Location Managers Guild International

Fall 2018

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) is the largest organization of Location Managers and Location Scouts in the motion picture, television, commercial and print production industries. Their membership plays a vital role in the creativ

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LMGI COMPASS | Fall 2018 • 15 O N A L a module on film production was part of the course. Groups were formed to produce a one-minute film using three cartridges of 8mm black-and- white film. Our 'horror' script required an empty house. Behind the college was a disused Victorian mansion, into which I arranged access. We passed the module with flying colors. Perhaps the foundations of my career were laid here? Not knowing what career, movies or photography to follow, I traveled to Hong Kong for a summer and produced a photographic portfolio. This and my short film got me into Newport Film School in South Wales. The course was structured to teach you to become a director but I ended up helping out on many of the other students' short films. I became the problem solver of the year and a location manager is just that. In my second year, I was selected to produce the school's submission for the 1996 Fuji Film Award Short, written and directed by Justin Kerrigan. Pubroom Paranoia came in second place, earning me plenty of experience, a certificate and a handshake from British acting legend Norman Wisdom. After film school, I spent much of my time posting CVs to anyone in the industry. Finally, I received a call to come to London for an ultra- low-budget film called The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz with only travel and food paid for. I arrived in London expecting to be placed into cameras or production—but instead, I was handed over to a very busy South African location manager, Ed Suter. Locations … what the hell did they do? "Parking and toilets" was the stock reply from my college friends. Oh, my career was not looking too hot! My brief was to be at Deptford Town Hall the next day for the first shoot day. I was handed a call sheet and sent on my way with the wise words, "don't be late!" I hired a car and found digs with an old school friend in Clapham. Checked the call time—8 a.m., perfect not too early. A few beers with my chum and turned in for the night on the sofa. In the morning, I drove to Deptford, found the tech unit and parked nearby just before 8 a.m. I went in to find Ed and see what my duties would be. "Where the f**king hell have you been!! I have been here since 6 a.m. parking trucks, organizing security and laying floor protection which by the way, is your job. Cleaning toilets also your job!! You're f**king late!!" He tore a strip off me. So, my introduction to the Location Department was that I was late and to top that off, I had arrived with coffee and a bacon roll in hand! This was not good and angered an overworked, understaffed, underpaid location manager. Learning the difference between crew call and the call time for the Location Department was a critical first lesson. I was never late ever again. It is my particular bug-bear with new recruits, just don't be late! I worked on Nine Lives for only a week. Then came my first paid job as a director's assistant. Working for Charles Sturridge on the TV movie Longitude, I was able to see all the departments at work. After nine months, I knew I did not want to work in cameras—too fiddly; sound —hours of having your arms above your head; props—a career as a removal man, no thanks. Production and location management were both of interest. Locations got to work as a team, be their own boss when out scouting, and were able to leave the shoot to prep and strike sets. I was also interested in architecture and was handy with a still camera. Perhaps this location lark had something for me? Moving on, I found work in a producer's office but this only lasted three months before he ran out of money. Then I saw an advert for a location agency. Tiffany Parrish, owner of Amazing Space, taught me the skills to scout, negotiate and draft contracts. During my time there, I found some great locations and photographed them well. Best of all, I got to meet real location managers, as they had to come into the office to view picture albums. I got to know some of them and eventually was told if I freelanced, there would be work for me. After 18 months at the agency, I began a scouting career initially on the BBC drama State of Play, then Finding Neverland. Quickly more scouting jobs followed; my career had begun. My 'baptism of fire' was Green In 1999, while I was the director's assistant on Longitude, I was taken under the wing of LM Teresa Darby when filming in Charlestown, Cornwall. Receiving the LMGI Award for The Night Manager with (far left) Daniel Palerm

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