From Martin Scorsese's MasterClass

Locations

Martin shows you what you should look for when scouting locations and how to turn your location limitations into advantages.

Topics include: Scouting Locations • Spend Time at Your Location Before You Shoot • What's on Screen Is All That Matters • Solve Location Problems Creatively

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Martin shows you what you should look for when scouting locations and how to turn your location limitations into advantages.

Topics include: Scouting Locations • Spend Time at Your Location Before You Shoot • What's on Screen Is All That Matters • Solve Location Problems Creatively

Martin Scorsese

Teaches Filmmaking

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After World War 2, primarily, they began to shoot films in New York. Kiss of Death, Cry of The City, a sense of a docudrama, House on 92nd Street, things like that. And, more and more films were being shot-- Naked City-- being shot in New York that way. And so, it began to mix sound stage work with actual location photography. And that slowly developed into what we do now. By the end of the '50s and the early '60s, the equipment got lighter and were able to shoot anywhere, supposedly. But, back in the early '90s, Federico Fellini, he never shot outside of Italy. He said he didn't understand any other place. So he was going to make a series of films about the different jobs, different figures in filmmaking. An hour film, let's say, on the actor. An hour on the producer. An hour on the director. An hour on the writer, that sort of thing. And we were trying to help get it off the ground. I remember, we actually got some financing for the film he was going to make on the producer. And in the script, it was purely Fellini-esque, of course, he went into great detail about location scouts. And he said, it's really important to get a production manager and producer to understand about location scouts. Particularly when you start early in the morning, and then you have to stop somewhere and then continue on. The key thing was to choose a location midday that you really aren't going to use, but it's near the best restaurant. So you can have a great lunch. And this this was the tone of the kind of thing he was talking about in terms of describing the different roles of filmmakers and the crew have to make a picture. The location scout-- you want a location scout to go out there who really knows exactly what you want, if you know exactly what you want. And what I mean by that is that, you may feel you need something that has a sense of this particular place or that particular time. Brick work, but maybe with some stucco over it, you're not quite sure. So that person has to go and choose maybe four to five-- six-- maybe more, different looks and bring that back to you so you could help make a decision. But, you know, shooting stills of location, or even taking video of locations today, it's really deceptive. You have to be very careful. The best thing is always to go there. I personally don't like location scouting anymore. We can't get anywhere in the traffic. Traffic is too heavy-- cars-- it's bumpy roads. It takes a long time to get to a place. You look at it and you're not satisfied with it. But, look, this is part of the process, you do as best you can. [MUSIC PLAYING] In pictures and on video, sometimes things look really great. And you say, I've done this before, I'm going to shoot, I don't have to go see it. Well, when I got there, it was different. And I should have gone. In some cases, we were able t...

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Martin Scorsese drew his first storyboard when he was eight. Today he’s a legendary director whose films from Mean Streets to The Wolf of Wall Street have shaped movie history. In his first-ever online film class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make and watch movies.

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In this day and age people are trying to make movies with their phones, but I like hearing the knowledge and experience of a seasoned veteran.

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Comments

Juan Pablo M.

I allways recomend my students (and try to do it by myself too) visit locations at the moment of the day they are going to shoot, so they are able to know about the light and sound conditions of the place. Very good lesson.

Jo E.

Another Great Lesson...! As a writer while I'm gathering my thoughts for a particular scene I always picture a location in my mind where I want it to take place. The challenge I'll be facing with finding locations is to find places that have not been modernized because my story takes place in 1969.

Dinar D.

As I went through the assignment, I realized one important thing that was taught by Mr. Martin Scorsese and that was, the appropriate amount of light, or to put in, correct words, I would say the light intensity for day and eve or day and night cycle. The color that looks perfect for your scene in the day time, changes if there are clouds or at night it gives a different feel altogether. This made me think about the choices that I need to make for my short film assignment.

Eric G.

Location, location, location...same is true in films as real estate. I am lucky in that my first film is based on a best seller author's work who literally writes his scenes in his novels on the location where they occur. No scouting necessary, per se. If it doesn't work technically, then sound stage work is the alternative with greenscreen for backgrounds. In this day we can do preliminary scouting in a lot of cases using Google maps 3D. I know I have worked on and eliminated quite a few using that process of simple preliminary evaluation. Still, a good location scout is hard to beat if you can find one who knows what you want, and what you can use which fits the screenplay and the director's vison.

Eric G.

Location, location, location...same is true in films as real estate. I am lucky in that my first film is based on a best seller author's work who literally writes his scenes in his novels on the location where they occur. No scouting necessary, per se. If it doesn't work technically, then sound stage work is the alternative with greenscreen for backgrounds. In this day we can do preliminary scouting in a lot of cases using Google maps 3D. I know I have worked on and eliminated quite a few using that process of simple preliminary evaluation. Still, a good location scout is hard to beat if you can find one who knows what you want, and what you can use which fits the screenplay and the director's vison.

Robert A.

Great to know about location scouting!!!. Because that is a very important thing for a film, the locations are characters too in a film to me. And it has to be just as good as the characters and story etc.

Jamie V.

Happy to hear the Location Scouting process addressed here. IMO the key is to collaborate with a good scout. To new filmmakers, respect this part of the process and seek out a location scout. We are fellow collaborators too. Here are my thoughts and opinions on the location scouting process and a few specific definitions: https://nebraskalocation.com/2018/02/03/location-scouting-definitions-process-collaboration-respect/

Tanner K.

me and my friends made this after watching this! let me know what you think

Maram J.

I have come to absolutely love location scouting. I keep finding little bouts of inspiration on how to improve my script and mould my characters around their environments before shooting, so that when the day comes we are ready to go.

LaVette G.

I began doing this a while back. Now it helps to comprehend why. Thank you!