A Day in the Life of a Location Manager

Darren Pratt has worked for Locate for more than four years. Here, he talks us through the two sides of his job; from location scouting to managing the location on set. Whether he’s allocating parking or location hunting door to door, Darren talks us through his varied role fueled by adrenaline.

Lights up at 5am

In film, people like to arrive early, which means – as the person there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch – I have to get there even earlier than they do. On a shoot day, I’ll arrive on location at around 5am, let the caterers in, work out where everyone will park, and set up signage. The rest of the crew start to arrive around 7am, by which point I should already be set up. It makes for a long day, but it’s worth it. Scouting days are different; they sometimes allow for a later start and have an entirely different vibe. While set days often work to a formula, scouting is a mixed bag – you can never be sure what you’ll get.

Two sides 

It’s nice to have the routine of a day on set, and to get stuck in. There’s definitely a lot more creative input on scouting days, but the two sides of the job each have their perks. On set, I’m the first one there – laying protective coverings and ensuring the owner’s belonging are safe – and the last one to leave, after making sure everyone is happy. When I’m scouting, the days can be more unpredictable. It’s surprisingly easy to switch between the two responsibilities, though, as I enjoy both aspects.

An in-built guidance system

Google is extremely useful. I don’t know how location scouts found anywhere before the internet, especially when just starting out. Over time, I’ve developed a kind of built-in mental guidance system, and am more aware of different spaces and their restrictions – I’ve also created a contact list of useful people to talk to when a certain space is needed, which is important. There’s a lot of research and admin to finding a location, and there can be let downs – there’s no point setting your heart on somewhere that fits the brief looks wise but can’t fit the crew, for example. Mainly, though, it’s exciting. I go and seek out possible locations, and then it can be as simple as knocking on someone’s door and saying ‘hello, we’d be interested in using your house for a shoot.’

Film set vs reality

The most important aspect of my day to day role is delivering what the director/ photographer/ agency wants, whilst at the same time making logistics work. It’s my job to make sure the film world (the crew) works with the real world (everyone else) in a way that lets everyone get what they want and need. It’s also important that locations are left as we found them, and relationships are kept on track. Sometimes location owners need a bit of hand-holding as they may be new to the industry and not sure what to expect. I must do everything in my power to make sure there is nothing but good feelings when we leave.

A mobile workspace

Being a Location Manager can get lonely, but it also opens doors to meeting a lot of different people. That’s one of my favourite parts of the job. It’s interesting to get to know so many characters from all walks of life and to travel so much while doing it. The Locate team are a great bunch to work with, too, everyone is happy to lend a hand if needed. On scouting days, I’m generally on my own – my car is my office.

Powered by adrenaline

Before I worked in locations, I had no idea this type of role even existed. When I learned about this line of work my basic reaction was ‘no way! That sounds cool!’ … and it is. It can be exhausting but it’s a great job. I really think you have to be an adrenaline junkie to do it, though. There are really long days, and I sometimes find myself thinking I need a rest, only to then immediately begin pondering/planning the next assignment. I love it. It’s a great feeling seeing the work come together, and to watch TV and be able to say ‘I worked on that!’

 

Newsletter

Blog Tags

2014 2015 AbuDhabi adam AdamandEve adamhinton AduDhabiTourismBoard advert advertising agesofus Alasdair Mclellan Albion AlexPasley-Tyler andreaskleiberg AndyGlass angle AOP AOP Awards AOPexposureday Architecture audiR8 auto automobile automotive autumnyard aw15 aw16 award bangbang barnstorming Batterseadogs bbc BBC2 beach behindthescenes benedictredgrove benhanlin BigBen billboard body bonneville boxing bridges Brighton Britain Runs On Rail britishgas bruno bts buildabetterworld bukom Business CADD California campaign car carpark cast celerio changethesystem channel4 character chinesenewyear ChrisFrazer-Smith ChrisFrazerSmith christmas civic Clouds commercial commercials compressed confidence content cowandgate crackers crew Curves cycling data:text/mce-internal davidloftus denday DFT DirectLine documentary drama dream Drone dseries dylancollard earth hour encore esteelauder event EwanSpencer exhibition extras fashion feedtheirpersonalities film filming filminginprogress fishandchips fishing fitness Fleetlights flyovers FOCUSevent football Footballclub fresh fruyo fun getanswers grahamrose halfords Halifax halloween HamptonCourt hangar historychannel Honda house HRPpalaces HSBC Hyundai IanMckellen ident ijigglethereforeiam indents industrial international iplayer ITV Jaguar jessiej jigsaw jimfenwick jinglebells JuliaFullerton-Batten juliafullertonbatten Keep In Touch kerryharrison KevinSimm kidscompany LA LauraPannack library lidl limelight Lines livednotmodelled Locate Productions locateproductions location location house location manager location scout locationlibrary Locations london LookingforLowry lourolley lovely luxury Malaysia management Mango Mannequins matadors matalan MaxMara Mediawork motherlondon multistorey musicmagpie musicvideo nationaltv natwest nevermissamoment Nike offsiderule okini Parkour pauloconnor Peugeot phantom photographer photographers'diningclub photography photography awards pizzaexpress potential‬ pretzel films production Purina rangerover RDG redbull RiverThames RNLI rollsroyce Rooftop Rubicon rugby safe sainsburys savethechildren savingyounglives sayingthankyou Scandinavia scout scouting season sebastiennevols seethechild SergeBlanco ShamilTanna sharethedream shoot shoot house shoot location Shoot Management SimonStock Sky skysports Slate Quarry sneakpeak snowballfight Spain spiral sponsors sportswear staffies SteveHoskins Stills Production StPauls strictlycomedancing sunset Superheroes sure suzuki teamrubiconUK tfl thedudeandnigel TheGoodFilmCompany thelittlepresent TheVoice timeout Todd Antony ToddAntony toddhido togetherwecan‬ TowerOfLondon traffic trailer triumph tucrhythm tv typeR UK Urban vauxhall vindiesel vodafone wales weareblanco‬ weknowfood westend Westminster wheretheentertainerslive Wildfire wimbledon WWF wyattclarkejones

Follow us

Job Purpose:

Locate Productions is one of the UK’s leading service production companies, producing stills and moving image content in the UK and abroad. Established in London in 2005, the company works with some of the world’s leading brands, producing campaigns such as This Girl Can, NHS at 70, HSBC Premier and Jaguar XE.

Consisting of a dedicated team of producers, location scouts and managers, Locate Productions are experts in providing a high level, cost-effective production that is aligned to a strong business ethic of high standards, impartiality, sustainability and fairness.

As part of their expansion plans, Locate Productions are looking to recruit a Commercial Director to join their small, dynamic team and help attract new business. 

Responsibilities:

  • Working closely with the business owners and Head of Production to develop the company’s short, mid and long-term commercial strategy according to company goals and objectives to drive and accelerate growth. You will be set targets and your performance assessed on the achievement of this growth
  • To carry out analysis and help create and deliver detailed business plans on commercial opportunities such as business development and international growth
  • Develop strategies to identify and acquire new clients globally and drive new business, specifically targeting creative advertising agencies and commercial brand marketing sectors
  • Collaborate and co-ordinate with in-house teams such as International Production, Creative Hub, Production Services and Locations in generating new leads and building on existing contacts
  • Monitor and analyse the performance of the company’s commercial activities 
  • Support the wider company in maintaining the high standards of service across all sectors.

Experience:

  • Demonstrated senior commercial experience working within the creative industries, ideally with a background in ad-agencies or brand marketing
  • In-depth understanding and proven track record of developing and executing winning commercial strategies
  • Experience of managing a prospect through the whole sales process from lead identification and outreach all the way through to signed contract and onboarding
  • Proven success in a comparable targeted role, including an existing network of relevant contacts to be able to hit the ground running.

Key Skills:

  • Excellent organisational and leadership skills
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal abilities
  • Commercially-minded, with strong analytical skills and a strategic approach to tasks
  • Solution-orientated, with an entrepreneurial attitude
  • Experience of international travel, ideally involving trade shows and industry events
  • Strong understanding of the media production process both in the UK and globally
  • Solid knowledge of marketing trends and strategies along with performance reporting and financial/budgeting processes
  • A desire to be part of a close-knit team within a company that values its staff and adheres to a strong set of beliefs and principles.

Job Details:

  • A full-time role, predominately based in the London office but with flexibility over working hours and place of work
  • International travel (post-COVID)
  • 25 days paid holiday in addition to bank holidays
  • Competitive salary, dependant on experience
  • Basic plus performance bonus salary structure
  • Potential performance-related equity options

Application Process:

Please send a CV and covering letter to locate@locateproductions.com titled ‘CD Position’. 

Please get this to us as soon as possible as this is a position which is immediately available. 

Our communications will be in the strictest confidence; please ensure you outline your availability and expected salary. 

Second-round interviews will see candidates pitching a proposal based on a set topic. 

Learn more