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Location managers are the people responsible for organising locations and sets for film and television shoots that are not being filmed in the studio. Productions can be made literally anywhere, from small houses and city streets, to old religious buildings or remote landscapes.
After meeting with the directors and producers, the location manager will visit a number of locations, accompanied by locations assistants, assessing the potential or the restrictions for each place. As well as creative suitability, the location must be practical, with space for generators and equipment, with a good power supply and it must comply with all health and safety regulations.
Location managers may not always make the final decision on the locations, but they will take photos and notes, along with their own recommendations to present to the decision makers.
Once a location has been picked, it is then up to the location manager to negotiate terms of contract; agreeing with the location owner on a fee that is within the budget, notifying all the relevant authorities, and gaining all official permissions that are needed. The logistics of filming on location are also organised by the location manager, making sure that all crew and cast have directions to the location and have enough parking for all the studio vehicles.
After the filming is complete, location managers must ensure that the location is left exactly how it was found, and handed over to the owner with any damages covered or replaced.
Working as a location manager can be a very high pressure job, with high levels of initiative required and great organisation skills. Building up a good reputation with the production companies is essential in the career progression of a location manager, as they usually work as freelancers.