Location Managers Guild International

Spring 2020

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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42 • LMGI COMPASS | Spring 2020 THE LOCATION TEAM: Location Manager Geoffrey Smither/LMGI Assistant Location Managers Steve Zagrodny, James Blacker, Dan Matthews/LMGI Location PA Christopher Vargas wanted something quite different from Schitt's Creek. He wanted it to be elegant like when they were wealthy." Another of Smither's location challenges on Season 6 involved locating a men's clothing store and a bank. "We found them on the same block in Oshawa," he says, still slightly shocked. "To fi nd a clothing store that's willing to play and looks like the one Dan wants and, 'Oh, gee! There's a closed bank on the same block!' FINDING THE CREEK "Some things were tougher to fi nd. We needed a creek and a coun- try house together for the last season. That proved harder than I thought it would. The brief was to fi nd a house that looked like Kate Winslet's cottage from The Holiday (which had been built for that movie), and it had to be shot on the same day as the creek, which needed to be bucolic and natural but still a place where Moira (Catherine O'Hara) could walk in her high heels. We actually found that within Toronto city limits." "Until Season 6, we never saw the creek," Smither adds. "There was nothing remotely creek-y about Goodwood, and they didn't mind that. They thought it was funny that we didn't see the creek. There's a river that runs right behind the motel. I think we only saw that one time in six seasons. "Also, in a big switch for us, they plan a trip to the big city for some meetings and we had to fi nd high-end law offi ces and a big-city fi nancial district. We shot in the lobby of the sister tower to the one that Suits uses at the Bay-Adelaide Centre and in some law offi ces in the Mies van der Rohe-designed towers of the Toronto-Dominion Centre. That was the fi rst time we shot anything in the fi nancial district of Toronto, but because we were on a Sunday-to-Thursday shooting week, we were able to do that on a Sunday." Looking back over his years working on the series, Smither says, "There are worse ways to spend June than out in the countryside of Ontario with comedy legends and a great crew and cast." Tipping his hat to his main ALM for Schitt's Creek, Steve Zagrodny, he says, "Steve is often in the right place at the right time, like the day he observed a worker painting orange DayGlo paint on the asphalt in Goodwood's intersection and asked what he was doing. The work- er stated that they were re-paving the whole intersection (during June). Thanks to Steve's observational skills, we were able to ask the region to delay the re-paving until we fi nished the season." Smither also credits assistant location managers James Blacker and Dan Matthews/LMGI and his on-set production assistant, Chris- topher Vargas, with keeping things running smoothly. "Because we were outside the city, we didn't have to fi ght any other productions over parking and permits," he adds. "The sixth and fi nal season is now in the can, and both Goodwood and the motel are stops on many a fan tour. In fact, if you type Schitt's Creek into Google maps, it will show both the motel and Bob's Garage." Barnsley was surprised how well the show has been received. "It was beyond our wildest dreams," he says. "There's such awareness of Schitt's Creek, which is not always the case with a Canadian show. It's recognized globally. I was proud to see such legends as Cath- erine O'Hara and Eugene Levy and now Dan Levy. He is a creative genius. This has been such a spectacular show. When I look back on it, I don't know how I can ever have another experience like this. "People love to talk about Schitt's Creek, and they get excited when they meet people who worked on it. I can only measure this an- ecdotally, but tourism in the communities we fi lmed in has increased because people want to see these locations and take pictures with them. The show has had a really positive economic impact."

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