Locations Can Make or Break Your Film or Screenplay (Part 1)
February 8, 2015
As a screenwriter and filmmaker I find locations to be one of the most compelling elements in the creative process. Perhaps as important as casting the right actor for a role, the location you choose for your film will lend itself to fantastic cinematic qualities.
Take for instance some of the recent films that have garnered tremendous adulation and awards. The Grand Budapest Hotel, by its very own title, is the lead character in this film. And certainly the filmmakers paid a great deal of attention to the locations in the film, and the overall look and feel.
Another noteworthy film is Curfew, the nineteen minute short film that won the 2013 Oscar for Best Short Film, Live Action. That film won another 15 awards throughout the world.
What made these films interesting (besides the obviously great stories) were the locations and the cinematic qualities. The locations were interesting. It draws the audience in.
OK, so great locations help make a film better or even great. So how do locations help the screenwriter?
Screenwriters are always searching for the next "story". They become very good at observing the world around them, particularly what people say, or they search for stories in news articles, books, or other media. They constantly ask themselves: "WHAT IF..."
That is why a great location can inspire a writer. What about a creepy road through a wooded area? Or, an abandoned hotel? Unique locations can become important features in a screenplay like the cabin in the woods in Secret Window or the hotel in The Shining.
For the filmmaker locations can also present a whole different challenge: cost and access.