For Aspiring Location Scouts / Location Managers

For persons aspiring to become a Location Scout / Location Manager

This is a post I wrote a while back after receiving a number of calls / emails enquiring on the subject of becoming a location scout and / or location manager.

To begin, Wikipedia is a good place to start, in another area of this website is a different post with links to articles on Wikipedia about location scouting, location management and other areas of film / photo and video production:


Location Scout Wikipedia

Location Scout Wikipedia is a collection of references to Wikipedia articles on various subjects of interest to location scouts, location managers and other production personnel. What are presented are links to the articles with short except(s), usually the first paragraph(s) or so; follow the link(s) offsite (*from* Location Scout R. Richard Hobbs – *to* the (complete) article(s) at Wikipedia. Enjoy 🙂

Location Scouts / Location Managers in the News

Location Scouts / Location Managers in the News

News about Location Scouts and Location Managers I have stumbled upon on the interwebs or actually heard about with my very own two fully-functional ears! (or even about ME!


Starting Out as a Location Scout

Starting Out as a beginner in Location Scouting

Occasionally, I get emails asking how to get started in location scouting / location management. I am often suspicious that people that write these letters are looking for a way – ANY way – out of whatever it is they are currently doing (and potentially dislike) rather than actually being genuinely interested in the location services field – It’s a “real” job with lots of responsibility and very well not nearly as glamorous as you might have imagined.

Didja know the Location Department is the department in charge of making sure the trash gets carried away at the end of a shoot?

Also, let’s face it, I am a pretty easy target – a quick email requesting a free look into the crystal ball is a pretty cheap investment in a career and I am pretty easy to find.

… so how might anyone really know they want to be a location scout?

It’s almost like, if they did know, they wouldn’t be asking.

…but that’s just me, and as remote as it might be 😉 there is a distinct possibility that my thinking on this could be flawed.

That said, this is how things happenned for me:

I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (AIFL) in Fort Lauderdale, FL and earned an Associate of Science Degree (AA) in Photography.

Also at the time, I, of course, had aspirations to become a world-famous, world-travelled, filthy-rich, rockstar commercial photographer. When the major ad agencies of the world and top-shelf design firms of the world didn’t beat a path to my door upon graduation, I set about trying to learn more about my craft in the “real” world, seeking work as a photo assistant in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami media markets. At the time I entered the workforce and with considerations toward the size of the market I was in, I found staff positions in short supply, however, there was a blooming market for freelance photo assistants, helped by a blossoming South Beach “media scene” (and of course the generally balmy year-round weather in the region, which includes incredible stretches of pleasant, dry weather in the winter…) being fueled strongly by the fashion industry (as well as interest by advertising and media of many other types…), renovations and rehabilitation of the Art Deco buildings in the South Beach area of Miami Beach and a general boomtown economic environment of South Florida at the time. Miami Vice was in production then. In addition to working with local photographers I had a great opportunity to work with a number of photographers and production companies from all over the world, including a number of European-based teams and teams from New York, southern California and Chicago, to name a few.

One of the photographers I worked with as a photo assistant in south Florida was a fashion advertising photographer from the New York City area, Tom Contrino. I worked as a local second assistant with Tom for two seasons and when his first assistant moved up the ladder to a photographer position in the still life area of the business back in New York City, I was offered an opportunity to move north to the New York City area and become Tom’s full-time, staff first assistant, which I accepted.

In addition to freelance location scouting and production coordination for photography (both of which I discovered very early on that I found very gratifying and enjoyable) once I went to work for Tom I had an opportunity to expand my experience in these areas and learn an enormous amount about what it takes to operate a successful commercial photography business from the inside out and on a day – to – day basis – in addition to jobs we produced for clients, which often at times included location scouting and production coordination, in addition to my regular duties on shoots as a camera assistant and lighting tech, I was soon handling many back end chores such as hiring extra assistants, invoicing, equipment rental / purchasing, insurance inventorying, promotion – it all rolls together in a busy photography business.

My tenure with Contrino Photography also offered me an excellent opportunity to travel and even tho I settled in New Jersey, in the New York City metro area, I travelled quite a bit with Tom for work back to south Florida, to California, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Chicago, and other destinations around the U.S.

Eventually, after six years with Tom, it was, of course, time to move on and I became, once again, temporarily, a freelance photo assistant / production assistant, with aspirations AND experience needed to develop my own freelance location scouting / production business, working with photographer / director / producer clientele; subsequently, providing location services / locations for film / television / photo / events and production services for photography is what my current occupation consists of. Thru networking and marketing / promotion I have extended my location services beyond still photography to include video, motion picture and event clients.

The “new frontier” for me (when I started out there was no email / we photographed locations using print film and made manila paper location folders filled with panoramic photos made by taping together 4×6 color prints…) is HDRi and image-based lighting for digital imaging (still and motion) and I have an association with Q-spheres to this end.

I keep a running blog and online resume of sorts of jobs as I complete them which can be found at

My website and home page, is both a blog and resource for location services and production. Please spend some time on the FAQS page! Use the search page and web and dig around for results for relevant location scouting search terms.

Look on the sidebar, I can be found on most of the popular social networks (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Anyway, that’s how it’s happenned for me – there is no magic formula for entering and developing a successful location scouting career – everybody is different and in the beginning it is often difficult to tell what you are truly interested in personally and / or how / if you might be of problem-solving service to enough people to make a career for yourself. SO much is tied up in personalities, personal priorities and changing needs, business relationships, aptitude and developed skills. – You really may only THINK you want to become a location scout / location manager… The only sure way to find out is to get out there and start DOING.

I always tell aspiring newbie location scouts to look for film school student film projects and productions to work on – attending film school is an excellent background for a location scout, some grounding in filmmaking is a very neccesary prerequisite. Look for start up and no / low budget short films and movies to volunteer for – you get out what you put in – hell, even if you are “just” sweeping the floors, you still get to watch – and learn – you have to expect you are initially likely letting yourself in for a period of going hungry and still, somehow, making ends meet – you have to be generally resourceful, develop keen communication / negotiating and research skills and you have be willing to toot your own horn (without being annoying) – but as you learn and start becoming a problem solver – if you love your work and are good at it, it will show! – making someone’s life easier, they will tell their friends and associates – The rest is yours to discover and grow by.

Get in Media – Location Scout

Get in Media: Location Scout

Information for persons considering a career as a location scout.

Making a film is a lot like selling real estate: Location is everything! A “location” in the film industry is any place filming will be done that is not a studio or a set.

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Location Works – How to Become a Location Manager

Location Works: How to Become a Location Manager

There are those who visit our web-site who get the idea into their heads that they quite fancy becoming a Location Manager. We are reminded of Mr Punch’s advice for those about to get married – Don’t! For those of you brave (or foolhardy) enough to want to ignore this advice, here’s a page which may be of some assistance.

Go For Locations

Go For Locations | Go For Resources | Getting Started in the Film Industry

first written approx. 2003, © 2003-2010

Everybody in the film industry got into it differently. Some people spent years of their lives trying to make a name for themselves, while others got in extremely quickly because of a famous relative or powerful friend. Some got in because of their intelligence and talents, and some got in just by their good looks.

Scouting NY

ScoutingNY: Is The New York Film Academy Worth The Money? A Few Thoughts

The other day, I was scouting the steps of the New York Public Library main branch. I’ve had to do this assignment a million times over the years for various movies and TV shows that want to shoot at the world’s most famous library, and I began thinking how sad it was to know a location so well that there were no surprises left to find.

Kevin Hodder – Location scout – Budget Travel Online

Budget Travel Online | How Location Scout Kevin Hodder Got His Awesome Job

Read our interview with the location scout for Survivor and Treasure Hunters
September 2006 issue | Subscribe to the magazine

BT: How did you get your awesome job?

Kevin: I was working as a mountain guide in my hometown of Whistler, British Columbia. In 1996, the Eco-Challenge Expedition Race came to Whistler. (The Eco-Challenge was a multi-sport endurance race that was held in a different international location each year. It was filmed for television) The Race Technical Director, Scott Flavelle, gave me a job working as a guide for a camera crew on the mountain section of the race course.

Career Profile: Location Scout – Career One

Career Profile: Location Scout

Career Profile: Location Scout: Career Profile: Location scout | By Mark Bretherton | The Courier-Mail | February 18 2006

THERE is a running joke among some photographers and cameramen that when they say they’re going ‘location scouting’, they really mean they are headed for the pub.

However, professional location scouts do exist and they spend many early mornings and late nights looking for interesting buildings which might make good places to shoot commercials, music videos, films or whatever happens to be in the wind.

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Wanderlust – Get paid to travel – become a location scout

Wanderlust: How To Be A Location Scout

Wanderlust Get Paid to Travel | How To Be A Location Scout | By Nick Ray

What could be more exotic and more glamorous than scouting far-flung locations, trying to find the best places for Brad and Angelina to play out their latest blockbuster? There’s travel, five-star luxury, a healthy pay check and lots of beautiful people!

But with a job description like that, you know it’s going to be a hard industry to crack. You need to prove your expertise in a destination, and master the knack of finding inspirational realities that mirror the director’s vision. You need to be prepared for hard work and odd requests. And you need to be able to beat off the millions of other location-scout hopefuls.

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About Wanderlust | What We Do

Wanderlust is the UK’s leading magazine for independent-minded and adventurous travellers.

…read more…

Oh, I don’t know… still sounds a bit fanciful?

What to Look for in a Location Scout

Steve’s Digicams – Location Scout Qualities

Steve’s Digicams: What to Look for in a Location Scout

One of the most critical members of a modern day film making crew, a location scout is an individual who goes out in the field (outside the studio) and looks for places and locations that best resemble or suit the aesthetic needs of the scriptwriters, producers and directors.

Becoming a Location Scout

Becoming a Film Production Location Scout

by Jonathan Haeber, Design Programs Columnist

Can you imagine what it was like to find the filming locations for Lord of the Rings. How about The Matrix? Your idea of a location scout may be someone who travels to exotic places, flying in helicopters above rocky cliffs or city skylines. Though the job of a location scout has its upsides, you should know that the industry of film production is both competitive and challenging.

“Contrary to popular belief, location scouting is not some sort of globe trotting expedition. Most likely 95% of your work will be close to where you live,” says Marino Pascal on photo forum,

U.S. Department of Transportation

DOT Location Manager Job Description

191.167-018 – LOCATION MANAGER (motion picture; radio-tv broad.) – DOT Dictionary of Occupational Titles Job Description

CODE: 191.167-018 | Buy the DOT: Download/Diskettes/CD-ROM | TITLE(s): LOCATION MANAGER (motion picture; radio-tv broad.)

Arranges for leasing of suitable property for use as location for television or motion picture production: Confers with production or unit manager and DIRECTOR, TELEVISION (radio-tv broad.) or DIRECTOR, MOTION PICTURE (motion picture) regarding scenic backgrounds, terrain, and other topographical details of locations required for photographing exterior scenes.

Day in the Life of a Location Manager – XtraNormal

A Day in the Life of a Location Manager – XtraNormal

😆 XtraNormal “Location Manager vs. Neighbor” video uploaded to YouTube by user nealbforzod. Found on Facebook via David Velasco.


XtraNormal – Wikipedia

Xtranormal is a website that hosts text-to-speech based computer animated videoclips, featuring animated three-dimensional characters speaking in monotone computer voices. Users who log into the site may create videos by scripting the dialog and choosing from a menu of camera angles and predesigned characters and scenes. Xtranormal videos may also be created through an interface on the Youtube web site and Xtranormal’s animation software, called State, may be downloaded free and run offline.


Photo Video Location Scout

– Excerpted from from a 3 part series by Lead Assistant Scott of Chase Jarvis Studios, the Location Scouting for Photo & Video series outlines in three parts how a successful Seattle, WA commercial photo / video studio goes about securing locations for its shoots:

Want to know how we choose where to shoot our most important photo and video projects? Tune in! I’m Scott – Chase’s right hand man – and this guest blog post is the first in a series of three where I’ll be covering the steps I take in the role of Chase’s lead assistant that pertain to scouting shoot locations. This first post will go over the process of selecting locations from the comfort of your office – aka VIRTUAL SCOUTING.

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Location Scouting & Location Management at Amazon


10 Illegal Job Interview Questions

Tech Republic | 10 Things Blog | Steer clear of these 10 illegal job interview questions | Date: September 17th, 2007 | Author: Suzanne Thornberry

“Although HR departments should be aware of questions that are illegal to ask prospective employees, some hiring managers aren’t so savvy. Many illegal questions are easy for just about anyone with elementary social graces to avoid, but others might surprise you. In general, you should not ask interviewees about their age, race, national origin, marital or parental status, or disabilities”

  • #1: Where were you born?
  • #2: What is your native language?
  • #3: Are you married?
  • #4: Do you have children?
  • #5: Do you plan to get pregnant?
  • #6: How old are you?
  • #7: Do you observe Yom Kippur?
  • #8: Do you have a disability or chronic illness?
  • #9: Are you in the National Guard?
  • #10: Do you smoke or use alcohol?

read the rest

Free Interview Form offered by Tech Republic (free registration required)

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Much more valuable content relevant to the list above and other excerpts are available by reading the original article. There are 224 comments at this writing so the subject is surely a lively discussion!