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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54 • LMGI COMPASS | Spring 2020 a step back to learn how to communicate my ideas effectively. I have been able since then to connect with people from all walks of life. As a scout, I am able to reach property owners effectively. As a location manager, I can successfully communicate with production. PM: What is something you are aspiring to do in locations? MQ: Eventually, I would love to be in a position to give back and help future "Next Gen" location managers succeed. PM: What have you found to be the most enjoyable part of your job? MQ: Among other things, I genuinely enjoy the insight into film production that few, if any, other departments have the privilege of witnessing. Whether it is listening in on a conversation during a director scout, being asked to weigh in on a decision, or simply meeting people with different jobs and responsibilities and learning what those are and how they impact the process. It is fascinating. PM: What have you found to be the most challenging? MQ: Finding the perfect location, an absolute gem that has seemingly been created for the "scene," yet hesitating to present it because of how logistically impossible and nightmare-ish it is. There is nothing more challenging than that. I struggle with that for a bit, but nine times out of 10, I end up showing it anyway! PM: Do you have any advice for any young assistants just starting out and why? MQ: Go for it! Literally anything you dream up. Work, hustle, put in the time, step out of your comfort zone and good things will happen. PM: What's the best locations advice you've received? MQ: "Trust your instincts, your gut-feeling." My first-ever boss, Brian, helped me see that when you are on a job, and you come across a problem that somehow defies logic, listen to your instincts, and the solution or answer will come to you. It works. PM: What are your tools of the trade? What car or tech gadget or tool can't you live without? MQ: I can't leave the house without my 35mm prime lens. It is tiny, lightweight, just wide enough to get grand establishing shots, and tight enough to fill up my frame nicely when needed. If I need to zoom in or out, I just use my legs. After hours of scouting, zoom lenses and telephotos become too heavy to carry around. When I'm carrying my 35mm, I don't even notice it. PM: What made you decide to join the LMGI? MQ: Rob Hilton encouraged me to join and was one of my sponsors. I love how global the LMGI is. The sense of community that it brings is priceless. It is a collection of brilliant individuals with amazing experiences that I wanted to be a part of. PM: Where did you go to school and what did you study? MQ: I attended Birzeit University back in Palestine. I majored in radio and TV broadcasting, basically "news." I didn't like that very much. It felt too mechanical and emotionless to me. I needed to have more creativity in my job. My dad came to Calgary in 2013 as a researcher at the University of Calgary (he's a neuroscientist). I had just finished university myself, and tagged along. I never really considered living here for good, but now I can't see myself living or working anywhere else. I think it definitely has something do with my time here as a location scout. I really got to experience Alberta to the fullest; not only the access I got to a lot of exclusive locations, but my involvement with local communities, organizations and getting to see the inner workings of this society. PM: How long have you been working in locations and what do you primarily work on? MQ: I've been working in the Location Department for seven years. I mainly work on TV series in Calgary—I did 83 episodes of Heartland with location manager Brian Dunne. For Fargo, I started as a PA in Season 1, became a trainee AD in Season 2 and moved into locations as an ALM in Season 3 under location manager Rob Hilton/LMGI. I recently LM'd my first feature film, Land, set in and around the Albertan Rockies. I had to figure out mountain logistics, set builds, permits. I had to learn the laws of the land, and nature, and I enjoyed all of that immensely. Although I remained in the same department, it was eye opening to see how vastly different my job description had become. If I had the option, I would definitely choose to work on feature films. It is all about thinking big, and striving to always get the best results possible. PM: Was there a particular moment while scouting/assistant managing that really made you think about this field as a long-term career worth pursuing? Are there particular people or productions that have inspired you to take this current career path? MQ: During my time in locations, I learned a lot about myself. I like peace and quiet. I enjoy problem solving and I love being involved in decision making and influencing the "big picture." This job checks all of the above. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment I decided this was the career for me, but if I had to guess, I would say scouting Nordegg, Alberta. I had hiked for two hours and 45 minutes to the top of Shunda Mountain to get the perfect shot. It was a complete disaster. I did not get what I was looking for, not even close, but I felt great. I realized the journey is just as important as the destination, and I thoroughly enjoy the journey, so why not? PM: Have you found that your cultural background and childhood in Palestine has influenced your perspective on scouting and locations? MQ: Growing up in Palestine, it is very important to be vocal, yet personable and respectful. People here appreciate that. I also feel that my background has given me the ability to add different perspectives to issues at hand. To do that, I needed first, to take

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