Location Managers Guild International

Summer 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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SCHOOL'S OUT: 13 Reasons Why concludes its fourth and fi nal season For 13 Reasons Why to start productive conversations about bullying, self-harm and sexual assault that its producers believed it could, they knew the show had to feel fully authentic, starting with the world of the story. When Yorkey was writing the pilot, he envisioned an exurban setting like his native Pacifi c Northwest while trying to honor the novel's description of where the characters lived. "We wanted this town to feel like a real place, and a place, perhaps like the one where you grew up, or where you were raising your kids," he said. Once the decision was set to shoot in California, Yorkey felt the state's southern region was "fairly well shot out" for a show aimed at young adults and was adamant that nary a palm tree ever appear on screen. "I remembered growing up watching teen series set in LA among the palm trees and beaches and thinking that's nothing like real life." When one of the fi rst-season directors broke Yorkey's palm tree rule in a driving sequence, he went so far as to order reshoots. "Possibly I was a bit insane about it," he admits. "But I still hear from people, from all over, that the town feels like their town growing up." The show eventually settled on the Bay Area towns of Vallejo and San Rafael for the heart of its fi ctional Evergreen County where most of the characters live, work and hang out. Location scouts were met with the full range of reactions from homeowners and business owners they approached. "I would often be fl oored by devastating personal stories about suicide, which could blindside me because my mind was often in securing something for production," said Ehrin Davis/LMGI, who started the fi rst season as a scout. Some people he met said the book helped people they knew and prevented suicide. One couple he approached for a potential recurring location told him they'd lost their 11-year-old daughter to suicide less than a year earlier. "It was a very painful conversation that taught me the importance of being a good listener and to not push people that weren't interested." The story was also personal for some members of the Location Department, including Dan Kemp/LMGI, a location manager on all four seasons, whose nephew took his own life. "One thing I discovered is just how many people suicide has touched," Kemp said. He found that educators were among the show's strongest skeptics. "Over the four seasons of the show, there were times when a phone call to a school to inquire about support space was met with a harsh 'I know what your show is about, and you are not welcome here.'" by Shannon A. Mullen W hen location scouts started knocking on doors in the San Francisco Bay Area for the fi rst season of 13 Reasons Why, the show's controversial content was no secret. Its source material, Jay Asher's eponymous novel about a teenage girl who takes her own life, had been around for a decadeā€”an international bestseller translated into dozens of languages. "Many location owners would hear which show was asking and slam the door," said series creator, writer and showrunner Brian Yorkey. "Every now and then, one would embrace us enthusiastically but I think we had many more closed doors than the average show." That content hurdle never came down, but the location team found new meaning in the process of ge ing past it, and the show originally developed as a limited series, bowed its fourth and fi nal season in June.

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