Location Managers Guild International

Winter 2019

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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16 • LMGI COMPASS | Winter 2019 G U I L D I N T E R N A T I O N A L TM LMGI How does a kid from Cape Cod with sand between his toes and rock star dreams end up as a Hollywood location manager? I'm not really sure, yet that's the crooked path I've taken. I graduated from Boston's Berklee College of Music with degrees in composing and arranging, as well as my teaching certificate (just in case). I spent the next 12 years traveling around with different bands. Remember, I was trying to become a rock star. But something happened the year I graduated that kind of put the brakes on that for a while. CAREER FOCUS The Roundabout Guide to Location Management by Tim Hillman Saturday Night Fever was released. So, instead of playing rock-and-roll, I had to play … disco. I had a lot of fun, never made any money, sent out about 30 demo tapes and got about 27 really nice rejection letters. Three never wrote back. By this time, I was in Chicago, waiting tables and bartending during the day, playing piano bar at night and with a wedding band on weekends. Not your typical wedding band. Most had little amps and minimal equipment. We filled a five-ton truck. We played our dinner/cocktail set in tuxes, but with the second set, the ties, cummerbunds and jackets came off and it was time to party. So, here I am in Chicago. Working, playing music and in possession of my rejection letters. Oh, and I turned 30. Then this really pretty blonde came to work at the restaurant and I was assigned to train her. There's a whole separate story about what happened, but it was pretty much the story of The Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Now I have a wife and I had always joked that if I couldn't be a rock star, I could sell real estate. I got my broker's license and was making good money, but not happy at my job. I loved meeting people and putting together deals, scouting the right house for the buyer or getting the seller's house ready for the maximum sales price. But I could not stand the weasels in the real estate business. I was not happy. One day, I was having lunch with my wife and sister-in-law who was a set decorator in Los Angeles. She had a knack for telling people what they should do with their lives. She looked across the table and said, "You should be a location manager." I looked back and said, "Okay, what's that?" She gave me an explanation and it sounded kind of fun. I was so naive that I had no idea I could get paid for working on a movie. I thought you just won a contest and they gave you the privilege of doing the job with an opportunity to be near famous people. My wife, the beautiful blonde that has her own story, supported me quitting my job as co-manager of a Century 21 office during the Chicago real estate boom where I was making more money than I "After a couple of months on TV, I felt I took a 15 percent pay cut and got an 85 percent boost in mental health. Were there crazy days? Absolutely! Same circus, different clowns. But on day one of the episode, the train is leaving the station whether you're ready or not." From the set of the short-lived Ironside (2013). They named a building after me. Photo: Chanel Salzer

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