Chapter 12 of 30 from Martin Scorsese



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

Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking

In 30 lessons, learn the art of film from the director of Goodfellas, The Departed, and Taxi Driver.

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Class Info


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...

Study with Scorsese

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 class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach to filmmaking, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make—and watch—movies.

Watch, listen, and learn as Martin teaches his first-ever online class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Martin will also answer select student questions.


Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking