Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Why Locations Managers pay for themselves.

“The most stressful work is definitely that of a location manager” this is advice I was given on the first production I worked on back in 2003. The very first words if you are interested were “please get a decaf vanilla latte with no cream for the director”

We all know this job can be a stressful, but very rewarding. Over the years I always used to deal with location managers exclusively. Typically these guys are very cool under pressure, manage property owners well and certainly know what they are doing. Now that I’m running a location agency  I’m noticing progressively that more and more productions have now got the production manager, producer and even the director to fill the role. All well and good if it is low budget and you need to cut costs, but in my experience this method can never match the efficiency you will get by hiring an experienced Location Manager.

I have just completed another shoot which did not have a location manager on board. The shoot did not go well. Along with various parking issues they encountered on the shoot day, the production also took it upon themselves to redecorate parts of the property without prior permission. Needless to say the resulting parking fines and the cost of redecoration far exceeded what a location manager would have cost for the shoot period. In my humble opinion this production got let off fairly lightly, I’ve also encountered shoots that have occurred on private property without ANY prior permission, on these occasions the cost to the production has been significantly more given that the whole team have been thrown off site and spent the rest of the day with nothing to do. 

Who knows the answer to this in the long run. It is understood that a production will always be limited by the budget they are given but I would have thought that the quantifiable cost of a location manager would be far more favourable than the unknown and potentially disastrous costs that may arise from not having one?