When you see Arnold Schwarzenegger wielding a shotgun, protecting a young John Connor, what is the first thought that pops into your head? Probably “Do NOT mess with this guy!”
Well, let’s pretend Arnold is your location manager and John is a beautiful house you are using for a production. I know, a bit far-reaching, but just go with it. It’s the best metaphor I could come up with today.
This is how everyone working on set should view the locations they are shooting in; “do not mess with this location manager and their location!”
After working for 12 hours, the fact is that people get exhausted and want to go home as quickly as possible. It is usually during this time that damage is done to a location. As the location manager, (or sometimes production coordinator or any number of positions on a smaller production) it is your duty to protect the location you booked for your shoot.
Here are the 6 best ways to protect your location prior to shoot!
1. LAY DOWN FLOOR MATS
There will always be people coming in and out of the location; Production Assistants making coffee runs, Assistant Cameras grabbing gaffer tape, etc. The weather outside isn’t always sunny and the crew could have been walking in mud, making the floor inside pretty messy. Laying down floor mats throughout the location will protect the floor from getting dirty and from being damaged; make sure all the mats are laid down close together so you do not leave any openings to the floor.
2. BLOCK OFF AREAS THAT ARE NOT BEING USED
If there is a part of a location that is not being used for a shoot, such as a laundry room, block it off. Using rolls of corrugated cardboard will do the trick quite nicely, roll out a wall to block off any part of the location the crew should not be in. If you want to take extra steps, put up signs or caution tape on the corrugated cardboard to be 100% sure no crew member will cross that wall. As well, use the cardboard to cover the walls.
3. BUBBLE WRAP
If there is a chance that the door knobs or railings will be exposed, bubble wrap is your best friend. Thoroughly bubble wrap door knobs and railings to make sure they are secure. Everyone can still use them, but now they are protected with chances of damage greatly reduced. It is also best to bubble wrap all fragile small or large objects that have to stay on set.
4. REMOVE ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT BELONG
When dressing a set, crew will usually move things that are in their way; sometimes a thing or two could be damaged or lost. To avoid that, put valuable away. Designate an area of the location to store objects, block off the area from crew to reduce risk of damage.
5. COVER FURNITURE WITH SOUND BLANKETS
As comfy as a leather couch is to sit on, if it’s not in the scene, it has to be covered. Though we recommend moving it into another room, if it has to stay, make sure to put a sound blanket on it.
6. HAVE A MEETING WITH YOUR FILM CREW
The director will always call a camera meeting, why not assume responsibility as the location manager and call a location meeting on the first day of the shoot? A short meeting with the crew will keep the location top of mind for them throughout production. Inform the crew to be careful how they bring in equipment, areas that are out of bounds, etc. It is a 10 minute conversation that can make a huge difference on your production.
HOT TIP: If you are in our hometown of Toronto, you can rent supplies or get location services from White’s LES – Location Equipment Supply. We have seen many productions work with them and recommend their services. If you prefer to buy the supplies yourself, you can buy supplies from Home Depot, Staples, and Canada Mats.
What other techniques could you use to protect a location? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.