There are some fantastic location resources out there--peerspace and wrappal to name a few. But what if your project has a really specific location you can’t find? Maybe you need a hardware store or a bathroom with stalls (weirdly hard to find people!) or a bar that has pinball?
Is a GREAT resource for finding locations too! Especially specific ones like the above. You can look over pictures to see if it matches your needs, check hours, and GET THEIR PHONE NUMBER.
When I’m cold calling places fro Yelp I make a spreadsheet with FOUR columns.
ONE is the name of the location (Bugga Bugga Coffee)
TWO is the location (Sometimes the address, sometimes just Downtown)
THREE is the PHONE NUMBER
FOUR is NOTES (Called, we need to talk to Steven, he comes in Friday at 2pm)
I first fill out at least TEN options in the first three columns.
I go to column 3 and start calling. I just say very simply, “Hi, my name is Allison and I’m working on a small film project. I’m curious if you ever rent your location for filming?”
If they say “No” say “Thank you!” and hang up.
If they say “I don’t know.” Ask who WOULD know and the best way to reach them. Sometimes it’s email or after 10am on Wednesday. Put this in your NOTES section.
If they say “Yes” say “Great! We’re hoping to film on June 3rd, we’d need the space from about 7am to 7pm, but we can be flexible to your time. It’s a small production, what are your rates?”
Sometimes they are used to renting to MAJOR productions and won’t be able to work in your range. Sometimes they need the project to be a student film, unless you ARE a student film, let them know you’re an independent low budget production.
A lot of great “mom and pop” places on Yelp will work with you and your budget! ESPECIALLY if you can be flexible on time. “We’d like 7am-7pm, but if you don’t typically open till 9am we can start then too.”
When AT a location, whether it’s from Yelp, Peerspace, a Studio Sound Stage, or a friends bathroom, follow the old camping rule--LEAVE IT BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT!
The owners will be grateful and you’ll be more likely to be able to film there again.