What Does A Location Scout Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Location Scouts

Location Scouts help discover suitable environments for shooting scenes for a film or television production or other types of photography projects. They may need to find physical locations for specific scenes or the entire production.

No degree required
Interest Match

Location Scouts are essential to the production of television shows, movies, commercials, and other productions that involve outdoor photography. They are responsible for finding locations that match the needs of the script or storyboard, which helps set the entire atmosphere for the shoot.

Location Scouts spend a lot of time traveling to areas and scouting the exteriors and interiors of buildings or homes. They work closely with the director and producers to select the right locations. Working as a Location Scout is an interesting career path that provides an inside look at the processes involved in filmmaking and commercial photography.

What they do

Location Scouts help discover suitable environments for shooting scenes for a film or television production or other types of photography projects. They may need to find physical locations for specific scenes or the entire production.

Review scripts to determine types of locations needed

The first step in finding a suitable location is to review the needs of the script or storyboard. The Location Scout reads the script, storyboard, and any notes from the director or producers to understand what type of location is needed.

The Location Scout may create a list of requirements for each location. The requirements may cover the size of the location, geographical region, and features of the property. For example, the script may require a location with specific topographical features, such as a hill or a stream.

Search files or online resources to explore potential sites

After compiling a list of requirements, the Location Scout starts scouting for locations. Location scouting typically starts in an office. The Location Scout may have a record of locations that they have scouted or used before, which can simplify the scouting process. Location Scouts may also use search engines and websites to look for potential sites. For example, a Location Scout can use an online map to scout out nearby locations.

Contact property owners to arrange inspections

When the Location Scout has a selection of potential sites, they start contacting the property owners to arrange inspections. Gaining permission is necessary for scouting private land. The Location Scout needs to physically inspect the site to determine if it meets the visual and logistical needs of the production. They may travel to the site alone or with other members of the production team, such as the Director of Photography (DP) or Assistant DP.

Along with arranging inspections, the Location Scout is often responsible for negotiating the right to use the site. They often have a standard agreement that grants the production the rights to the use of the land on specific dates.

Compile reports on the locations that you have scouted

When scouting a location, Location Scouts need to take detailed notes about the exterior and interior features. They also typically take photos and record video to help the director and producers compare locations.

The report showcases why the location is a good fit for the project. It should also include details related to the geographical location, nearby features, and any issues that may impact the logistics of the production, such as difficult terrain.

Photograph the entire location before dressing the site

Property owners often require production crews to attempt to leave the site the way they found it. The Location Scout typically photographs every area of the site to ensure that the production team can restore it to its original condition after completing the project.

Film and television productions that are shot “on location” typically require set dressing, which may include props, furniture, and the construction of new structures. The photographs provide the team with a record of how the site looked before they arrived.

What is the job like


You get to become part of the production process

Working as a Location Scout gives you a chance to be involved in the entertainment industry. It may even provide a starting point for other career paths, such as working with the camera crew or set design team.

You get to explore interesting locations

Finding the right location involves scouting a variety of areas, including interesting and breathtaking sites.

You may work flexible hours

Location Scouts do not always work a set schedule. Depending on your responsibilities, you may have the freedom to set your own hours.

You do not need a college degree

Working as a Location Scout does not require a college degree. Many Location Scouts enter the field by becoming Production Assistants, which only requires a high school diploma.


You may spend long hours on the road

Scouting remote locations may require you to spend many hours on the road. The amount of travel can be tiring.

You may not always please everyone

Before scouting, you may get input from the director and producers, which may include conflicting requirements for the location. This often results in the selection of a location that may not please everyone.

Where they work

Film and Television Production Companies
Production Studios
Commercial Photography Studios
Freelance Projects

Location Scouts often work for film or television production companies. They are typically part of the pre-production crew and spend time traveling to different areas that may serve as locations for filming. Location Scouts may also work for commercial photography studios, helping to find locations that the photography can use as a backdrop. They may need to scout locations for advertisements and other types of commercial photography projects.

Some Location Scouts also work as freelancers. They offer their services to production companies and studios for individual projects.

How to become one

Step 1: Learn more about film or TV production

Aspiring Location Scouts should learn more about the industries where they may work, such as the film or TV industries. Explore the production processes by taking film classes or using online resources.

Step 2: Become a Production Assistant

Many Location Scouts start as Production Assistants and use the connections that they gain to obtain their first job as a Location Scout. It also provides a chance to get to know more about the production processes.

Step 3: Network with members of the industry

Careers in the entertainment industry often depend on who you know. Start networking with Producers, Directors, and anyone else involved in the industry that you plan to work in. For example, you may seek work in film, TV, advertising, or commercial photography.

Step 4: Seek entry-level Location Scout positions

After gaining experience and contacts, start looking for Location Scout positions. Many Location Scouts enter the field by offering their services at low rates or for free. You may also look for production studios that are involved in many projects as they frequently need additional help.

Step 5: Join a professional association

The Location Managers Guild International is a professional association for Location Scouts. Joining this guild is a good way to access networking and career opportunities.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Working as a Location Scout requires patience as you need to listen to recommendations from a variety of individuals and spend a lot of time traveling to locations. You also need to be creative as creativity helps you visualize the scene when reading a script or looking at a storyboard. Strong communication skills are also essential due to the negotiations with property owners and the need to secure licenses or tax breaks from local governments.

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