You already know Los Angeles offers a vast array of filming locations. You have an amazing project, and want to film LA in the most effecient way possible in order to put on screen your vision while showcasing the city you’ve come to love. But where to start? You don’t want to use the same film locations that have been shown ad nauseum in the past, yet the pressures of production limit the time you have so door-knocking and cold-scouting is out of the question, for the most part. Most of the time, you would hire a well-known or highly recommended location scout, the best of whom have been working in the industry for many years and know many hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path quality film locations.
According to Film LA, the agency responsible for issuing filming permits in many of the communities in Los Angeles County, there are over 400 location scouts in the Los Angeles area. While Film LA cannot offer recommendations as to who is the best one to use for your budget, a quick search on Google will show some recurring names. You can also contact the California Film Commission, who can not only send you a list of long-time location managers and scouts, but also direct you to their database of filming locations.
Another great way to source locations is to use a location agency (otherwise known as location libraries or location services). There are many listed in directories such as Variety411 and Creative Directory, but a word to the wise – these and other directories are not in the business of checking the licensure of all advertisers. California law dictates that all location agencies must be run by licensed real estate brokers as a California Real Estate corporation. Regrettably, there are only a handful of legitimate location agencies operating in Los Angles; most utilize shill brokers that are not part of the ownership team. One great way to see if a location agency is legitimate is to check the CA Bureau or Real Estate (dre.ca.gov and click ‘Verify a Real Estate License”) and enter the agency’s name. If it’s not listed, move on to the next until you find one.