Top 6 Location Scouting Tips

Casa Madera Staff

7 min read

What should you look out for when scouting for a perfect location to shoot a film, reality TV show, commercial, or any other related productions? Well, if we are talking about world-class locations, you need to head over to Hollywood first!

Hollywood has been and continues to be a leading location for filmmakers, thanks to its consistent climate, endless pool of talent, world-class production companies, ample film and TV funding, and more.

Today, Hollywood is synonymous with the film and reality TV industry. In fact, media industries in many other countries globally have been influenced by Hollywood. It's no wonder our first tip is for you to select Hollywood as your primary area. Now, let's get on with the rest of our pre - production tips to help you out in your location scouting process.

Top 6 Tips for Location Scouting in Hollywood

1. Consider a Location that has Hosted a Filming Crew Before

This might be an uncommon location scouting tip but it's one that could save you some time and hassle in the future. Although the Hollywood area is no stranger to film locations, there may still be some people and businesses that don’t understand all that goes into a shoot.

As a result, the private property owner or host may lend the space for the shoot but could easily get overwhelmed as the production process starts. They may second-guess the process, location fees, timelines, etc. Unless they have witnessed or hosted a filming crew before and understand the intensity of the process, they could want to pull the plug on the situation. Film location scouts would do well to ask if the establishment has been part of film production before. Add this question at the top of a location manager's list.

Our tip is to opt for locations that know the process, have hosted crews before, and have a good idea of what they can expect. For reality TV, for example, a restaurant that has been featured before will not interfere with the filming process as the staff already knows what is needed from them and how to accommodate their daily activities with the requirements of the project.

2. Consider Unmistakably Hollywood Locations

If you are going to shoot any type of product and you want to infuse that unmistakable Hollywood feeling, consider a recognizable or favorite location.

For instance, if you want an elegant scene depicting the luxurious LA lifestyle, a location in West Hollywood, preferably on the famous Sunset Strip, with a great view of Los Angeles and the ocean (in the background) would be perfect.

Casa Madera in West Hollywood is a great example in this regard. The upscale Mediterranean restaurant is strategically located on the Sunset Strip with a straight-line view of the ocean and outdoors under a retractable enclosure. Casa Madera sits on the rooftop of the Mondrian Hotel, which is also an iconic Hollywood location.

3. Find One Location that Allows You to Shoot Everything

In a location scouting process, it's always advisable to find a location that can double up as many places, as this reduces logistical challenges and the overall film budget. We suggest you try finding a location that can appear to be different places at the same time.

For instance, a production requiring two different sets can be shot in a location likeCasa Madera in West Hollywood, which has multiple dining rooms and indoor/outdoor spaces with different themes that can suggest entirely different locations.

4. Consider the Filming Crew's Needs

Location ideas shouldn't only contemplate the cast and scenery. They should factor in logistical details. Ideally, the rooms should be big enough to accommodate the production team, their equipment, and support staff (i.e., the art department) with ease.

For example, Casa Madera has a great space: at 8,000 feet with a 200-seat capacity (indoor dining rooms and private dining space), it provides many shooting opportunities with ample space for filming crew, props (if needed), and equipment.

5. Consider Privacy

This is another crucial tip since most productions will require some level of privacy. In this regard, production managers should consider locations that can be fully booked. The ideal locations are those that can close entirely to accommodate the production.

For example, Casa Madera has private and semi-private rooms of different sizes, styles, and themes that can be booked for numerous types of shoots or films. You and your crew can also rent the entire restaurant for your shoot day and get access to every room and space. The restaurant curates space on request to accommodate different scenes. Technical aspects of shooting including powerful lights, power supply, ambient sound, props, sun exposure, and more can be accommodated.

6. Don’t Forget About Agreements and Permits

Lastly, filming locations should be locked in writing. You'll need a location release form highlighting all key elements of your agreement with a property owner to ensure everyone understands the process and their role. A film commission will also require permits.

Luckily, in Los Angeles, FilmLA facilitates filming permits in record time, given the city's core commercial activities include filmmaking. This isn't the case with other locations where you must wait for weeks instead of days to get a filming permit.

There you go! Scouting locations in Hollywood shouldn't be that, we hop our tips can help you along the way. Casa Madera is one of our top filming location suggestions in West Hollywood. Check outCasa Madera and book the space entirely or specific private rooms/spaces for production, depending on your project needs. You can call +1-310-878-0814 and visit the restaurant in person: Mondrian Los Angeles; Address: 8440 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069.

The restaurant has hosted reality tv show crews before and has been graced by numerous celebrities likeMark Wahlberg, who has used the location to promote his brand partnerships, among many other recognizable names.

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