THE LOCATION I CAN'T GET
Write around locations you have access to, they said. Write what you can use. Write places you can get. Well, what the hell is one supposed to do when the location you wrote around, you no longer can get!? What now!? HUH!? WHAT NOW!? I title this piece, 'The Location I Can't Get' and it's been a true battle.
As I've been instructed in the past and as I've written my entire career, I wrote 'What About Molly?' with locations in mind. I kept them very simple, all locations I could get, most of which takes place inside two homes. At the time I thought hell, I have two friends, I'll use their homes. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Only it wasn't that easy and it continues to be a pain in the ass. However, like most pain in the asses, there's some good lessons learned here and some knowledge to pass on. Let's look at the tale and see what we learned.
WRITING AROUND LOCATION
It all started with a simple idea. A girl gets her heart broken and attempts to move on by starting her own business. To keep it simple, the business was out of her home and she was going to make deliveries door to door. Obviously there would be some comedy, a little drama and a fun adventure to be had, but everything was going to take place in a single town, with situations happening from home to home. Liking the idea, I began to write.
The story develops and I notice that I have two major locations popping up in the film. CHARLENE’S HOUSE and KYLE’S HOUSE. As I said before, I have two friends, I can just use their homes. This thing is going to be easy, I'll continue on.
So, I write and I write and I write some more, until the day comes where I have 110 pages. Boom! We have a script ladies and gentleman! We have a story that I LOVE, that can be filmed simply at two primary locations, I already have access to.
LOCKING DOWN THE LOCATION PART 1
The below is a conversation I had in regards to locking down CHARLENE’S HOUSE as my first location.
Sean - "Angel, could I possibly use your home to film part of my movie?"
Angel - "Of course! I think that's amazing! Whatever you need!"
Sean(to himself) - "Fuck, that was easy."
LOCKING DOWN THE LOCATION PART 2
The below is a conversation I DIDN'T have in regards to locking down KYLE’S HOUSE as my second location.
Sean(to himself) - "I know, I'll ask Kimberly if I can use her house. I'm sure she would be more than happy to help out"
Kimberly - "Sean! Guess what?"
Sean - "What?"
Kimberly - "I sold my house!!!!!"
Sean(to himself) - "Fuck..."
LOCKING DOWN THE LOCATION PART 3
The below is a conversation I had in regards to locking down KYLE’S HOUSE as my second location.
Sean - “Angel, do you think your mom will let us film at her house?”
Angel - “I’ll ask her but I’m SURE it'll be okay.”
ONE WEEK LATER
Angel - “Do you HAVE to film inside the home?”
Sean - “Yes...”
Angel - “Ask Jig, she has a second home sitting vacant”
LOCKING DOWN THE LOCATION PART 4
Sean - “Hi Jig, how are you?”
Jig - “I’m great, you?”
Sean - “Doing well! Hey, I was wondering, would you allow me to use your vacant house to film a few scenes from my movie”
Jig - “I want to say yes, but...my parents are coming to town and will be staying there.”
Sean - “No worries!”
LOCKING DOWN THE LOCATION PART 5
It’s at this time I have pretty much given up. In my mind, the next move is to simply ask the cast if they have a home we could use for filming. This is something I’ve been avoiding as I don’t want to take advantage of my cast, that is unless I have NO other options.
Before begging my cast for some help, I decided to take my search to the web. My fate is now in the hands of a Google search.
Down the rabbit hole I go and as I did I stumbled upon a nice little site called Peerspace. People list their homes and unique locations, available for rent, on a per hour basis. Searching their site, I find several homes that would be perfect for what I need. Here’s the issue, it comes with a price, the cheapest being roughly $50/hr. Not a great option for my budget. The search continues.
My next thought was to check airbnb. They have homes and plenty of them. I’ll rent a home and just film my movie there, HOWEVER, I don’t want to do this without the permission of the owner. I have more respect than that.
Finding 6 different homes I could use, I send messages explaining who I am and what I am looking to do. Expecting literally no responses, I was proven wrong. I actually did get a yes...from every one of them. Wow…
If you’re going to write a script that you can film on a low budget, definitely write around locations you have access to. Keep in mind that those locations could potentially fall through. Worry not friends, it’s just a little speed bump. Drive slowly over it, and continue on.
The struggle to find this location isn’t that big of a deal. Filmmaking requires a set of creative problem solving skills. This was a small problem and I just needed to find the solution. Just because the original plan didn’t work out, doesn’t mean I fold up shop and call it quits. I sit back, take a breath and work the problem until it’s solved.