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How do I Become a Location Manager?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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There are four things required to become a location manager: industry experience, a post-secondary education, critical-thinking skills and problem-solving skills. The primary responsibility of a location manager is to review the script for a film or television show and find suitable filming locations. He or she must work with people inside and outside the production company to create agreements and permission to use the space, coordinate the schedule and resolve any issues that arise.

Someone who wants to become a location manager usually has at least three or four years of experience in the entertainment film industry. He or she might have worked in an assistant or support role, becoming familiar with the backroom operations. This experience is invaluable, because a solid understanding of the amount of space required for equipment and people is very important when choosing a filming location. Cooperation and coordination are the most important tasks for a location manager. Anyone who does not enjoy working as part of a team will be unhappy in this role.

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Post-secondary education is usually required by employers, but there is no specific training program that focuses on the skills necessary to become a location manager. A two- or three-year college program in administration, business or a related field can be helpful. Film school is focused on training directors, producers and other professionals who work on the actual filming aspect. This training might be helpful for a later career transition but is not necessary to become a location manager.

A valid drivers license, good English comprehension and an eye for detail are all skills that are very useful for a location manager. The ability to read quickly and skim a script for relevant information will save time and effort as well. Most people in this position build a network of contacts in major cities. Real estate professionals, city licensing office staff members, construction companies and local film development companies are all great resources for finding filming locations.

Critical thinking is a formal methodology used to isolate problems, identify the optimal solution and provide support for making logical decisions. These techniques can be learned through courses or self-study. Most people make decisions based on previous experience and instinct. Critical thinking is a more rational approach that reduces errors.

Problem-solving skills are central for anyone who wants to become a location manager. Possible issues include scheduling problems, poor weather, uncooperative local residents and problems with the filming. Embracing change and solving problems in a logical way will greatly improve the mood and efficiency of the filming process.

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