Behind the scenes: Location Manager
We go behind the scenes at Shorty Street to find out what it takes to be a Locations Manager for the country's busiest TV show.
Meet Bryce Woods, organiser extraordinaire!
In a nutshell, what does your job entail?
Well my job starts with getting pre-published scripts, usually about 6 weeks ahead of shooting, followed by a meeting with the producers and HOD's in which we discuss upcoming location scenes.
Once I have an idea what the producers and writers are looking for, I then go out and scout/call/door-knock, or find options from my large library of photos, until I find an option that everyone is happy with.
Once that is decided, I arrange all permissions either from council or from location owners, including location contracts, traffic control, parking permits etc.
Next come all the logistical details like crew parking, equipment areas, power supply, lunch, actors green rooms etc, as well as hire/provide the gear necessary like generators, trailers, indoor mats, drop cloths and so on.
Finally, on the shoot day, I provide all on site support, making sure that the crew look after the location, and leave it in the same condition we found it in.
How did you find yourself as Shortland Street's Locations Manager?
I started working in film as an on-set transport driver in 2003, and worked my way up through cast driving, production assistant, transport co-ordinator, and traffic control on many different productions.
One day doing traffic control on the set of Outrageous Fortune, I gave my CV to the Location Assistant at the time, and he forwarded it to the producers at Shortland Street, who by chance were looking for a new location assistant at the time.
One interview later, the job was mine!
A typical day for you involves...?
Well, there is no typical day as a Locations Manager. It could be out scouting locations, meeting with Council and doing permits, making calls, or doing recce's with directors of up-coming locations.
Then there's a shooting day. It starts with putting out signs to direct crew to location.
Once on set at about 6am, I park crew, set up power for lights, set up the unit table for breakfast, lay out floor mats and drop cloths to protect the location etc.
During the shoot day I oversee the shoot on behalf of the location owner, making sure the crew respect the location, so when we finish filming it is left as we found it.
At the end of the day I wait for all crew to pack up and leave before I clean up and lock the location and head home, usually around 7.30-8pm.
What do you love most about the job?
The best thing about this job is that no two days are ever the same.
Different locations, environments, new people, new challenges all the time. It certainly doesn't get boring!
Whats the most challenging part of the
Meeting the location requirements of the scripts can be difficult at times, as they are fictitious stories, so don't always occur in reality.
Also staying ahead of the schedule, always working 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the shooting schedule can be challenging sometimes.
What advice could you give people who would like to pursue a career in your field?
A good practical knowledge of all facets of film making is key, so gaining experience in other areas (unit/camera assist/assistant director etc) will definitely help you to understand the requirements of all departments.
Ability to foresee, and therefore plan for potential problems and combat them on location, as well as thinking on your feet is also important.
A good location assistant is always handy, nothing beats rolling up your sleeves and getting involved!
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