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What is a Location Manager?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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A location manager is a member of a film or television production team who is responsible for handling the details of filming on location. Many films and television shows like to film on location because it provides access to interesting locations and resources which cannot be duplicated on a sound stage. It is the job of the location manager to make on location shoots go smoothly, usually with the assistance of one or more assistant location managers and other support crew.

In many cases, the location manager is also the location scout. During the development stages of a film or television episode, the location manager meets with other key members of the crew while they break down the script and storyboards to determine what is needed for the production. The location manager generates a list of needed locations and talks with the director about what is visualized for each location. For example, if a field is needed for battle scenes in an epic, the location manager wants to know what kind of field the director envisions.

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Using this information, the location manager scouts possible sites for shooting. If there are going to be multiple location shoots, an effort is usually made to find sites close together, so that the cast and crew are not bouncing all over the world. However, in some cases, it may be necessary for location shoots to be in radically different locations. For example, many films set in Britain film a few key shots in British locations, and relocate to Eastern Europe to complete shooting because the production costs there are lower. Production costs are one of the many issues location managers think about.

Once locations are identified, the location manager handles the logistics of filming. This includes getting permission and approvals to film, handling all necessary permits, organizing local crew who will be needed to assist, alerting people in the area to the fact that film will be occurring, and interacting with the community to keep relations between the film crew and community members smooth. This is especially important in frequently used locations, where positive relations between the film and television industry and the community are critical so that these locations can continue to be utilized.

This job can be a lot of work, but it is also exciting. A great deal of travel is involved, and the location manager also has to handle numerous details, and to be prepared for emergency situations. For example, if a location is destroyed by a natural disaster, the location manager needs to act fast to keep filming on schedule.

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