Location, Location, Location.

Where do you find locations?

  • Asking friends, family and coworkers (You’d be surprised that your uncle’s friend’s brother owns an old missile silo)
  • Driving around scouting locations and explaining to people what you are and what you’re doing
  • Empty buildings!
    • The terrible economy can at least help a poor filmmaker. If you know a building has been empty for awhile, find out who owns it and see if they’ll rent it out to you for a few days. Some money is better than no money for the landlord!
  • I’ve used Store Front before with good results. If they are in your city, they are like the AirBnB of retail properties.
  • Also plain AirBnB could be helpful. Need a cottage to shoot in for a day? Search for one. Just explain to the owner what you’re doing beforehand.

Personally, I think free is always better since costs can easily spiral out of control. Make sure you’ve exhausted all your connections for a free location before you move on to renting out a space.

Some locations might require you to have film insurance. If you think you could never afford film insurance, you might still be in luck. Google film production companies in your area and contact them to see if they’ll add your production to their policy for a small fee. Since they most likely already pay for insurance year round, you’re sure to find one in your area that will help you out. Just be prepared to make a lot of calls and emails.

Also depending on your city, if you plan on filming on or in public property, you might need a permit. Your city hall’s website should have all the info you need. I’ve contacted the Chicago Film Office before and they were surprisingly helpful and realistic with what I was trying to do.