, have to make sure that the location cleaned and locked up, before returning it to its owners in a satisfactory condition. Any damage must be reported to the production office and any insurance claims dealt with.

Location Managers are usually the first to arrive on location and the last to leave, so the hours can be long and unsocial. On larger productions, Location Managers may supervise Assistant Location Managers and/or Location Scouts. These team members assist the Location Manager in all aspects.

Will I need a qualification?

You don’t need a formal qualification to become a Location Manager. If you can complete any health and safety training course, this is extremely useful. 

What's the best route in?

You can learn on the job as a Runner. Once you have experience, you can progress to the role of Location Scout, or Assistant Location Manager to an established Location Manager.

Interested? Find out more…

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


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