Production can refer to big-budget blockbusters or low-budget independents with a broad range that includes episodic TV, made for television movies, commercials, documentaries, corporate films, music videos or internet content. Budgets vary widely and expenditures can include wages, camera and lighting, equipment rentals, hotel rooms, location fees, and office space. Often there are additional expenses i.e. vehicle rentals, caterers, building materials, as well as props (anything an actor touches), set dressing, which includes all the interior and exterior items such as: furniture, lamps, flowers, wallcovering, pictures, vases, etc., including wardrobe as well as cosmetics).
A film project arrives in a community with money to spend and a goals to accomplish. It's important to understand how the process works and why the production has unusual requests that need to be addressed quickly...hence, the birth of film commissions charged with attracting and facilitating production requests on behalf of the production community.
Productions that choose to film in Palm Beach County have enjoyed Free One-Stop Permitting and location assistance as an incentive to film in The Palm Beaches. Producers, Designers, Location Scouts and Location Managers bring their needs to us and we coordinate with the municipalities on their behalf when they film on public property.
PRODUCTION AND CREW ROLES
There are a host of different jobs comprising a film crew and they're always in a hurry. The period of time that a company has to prepare for filming is "pre-production" and it can vary dramatically from project to project. Feature films may have months of lead-time, but a television series may only have a couple of weeks. Commercials can move from prep to wrap in less than a month, at times with only a few days to secure locations.
A film project's location manager or location scout is usually the first person to make contact with a community and/or property owner. Their job is to find, photograph, negotiate and lock down the locations needed for any given production. The look of the location isn't the only consideration; the location manager also needs to keep in mind:
Proper notification to business and neighbors who may be impacted by the production
Availability of parking for crew cars cars and trucks
Securing restroom facilities and an area close by for catering
Intrusive power lines, noise and traffic concerns
Flight paths, train tracks and nearby construction noise
THE TECH SCOUT
Once photographs are submitted to the production team and it appears the locations might work both artistically and logistically, the location manager will return with additional members of the production team. On this technical survey, or "tech scout", the team will determine what may or may not work for the project. The tech scout may include the following key players:
Director - the creator of the artistic vision of the film, works to guide crew and talent to fulfill the vision
Producer - supervises all business aspects of the film, including raising funds and hiring key personnel.
Unit Production Manager (UPM) - handles the finances, ensures the film comes in on time and on budget.
Production Designer - works to oversee the design and "look" of the film including the oversight of the props, set dressing, hair, makeup and wardrobe departments
Location Manager/Scout - responsible for finding and clearing the locations that are needed for the project.
Depending on the type of production there may be additional crew involved with the tech scout.
Once the camera starts to roll, the production is moving at full speed. With possibly hundreds of people on payroll, if delays occur even for one day, it can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are numerous variables - most commonly weather - can cause a complete change in the shooting schedule, and these changes have to be addressed quickly and efficiently. Most television and film production companies keep a "cover set" (an alternative interior location) that can be used so the shooting day is not lost. A company may also get ahead or behind schedule, making it necessary to change or expand the use of a location. Other variables can include the illness of an actor, a script rewrite or the failure of special equipment to arrive on time. Production companies are used to dealing with this kind of sudden change, but they'll need the understanding and cooperation of the community to make it all work.