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Goldilocks-ian Locations

*Goldilocks-ian isn’t an actual word. But read on, you’ll see what I mean.

I thought I was entirely clever for having written a story that takes place in one location. I thought, well hey, that should be easy enough to lock down ONE place. Right? Well, yes and no. If the story took place in a bedroom, sure –that’d be easy enough, I could use my own room! But nope, I wrote Just Like That to take place in a flower shop. Even more, I wrote some of the blocking and scenes to make use of the windows. In other words, I had imagined a certain set geography in which the characters lived their lives. Being the stubborn Leo that I am, I never went back to rewrite scenes to take place in a generic rectangular shaped room, which most flower shops seem to be. You might be asking yourself, how do we find these locations? What specific things are you looking for? How do you go about locking these places down?

Because of how quickly this project came together, and the do-it-yourself nature of it all, we went about without a location manager. On top of that, I was debilitated with the lack of vehicle. I had to make sure Richard was available to check out certain places. I put a call out on the social media networks for leads. I received one from that. After a week and a half of asking my network, and keeping my eyes peeled during my morning commutes, we had a total of three. I called around for more, but many places just weren’t interested.

The first place was simply too small. It came in as a recommendation from Christina, who runs The Luna Co. We traveled to Vallejo to give it a gander and meet the owners. They were receptive, good natured, and game. Unfortunately, because of a few factors, it just wasn’t going to work. Not only was it too small, but a farmer’s market operation on the weekends. Big no-no when considering sound and other on set related activities. There’d be too much uncontrollable audio issues that would undoubtedly find it’s way to our production.

The second place we checked was a flower shop that was right off of my morning train commute. I thought, hey, that’s convenient, I’ll pop in there to investigate. The space itself was fantastic. In fact, it was remarkably close to what I had imagined when I was writing the script. The lighting inside was fine, and so was the general layout. Unfortunately, after some back and forth with the owner, it just didn’t work out. You can check them out on Yelp -you’ll see what I mean.

Finally, a friend (who is now onboard as our script supervisor), poked me and said she might know a place. The funny story there was, she sent me photos of the exterior of this flower shop, which, by all accounts looked great. However, the website she included in the e-mail, belonged to another flower shop.

That was the one I called and scheduled a look-see. Richard, Amy and I arrived at a location that didn’t match the exterior photos, but the interior looked just right (Goldilock-ian!). Fortunately, the owner was incredibly receptive, despite us showing up a couple of days before Mother’s Day. The space totally worked. I left the owner a packet with the script and letter of intent. Soon after Mother’s Day, I was pleased to hear that Frank, the owner, was game for having us shoot Just Like That in his shop. Thank you Gilroy Flower Shop!

So what kind of technical considerations did we have to address? Well, we had to make sure there were restrooms that the cast and crew would be able to access. Secondly, what would the general set up be like in terms of staging area, craft services, and outlets. Then there was the cost factor to consider. Was this place going to let us shoot for free, or charge us for being there, possibly slowing business down. Luckily (knock on wood), Frank has been positive about it and has agreed (at least to my understanding) to just let us use the store at no charge.

Also in regards to cost, the question I was asking myself was, “does this location require more set dressing?” Because of our low-to-no-budget, the more I can get the place to look the way it should on screen, the better! And lastly, was there enough space? After finalizing the cast and crew list, it looked like we would have, upwards of about 23 people on set, at the most.

I’m happy that this part of the process has been, for the most part, locked in. In retrospect, I probably could have made more phone calls to more places but, this seems to have worked out just fine (knock on wood). I’ll take better care on future projects.

Onward and upwards!

Don’t forget, you can follow me and Square Marden:

A clip of Richard and I doing some general location scouting (not related to Just Like That)

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