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Locations - how to get on low budget?

Hi

Wow, IT is a treasure trove of great info. :)

My question is how do you get locations on a small budget?

I have written 5 screenplays (one was a Nicholl semifinalist). I'm going to direct the latest (6th).

I have written it to be low budget but it still has various locations - apartments (3x), library, houses, office (2x), restaurant, cafe etc.

Our apartment is small but we can use it as one or two locations. We're new to the area and basically don't know anyone - no friend's apts or houses for us.

Our work's will not grant access for filming on their premise.

Any help/advice would be hugely appreciated. Budget-wise, we would have $750 (max) for locations. Filming will likely require 10-14 days.

We're filming in Vancouver.

Thanks x 10000000000000000000
 
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Beg, steal and borrow. We paid for one location (nightclub) all the rest we got simply by asking the owner and maybe offering them a small role in the film (extra). We also mentioned that we'd put them on the credits, invite them to the 'premiere' etc. Most people are quite sympathetic and others just like being apart of movie making. One main tip is to be professional and polite.
 
I am really not a fan of lying but, what ever you got to do to get the shot. The place we filmed a lot of scenes was very up tight and to say the least, not accepting of horror films. Sooooo I had to lie and say we were filming an entire different movie. I signed no contract so I am all good to go. if you have to lie to get a location, do it.
 
I heard that in Vancouver from an assistant camera operator, that you have to pay additional film production taxes where you shoot, cause of Vancouver's filming laws. Is that true, or have you worked your way around that?
 
I heard that in Vancouver from an assistant camera operator, that you have to pay additional film production taxes where you shoot, cause of Vancouver's filming laws. Is that true, or have you worked your way around that?

Being totally new to the area, I don't know yet. I'll be looking into permits shortly. Given our virtually zero budget, hopefully the authorities will not be a nightmare. If they require the kind of fees we cannot afford then we'll just have to see...
 
A lot of the times as you're amateurs you don't have to pay for locations.

Just go ,knock on the door or try to find contact number on the internet and say :

Hello . I am a local filmmaking , I am filming a short film for the internet , (make sure that they know that you are still amateur and you're not going for big thatrical releases ) and ask if you could use their location .

I would not recommend to lie about the concept of the film , even though it might help , at the end the owner might see your film and if you piss him off ,since you haven't payed or perhaphs you didn't signed a contract as well you could be in a lot of trouble .

Just ask politely and you'll be good to go .
 
ask
ask
ask

Helps to be a familiar face..

If its a restaurant. Go their for dinner a few times
If its a store, buy some stuff, be a regular customer.
you get the idea....
 
I'd agree - ask. I'm always surprised at how helpful some people are willing to be when you need a location - and when they aren't you just have to look for someone else to ask. It helps to be flexible in your location requirements...

The key things I'd keep in mind are one - figure out how to minimize your impact on their business/home/whatever. Don't try to be the big production rolling in and disrupting everything when they're doing you a favor (10 years after it went off the air 'Nash Bridges' is still referred to as "Smash Bridges" in SF due to the way they treated people's property on locations!). Communicate up front just what will be involved, and be honest about it - for instance if you're going to bring in lights let them know up front, if you're going to need to rearrange their furniture make sure they're ok with that.

And two - try to find some way they can benefit from it too. If it's a business offer to promote them to your audience, not just through exposure in the film but through things like your website or facebook page. If it's an individual you can do the same, only instead of promotion you can do things like tag them in posts of behind the scenes shots where you thank them for helping you out. Remember - social media is all about how cool you look to your friends, and being involved in a movie seems pretty cool to a lot of people.
 
I've found that the more open and honest I am about my project, the better.

I've been carefully researching and respectfully contacting a local property owner for almost two years. It's an absolutely amazing location. I was willing to pay some serious cash for it. Today, they not only agreed, they gave it to me for free. I can't quite believe it. I'm still on cloud 9.

Be patient, and write to the locations you have. I shoot in just 4 weeks and my original location backed out (due to a stabbing on their property). I've been in a bit of a tail spin for weeks, struggling to find a location that would a) look awesome b) allow me in the door. I got lucky, and the ground work I laid last year paid off with the new (and much better) location.

Thomas
 
I've been carefully researching and respectfully contacting a local property owner for almost two years. It's an absolutely amazing location. I was willing to pay some serious cash for it. Today, they not only agreed, they gave it to me for free. I can't quite believe it. I'm still on cloud 9.

How cool is that! Congrads! :)
 
Congrats on getting the location!

Be patient, and write to the locations you have.

Actually this is probably the best advice in the thread - although it may not help in the OP's case, it's definitely the way to go. Better to feature the best stuff you do have access to than to write for somewhere you don't have and have to settle for less than you originally imagined if you can't get the right location.

Something else I just thought of recently: AirBNB.com - when it comes to finding houses, apartments, etc it's like a crowdsourced location scout with a bunch of locations that are actually used to lending out their space to people. It's not free, but there's a lot of great stuff on their that's cheap, and you can browse and find locations from the comfort of your own couch...

We're filming in Vancouver.

Here's a few AirBNB possibilities for that area then:

Sweet penthouse loft ($220/night): https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/578189
One bedroom condo ($96): https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/62921
One bedroom apartment ($135): https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/925922
Cool house by a park ($123): https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/558078

and 181 more: Entire Homes in Vancouver for 1 Guest Maximum $200/night

Since these are all places where the owners are already set up to rent them out they may be more open to you coming in to use them as filming locations - and if you are willing to work on their off-days (probably midweek) or off-season I wouldn't be surprised if you could negotiate lower rates for multi-day use. Maybe even get them in trade for promoting their location through your film, website etc? In any case, it gives you a good starting point.
 
My question is how do you get locations on a small budget?
Write a story that uses the resources you have - including locations.

There is a difference between A) screenwriting for pie-in-the-sky stories and B) screenwriting for stories you have to prepro/budget/organize/shoot/post/market yourself.
A) is someone else's problem.
B) is your problem.

Write for the locations you have, not the locations you can imagine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jPgljRvzQw
 
Rayw is 100% right, if your story includes elements you can not put into your movie due to budget limitations, it basically useless to you as an indie filmmaker. Write what you can shoot with the resources you have/can get.
 
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