Location scouting

So. Blogging. This is something I’m good at. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write, LOVE it. If there is one other aspect of filmmaking that I maybe might be almost good at, it’s writing. If I was getting paid to write scripts, I could bust those things out like you wouldn’t believe. But this BLOGGING thing? Gah, I do.not.like it. But it’s important for the movie, so I’m going to do it! And let you all see the deepest recesses of my mind! Just don’t unlock that door down there… That’s where the scary porn is.

ANYWAY, what I’m here to talk about is my adventures in location scouting, and why I will never ever, ever do it again and will always pay whatever insane price I have to pay to have someone else do it.

During a video conference taking place in a hospital room as my dear friend and co-writer Greg Metro recovered from having his gall bladder removed, we figured that the locations should be LOCKED by April 30th/May 1st. This seemed, to me at least, highly doable. The Massachusetts Film Office has this huge database of locations in the area (the search feature is broken, but it is still a nice tool) and we had weeks to find them. And as I stated in the last production blog, I wrote the script with limitations in mind. I just needed a Restaurant/Bar/Café/Coffee Shop, two random ass streets, a park, and a church.  Easy.

Nope! Nothing is easy!

The first place I went was this great park in Abington. Now, I’m not going to ruin any of the locations for you, but this place was an immediate first choice for lots of reasons. This would end up being the easiest thing I did during this whole location scout.

Next up was the church.  I made a list of three churches I found from the MA Film office website and set to work. Despite the nature of the film, I am not a religious man, and for whatever reason I assumed churches were just open to the public during the day. I mean, how many movies do you see people just walking into churches to pray? Or get into epic gun fights? Yeah, that’s not reality. The first church I went to was an hour away from where I live, and was very much locked, with no office people in sight. The second church I went to was unremarkable in just about every way. I’ll get to the third in a little bit.

So after making an appointment with the lovely office manager I actually got to see the first church on my list. It was very different from a lot of churches I’ve seen in movies, so I really wanted to use it, and set my Production Manager on it.

Now, finding the restaurant was a complete and total pain in the ass. Phone call after phone call not even returned, emails ignored outright rejections. I even tried to contact the owner of restaurant that was being renovated, thinking that situation would be ideal. THEY WOULDN’T CALL ME BACK! I went to a coffee shop around the corner from me that closed at 2, which also would have been ideal. There was never a manager there to talk to. Ever. Even after we explained that we just wanted to ask a question, and were in no way about to complain about anybody or anything.

And then the church we liked, which was initially open to the idea, made it look like it was going to back out of letting us shoot.

Two and a half weeks before filming was scheduled to happen and all I had was the freaking park. I have a tendency to panic, and I was very much panicking.

I finally went to the third church, which just so happens to be the church Diana (Death) goes to, to more or less beg them to let us shoot there. This church was just as exciting as my first choice, for entirely different reasons. It was rounded, had a grand pipe organ in the front. I loved it. I actually liked it more than the first church, and once again set my Production Manager to secure it.

Still needed a restaurant place type thing and streets!! This is getting exciting! (read: STRESSFUL).

Oh, and now the first church finally agreed to let us shoot there! BUT, I liked the other church better, and wanted to go with that. And then they said ok! Awesome! Two churches, but no restaurant! At this point I had probably four or five different people all looking for a place to film this scene. And then I lost the church I really liked due to an inadequate electrical system. I was already making a movie about the Devil, I wasn’t about to burn down the freaking church while doing it.

I’m not religious, but I’m not tempting fate!

The church thing was fine, because I still really liked our initial church. It’s going to work out great both visually and blocking wise. And I learned what a sounding board actually is! (Thanks Mikel!)

And then finally, just about a week before principal photography, we landed the Galway Bay Pub in Pawtucket as a shooting location.  After we made some minor, yet really exciting, changes to the script, we had all our locations!

Now if it can just NOT rain.

Next blog will be all about filming and acting and me hiding underneath a desk!

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