On a typical day you'll find me neck deep on a film set as a location manager, taking photographs of interesting people/places, traveling internationally or haphazardly throwing words on paper for some poor editor to salvage into an article. With a slew of films under my belt, I fondly remember the gratifying opportunities the film business has provided and how it has shaped my career and life experiences today. I strive to continuously push boundaries and love the challenge of finding the right location, be it touching the clouds with the Redbull Airforce 13,000ft in the air, driving in a presidential motorcade during torrential Chicago rains, or standing on the edge of the tallest building in North America.
LOCATION SCOUT + MANAGER
GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR
My journey in the world of locations began as an internship on a small film called "The Promotion" while I was attending college in Chicago. My initial dream of making millions designing websites quickly fell to wayside (and after reality set in) when I began collaborating with other students on short films. Something instantly clicked and I knew film production was for me. To this day, that naive first call to the APOC haunts me:
ME: “Hi, um, Jeremy! Marquee recommended I call you for a job on a movie!”
JEREMY: “Whoa, enthusiasm….great. What department are you interested in?”
ME: “…I’ve given this a lot of thought. The Directing Department!”
JEREMY: “Er. Alright…we already have a director. How about Locations?”
ME: (Short pause.) “I’ll take it!”
At the time, I had no concept of where scripted locations originated from or how logistics were managed. You just show up with a camera and actors right? Lights? Camera? Action? Little did I know those few months as an intern would forever change my perspective on movie-making. Working under two incredible Chicago Location Managers, Patrick Muldoon and Nick Rafferty, instilled a level of quality standards I carry with me to this day.
Most people cannot pinpoint their current trajectory in life to a single moment...
The story of "The Promotion" crafted by writer/director Steve Conrad revolves around two run-of-the-mill, lovable schmucks fighting to get the same promotion in a local Chicago grocery store chain. Both are plagued by bad luck in their personal and professional endeavors. John C. Reilly’s character’s marriage is on the brink. He stands in the frozen food section at closing time, cellphone in hand and tap shoes on feet. The tap shoes are a fruitless last ditch effort to share a dancing class with his wife. 1st AD Bruce Terris, scheduled this last scene of principal photography in the aisle of our hero grocery store. We filmed well into the night. The entire crew stood in silent anticipation of wrap. Steve yells action. [Silence.] John’s character standing in the frozen food section leaves his wife a heartfelt voicemail. The lights in the store cut off one by one. John ends the call. [Silence.] Andy Spellman (Key Set PA, now great friend) whisper cues the extras cars headlights in the windows...1...2...3...A slow build of classical music echoes throughout the store. The lights continue to turn off one by one as John romantically tap-dances the show to an end. After what felt like an all-consuming eternity but in reality was more like minutes Steve yelled cut, Bruce yells wrap and I was left there standing in the cheese aisle speechless, overwhelmed, vulnerable even. In that moment it occurred to me that there is something magical about this business we choose to invest ourselves in. I had never worked harder in his life and for zero pay but to experience that moment of pure clarity was compensation for a life time.
IT ALL STARTED IN 2013...
After winding down a 4-month marathon of what the crew affectionately refers to as utter “Bay-hem” on Transformers 4: Age of Extinction in Chicago, I remember spending my first lazy Sunday in months just catching up on emails in bed. The phone rings and it’s Ilt Jones (international Location Supervisor/Mentor/Dear friend) on the other end. We hadn’t spoken in weeks as he had been in Asia for the majority of filming.