Are you ever curious on what filmmakers and producers do to film at certain locations?
On this episode, Tanya talks to Kyle Hinshaw, Atlanta based locations manager for film and TV like Baby Driver, Walking Dead and Bad Boys for Life. Kyle walks us through the process of scouting and getting a location ready for a production crew. He also shares what the past few months have been like for him and how COVID has changed the way of production and technology.
Kyle shares details on what it’s like to work for different films and TV productions, dealing with state and federal governments, and getting clearance to film in different locations. Listen to his advice on what sets good professional location managers apart from the rest, and what you should do if you want to work in the film industry.
Key Points: 1:29 — Introduction
2:10 — Kyle’s backgrounds
7:27 — What is a location manager
10:15— How demand for location managers has grown
11:20 — Amateur vs Professional Location Managers
13:32 — Winning the Outstanding Location in a contemporary film for Baby Driver
15:23 — Getting clearance for locations
17:41 — His impressions on movies as location manager
19:50 — Working TV vs Films
22:20 — Covid impact for his industry
26:50 — Most drastic changes he’s seen after covid
27:30 — Thoughts on current changes in technology
30:05 — Scouting multiple regions/countries
32:42 — Difference between production designer locations & pre-existing ones.
36:00 — Making a location viable for production
37:05 — Budgeting for location as an indie filmmaker
39:18 — Getting state and government agreements/permits
40:49 — Making production aware of locations
42:54 — Commonly overlooked items in location management
43:19 — Future production roles
46:30 — Advice for filmmakers
I want to Listen On:
Follow us on social media:
Kyle Hinshaw (00:01):
[inaudible 00:00:01] police officers slowing down traffic behind us. We have like about 40 vehicles following in front. And we had live traffic moving behind us with our little bubble of 40 precision drivers and the camera vehicles and we did an active 180 stunt into those controlled vehicles with like the general public about a mile behind us, chomping at the beak to get around these police officers.
Tanya Musgrave (00:24):
Welcome to There to Here. An educational podcast where industry professionals talk nuts and bolts and how they got from there to here. On today's show, Kyle Hinshaw talks location management and what aspects to look for when considering bringing in a production. You may have noticed or you may not have that we have actually been absent for about a month. Yes, it's actually been a month. Time flies, right?
Tanya Musgrave (00:46):
A couple of things to note. Until further notice we will be a monthly podcast. Firstly, I'm in the throes of finishing up my masters and secondly, we'll be boosting more efforts towards the main There to Here podcast with Ryan Dye. Tune in there for interviews on entrepreneurship, non-profits, real estate, and tech. And if you want to keep in touch with film and media specifically, you can follow our new Instagram @CoLabIncFilm. This is also the place to ask your listener questions now, @CoLabIncFilm.
Tanya Musgrave (01:15):
As this is a new podcast, we're really wanting feedback. So go to media.colabinc.org. Fill out the feedback survey and you'll be entered to win a $25 amazon gift card. From CoLab Inc, I'm Tanya Musgrave and today we have Kyle Hinshaw, Atlanta based locations manager for film and television like Baby Driver, Walking Dead, Bad Boys For Life and the latest Gerard Butler, a sci-fi thriller that just got a delayed release. Thank you COVID. Greenland. Welcome to the show.
Kyle Hinshaw (01:40):
Great. Happy to be here.
Tanya Musgrave (01:42):
We're excited to have you because... I mean, we like having conversations with people with jobs that aren't necessarily highlighted. I mean, you always talk to the producers, you always talk to the directors but they stand on the shoulders of a lot of people and a lot of other jobs that don't get the same attention. I'm curious what your background is, did you intend to go into locations? Is that something that you're headed for? Or that you initially started off for?
Kyle Hinshaw (02:10):
I can't really say that I had a plan in place. I was at Georgia State for college and I was actually going for an English degree just because I didn't know what I was doing. And fell into a couple of different film classes and messed around with making videos in high school. I ramped up with a minor in film and then ended up taking some production classes and switching my major over.
Kyle Hinshaw (02:36):
And throughout my lighting classes and production classes and editing classes, and even an internship with a production company here in Atlanta, I don't really think I ever came across a location manager until I did a commercial for the production company I was working for. It was a Popeye's commercial. I'll shout out my buddy Tony Holley, he was the first location manager I did a show with. I think it was a Popeye's commercial and he does stranger things now. So weird.
Tanya Musgrave (03:09):
Man, that's awesome. How did you transition from, "All right. Well, this is a locations manager." "Hey, nice to meet you." To becoming one?
Kyle Hinshaw (03:17):
I basically worked all the way through college as a... I don't even know what my official title was with this production company. I started as their intern and then they'd call me their associate producer but really, I was probably more like a production coordinator. Or I did a lot of office work and some editing. So I wore a couple different hats. After I graduated, I worked for them about six more months and then realized I reached what I could with that company and started looking into other work.
Kyle Hinshaw (03:46):
And I had a friend on a cartoon network movie that actually knew from high school. It wasn't even a connection from film school. And she was working as the production secretary on a cartoon network feature called Ben 10. I got a job, initially, in the transportation department. Basically, doing their DOT compliance.
Tanya Musgrave (04:09):
Kyle Hinshaw (04:09):
And that fell through because their normal coordinator became available all of a sudden out of Louisiana. And I lied at that point. I was like, "Listen, you already hired me. I've got paperwork, I have a badge. You cannot fire me before I've even started."
Tanya Musgrave (04:28):
You got a badge.
Kyle Hinshaw (04:30):
"I know the location manager. Let me go see if he needs some help in his department." I was like, "Whatever, man. I need this job." And so he introduced me to Mike Riley, who has been the location manager on the walking dead for the entire run, I think. He's still doing it. He called me up and he said, "I think I got a spot for you but I need to know if you can do maps. I need you to make maps for me."
Kyle Hinshaw (04:59):
And I had a background in post production. I was like, "I can do anything you need me to. I'll figure it out." And yeah, I started out working in the office making the crew maps to get everywhere. As we ramped up into production, started with buying all the items that we needed in our kit and work the set whenever it came time and just worked as hard as I could and got invited back to another show he did later on in the year.
Kyle Hinshaw (05:29):
And in between that time, got hooked up on a second unit for a movie called Killers, which was Ashton Kutcher and Catherine Heigl with another manager. Just word of mouth.
Tanya Musgrave (05:40):
Kyle Hinshaw (05:40):
Started from there.
Tanya Musgrave (05:42):
Kyle Hinshaw (05:42):
Working the way up.
Tanya Musgrave (05:42):
That's so interesting. Because you got onto this gig, where was it that you figured out that, "Hey, this is actually... I'm good at this and I'm going to keep on doing this." As opposed to, "Oh, this is the thing that I did that one time."
Kyle Hinshaw (06:01):
I guess I just felt like it was well suited to my skill set. I don't mind office work. I like working out of an office. But I also like to get out in the field and I have a lot of flexibility in this position that I do my work in the office but also get out and drive and go see a location or make sure things are going well and get to interact with the general public more than most people on a film set. And that's the gift and the curse because I'm the one that they do.
Kyle Hinshaw (06:32):
So it's fun setting up interesting or complicated things for the production. But I also usually have to deal with the people that are not too happy with us filming wherever we're at. And that can be a little hair raising sometimes. I just realized ultimately, that I was probably well suited, somewhat masochistic, as well.
Tanya Musgrave (06:53):
As is everybody in this industry.
Kyle Hinshaw (06:56):
We take a little bit of abuse from everybody. The general public and the various departments on our shows. I think pretty early on, I've always wondered if I should have maybe tried other departments or tried to at least tried my hand at one or two other jobs. But this just stuck. I don't know.
Tanya Musgrave (07:19):
Well, if it suits you, there you go. So pitch me, why would I need a locations manager?
Kyle Hinshaw (07:27):
I would have to talk most people out of not hiring a manager.
Tanya Musgrave (07:30):
Kyle Hinshaw (07:34):
Yeah, I can't remember it. I haven't worked on anything aside from, I guess, a student production. I have not done a job without someone dealing with the locations side of things.
Tanya Musgrave (07:47):
Kyle Hinshaw (07:48):
On a large scale operation, we handle not only the creative side, which is establishing a look with the designer, and scouting with the director to establish the tone and look at the whole movie. But we also switch hats once things are selected and deal with basically all the on site logistics for working on location.
Kyle Hinshaw (08:11):
So we're hiring police, we're securing the permits, we are hiring security, we are finding crew parking and extra parking, extras holding, catering, bringing in any temporary facilities needed to accommodate all this, whether that's tents, or restroom trailers. If you're in a neighborhood, you have an on site assistant location manager dealing with neighbor contracts for lighting placements.
Kyle Hinshaw (08:40):
Anything you see, especially, on a studio picture, bigger budget, independent even has a location agreement with a contract and insurance and all of that equipment has to be submitted through a purchase order. And there's just an incredible amount of detail and logistics that go into bringing a company of 250 people on the location, every day.
Tanya Musgrave (09:04):
Kyle Hinshaw (09:04):
And especially on a movie where you're moving every day. Someone has to be looking out for those interests.
Tanya Musgrave (09:10):
Kyle Hinshaw (09:11):
And that's me or me and my team. On any given project, I usually have at least a staff of six people. For a movie like Bad Boys or Baby Driver, it was 12 or 14.
Tanya Musgrave (09:25):
Yeah, you'll have to forgive my ignorance because the totality of my experience in anything locations is like putting together one of those location breakdowns for my undergrad, which is like years ago.
Kyle Hinshaw (09:38):
Sure. Historically, I think the location manager position came out of the production world. Back when, even bigger productions on location were much smaller in scope, they would hire the location guy to go out and get the contracts and they'd basically report directly to the unit production manager or the producer, the line producer. We live in a litigious world and everything needs contracts.
Kyle Hinshaw (10:08):
And as that side of the job has grown more and more and increased the amount of heavy lifting we have to do, our staffs have grown over the years as well. Like on the first movie that I did in Atlanta, Ben 10, I was me and another assistant location manager, and a location manager. Four people. And I can't remember the last time I've done a feature length project with that amount of people.
Kyle Hinshaw (10:36):
We usually have an office coordinator and multiple assistant location managers or key assistant managers, and then a handful of PA's as well to help with putting up the yellow signs and distributing notification letters to be in compliance with the permit and just working the set, handling onset logistics like cooling tents for the actors or chasing down leaf blowers in a neighborhood or whatever.
Tanya Musgrave (11:03):
Wow, interesting. I mean, some of those things you would attribute to other departments needing to right after that kind of stuff. What does an amateur job look like compared to a professional one?
Kyle Hinshaw (11:18):
A good location manager doesn't short sell the impact that a production is going to bring to a community or a business or wherever we're filming. So I guess, you can tell if they're doing a good job by, is everybody happy? Is set moving the way that it needs to without unnecessary interruptions from the general public and has the general public then alerted to the activity that's going to be happening? Are they prepared for it?
Kyle Hinshaw (11:50):
Honestly, if we're not doing our jobs, there's either constant interruptions or people upset and we're just running around. Most of our work is done before the crew even lands. If all goes according to plan, I just have somebody there making sure that people get parked and checked in at base camp or shuttled to set, or wherever they're going. And getting air conditioning for the set that needed to land, landed the day before, restrooms aren't landing on the morning of. They're happening the day before.
Kyle Hinshaw (12:19):
Everything's prepped, ready to go. And that's a bunch of last minute stuff. I think that's the true sign of a pro versus amateur. Because it's easy just to say like, "Ah." It takes a little bit of forethought and planning to know what you're going to need in advance and make sure it's there. So we're not doing things that could have been done the day before.
Kyle Hinshaw (12:40):
There's certainly times where based on access restrictions or time restrictions, either by the location itself or by your permit, where things do have to land on the day but you want to minimize that as much as possible.
Tanya Musgrave (12:53):
Kind of like sound, where if nobody notices you, you're doing your job right, almost.
Kyle Hinshaw (13:01):
Sure. Yeah. I guess, absolutely. A lot of times, if I get called to set, it's not a good thing. I'm not getting called to set by the director to be like, "This is a great place, man. Congratulations." Because there's a problem. So yeah, I'll concur with that.
Tanya Musgrave (13:20):
And in an interview that you did on the podcast Pictures Up by David George, you mentioned that you had done some things on Baby Driver that had never been done before and you've even gotten an industry award for it? Am I allowed to ask what you did? What did you do?
Kyle Hinshaw (13:38):
Oh, sure. Well, so I'm part of a member of an organization called the Location Managers Guild International. Maybe there's a little link at their website but they basically promote excellence. So the Location Managers Guild hosts a yearly award show, my colleague, Doug Dresser, who was the supervising location manager on Baby Driver, there were two of us.
Kyle Hinshaw (14:06):
We both won the outstanding locations in a contemporary film for Baby Driver. And that was largely in part because we got unprecedented access and control over a bunch of interstates and state highways to do all these crazy stunt sequences for Baby Driver. From the opening sequence, they robbed the bank pulling off all these fantastic stunts to get out to the interstate and lose this police tail. There was, I think, four separate sequences on that show, where we just did a lot of really cool and never before done car work.
Kyle Hinshaw (14:45):
I do stuff like this in Los Angeles all the time. And that city is a little better set up to handle some of these requests. But my first meeting with the Georgia Department of Transportation was a bit of a... I used to have a wide-eyed stares. Basically, on asking to do a 180 onto incoming traffic on Interstate 75 running through downtown [inaudible 00:15:09]
Tanya Musgrave (15:15):
Gosh. I mean, how do you even begin to get that kind of clearance?
Kyle Hinshaw (15:19):
I'd pulled state permits before for that kind of work. It does take quite a bit of time. Between the first time that I spoke to them about the project and to the point where I actually submitted the permit, it probably took about four months. And then it took another two or three months to get the actual approval to do it. It came down to the wire on that one. It was March 12. I'll never forget. March 12, 2016.
Tanya Musgrave (15:49):
Kyle Hinshaw (15:52):
I think, we had a handful of meetings. The first one started with basically just a phone call between me and another local scout, basically, saying what sort of stretches of highway that she thought we could control. And the director didn't like any of those. He got in town with the supervising location manager, Doug. We went through basically, just drove around the city and they pick some different stretches of roads that look cool.
Kyle Hinshaw (16:23):
I worked with a traffic engineer to put together some traffic control plans, which basically is just like a overhead showing all the various signage and barricades and amount of police that we need to secure that section of road or to do it with intermittent holds with police officers or do it in a rolling block kind of way with basically, it's a little complicated.
Kyle Hinshaw (16:46):
But having like a row a police officers slowing down traffic behind us, we have like about 40 vehicles following in front. And we had live traffic moving behind us with our little bubble of 40 precision drivers and the camera vehicles. And we did an active 180 stunt into those controlled vehicles with like the general public about a mile behind us, chomping at the beak to get around these police officers.
Tanya Musgrave (17:15):
Well, Atlanta traffic is not forgiving but it sounds like a logistical masterpiece what you guys are able to pull off. Has that... I don't know. Ruined movies for you in some way? Where you're just like, "How did they pull off logistics in that?" How do you know that with movies? Or is it something? Because it's not like cinematographers just like, "Oh, I got to check out that lighting." I mean, I'm just curious of location managers. It's just like, "How did they pull that one?"
Kyle Hinshaw (17:43):
There are definitely times. I remember I actually worked with this guy, Todd Christianson. He did a movie called Sicario. I did a project with him after he had just finished. Did Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 together. And there's this whole scene where they're driving through the US Mexican border into the Mexico side in a caravan. And they actually went through the actual border.
Tanya Musgrave (18:12):
Kyle Hinshaw (18:12):
And they're filming it all through a helicopter. And I was like... Yeah, there's certain times where I am in full of whatever difficulties and however many agent government and state, federal, and local agencies had to be pulled in to accomplish it. So I can definitely turn it off and just enjoy a movie.
Tanya Musgrave (18:36):
Kyle Hinshaw (18:37):
But sometimes it's hard. While I was prepping Bad Boys, they set up this screening for us to watch the first two movies just for fun. And I was sitting there, Bad Boys II just looking at the carnage. I was like, "Oh, my God. We're about to do all this over [inaudible 00:18:55] So that one was a little surreal and a little more stressful than a normal viewing.
Tanya Musgrave (19:06):
Well, they're essentially showing you your fate. So buckle in.
Kyle Hinshaw (19:09):
Tanya Musgrave (19:09):
Kyle Hinshaw (19:11):
Yeah. Totally. The one thing I had on that one is it wasn't Michael Bay. It was two new guys. So I was like, "At least it's not Michael Bay. We'll get there. We'll get there."
Tanya Musgrave (19:26):
No, I have heard nightmares.
Kyle Hinshaw (19:27):
Michael, I would love to work for you if you're watching this. I can handle anything you throw my way.
Tanya Musgrave (19:35):
Well, I mean with just the amount, the scale, the scale that he usually goes for, you're just like, "Oh, my word."
Kyle Hinshaw (19:42):
Tanya Musgrave (19:43):
"How in the world?"
Kyle Hinshaw (19:44):
Tanya Musgrave (19:45):
Okay. So you have done stuff for both film and television. You did Walking Dead. And I remember you saying, in that particular podcast, that the schedule was fairly lucrative. So I know that in other positions like first day you work and like agents, they're fairly specific. They do... I'm one hour drama for television. I am three camera or I'm [inaudible 00:20:08] studio feature. You seem to go between both. Is that pretty common for a locations manager? Or is there much of a differentiation in your field as well?
Kyle Hinshaw (20:18):
I guess, I've done television projects and feature. I think a bulk of my work has been more around feature work. It's a different grind for us. The location manager on an episodic television show, particularly, like a network episodic, they're usually an eight-day schedule. Usually, four days out on location, four days on stage, five days out on location, three on stage, whatever the split is.
Kyle Hinshaw (20:47):
Some way more stage heavy than location heavy. But the location manager is rarely on set because he's prepping the next episode and our staff runs the current episode that's filming. So while one episode is shooting with its own director, its own AD staff, the location manager for that show is with the episode 103. While 102 is filming, episode 103 is prepping. And so they're scouting with the new script, which they probably got like three days before they go into production.
Tanya Musgrave (21:19):
Kyle Hinshaw (21:19):
And trying to tech scout and go through everything with the director and this whole other team. And then they get it into production and immediately start prepping the next episode. So it's a grind. I like doing feature work because we usually, have longer prep times. Think of the good we'll have done if you have a 10-week shoot. You at least get 10 weeks of prep.
Kyle Hinshaw (21:43):
And just the lack of time on television, it sometimes dictates what you can actually accomplish. And I like the challenge of being able to take a little bit more time to work on locations that are tougher to get. And we do have a, I wouldn't call it a luxury of time, because everything is always pretty frenetic. At least the calendar is not totally against us on a feature.
Tanya Musgrave (22:14):
Yeah. So what is your calendar looking like these days? COVID threw a wrench in a lot of production and a lot of the people that we've been talking to it's ground to a halt. But I mean, things seem to be picking up again. I don't know. Are things going up again for you as well?
Kyle Hinshaw (22:34):
Definitely. At March 13th, I was on a Netflix feature that shut down. It has since returned. I'm still, I guess, advising on that one. I have a staff over there. I joined another production for another studio. And we are in the last week of prep before we start filming this coming Monday. There's a lot of new protocols for physically distancing on set and sanitization on set.
Kyle Hinshaw (23:06):
We've had to redo a lot of the way that we do things just to accommodate some of the new realities that we're dealing with, with the pandemic. Including very regular COVID testing. I've been tested every day this week.
Tanya Musgrave (23:24):
Wait, wait, wait. The swab up the nose testing? Everyday this week?
Kyle Hinshaw (23:27):
Yeah, it goes up to right here.
Tanya Musgrave (23:28):
Okay. Okay. Not the one that tickles your brain?
Kyle Hinshaw (23:33):
Not the deep brain one. No, no. We're working. It's different. A long ways, it's the same. It's hard to think of like actual specifics now. But it seems like a lot of my colleagues are working. A lot of folks took about a six-month break. It seems like things are ramping back up.
Tanya Musgrave (23:55):
Kyle Hinshaw (23:55):
But a lot of shows are choosing to film on stage just because it's more controllable.
Tanya Musgrave (24:01):
Kyle Hinshaw (24:01):
At least the shows that can afford to build everything and shoot on stage on the backlog.
Tanya Musgrave (24:07):
Yeah, I was actually curious about how things have changed on the horizon for you.
Kyle Hinshaw (24:12):
Thursday and Friday. We're two days out from filming. And it's been on top of all the COVID, the new protocols and hoops, just busy. And we have a expedited prep because of all of them. So we're just against it. Up against everything.
Tanya Musgrave (24:29):
Yeah, has it been taking longer for you? I had heard a... It was a health safety supervisor who was talking about adding just a couple of hours per day. She was also a first AD before she was health safety supervisor.
Kyle Hinshaw (24:41):
That seems to be happening a lot. Yeah.
Tanya Musgrave (24:43):
Kyle Hinshaw (24:45):
ADs are taking on some of these HSC roles. We haven't started shooting yet but it will add hours of processing time for the crew which is unusual. Background have to check in every day. There are certain people that are less responsive now because of COVID. And getting answers on availability for things can be tough or just getting into places to get photos to see if we want to film there can be tough.
Kyle Hinshaw (25:14):
Because buildings are sitting empty or whatever the reason is. Honestly, the the biggest curveball is that two, almost three weeks of my prep was eaten up by our tech scouting, which normally is just like three to four days for a feature.
Tanya Musgrave (25:33):
Kyle Hinshaw (25:33):
We had to do a director pod with the director, designer, producers, and the DP. Go through tech everything with them. Go back the next week with the grip and electric pod, which was led by the director of photography and they tack on sound and special effects and stunts, I think, was on that one. And then the designer led their own scout with props, set deck, construction, paint, and set props.
Kyle Hinshaw (26:09):
Yeah, so we had to like basically do our tech scout three times, which was just an absolute killer whenever I'm trying to close agreements and wrap the show.
Tanya Musgrave (26:21):
Kyle Hinshaw (26:22):
And while normally, we'd all load into a big bus and do it all in one fell swoop, and we're all self-driving. So I'm not even getting worked in the time in between.
Tanya Musgrave (26:34):
Has COVID actually changed the future that much for you? You have people trying to do that Tyler Perry model where they're just like, "Oh, we're in a little bubble." Or they're doing more stagecraft and I don't know. Much more controlled sets like you were saying. Do you see that changing for good?
Kyle Hinshaw (26:52):
The most drastic change that I've seen is that we are trying to keep to 10-hour work days for the shooting crews during this period of time. I hope that would stay even after COVID just because I think it's... We work long hours, 10-hour days, doesn't mean that it's over at 10 hours. The ADs are still there for hours before and after hair and makeup still there. It's like a 10-hour day really turns into more like a 14-hour day instead of an 18-hour day.
Tanya Musgrave (27:19):
Kyle Hinshaw (27:22):
So I also see a lot more emphasis on cleanliness and sanitizing, which is a good holdover. In terms of, some of the new tech that's being tried out, I think that was happening regardless. These virtual stages, almost where everything is rendered in real time, that technology existed before. The LED screens, for instance, that the Mandalorian uses.
Tanya Musgrave (27:51):
Kyle Hinshaw (27:52):
I did a feature for Universal, a couple years ago, called First Man where we use that same technology.
Tanya Musgrave (27:59):
Kyle Hinshaw (28:00):
It's also pretty expensive. It's just shifting the costs around, I think. You have a lot heavier VFX budgets to deal with some of these like 3D landscapes. So I think it's always just going to come down to what's the most cost effective decision that gets you the most bang for your buck, and it'll depend on... Some directors are not as excited to work with this new technology. They want the analog, shooting on location, real world experience.
Tanya Musgrave (28:28):
If you can pull a 180 on an actual highway on I 75. I mean, I can imagine drivers would like to do that. I don't know.
Kyle Hinshaw (28:38):
Yeah. And then until the technology really does catch up. And I think you can tell what is actually real and happening in real life versus what's all simulated. There's a canniness or an uncanniness to some of these shots that I think most viewers are very savvy. Even someone that's not trained or doesn't have a lot of experience with production can still tell if it's a VFX shot or not.
Kyle Hinshaw (29:06):
That's important to a lot of directors. So it looks as real as possible. And sometimes the only way to make it really look real is to really do it. And that's usually in a real environment. Until they can just completely fake everything on the stage, I think, we'll have a job. And even if we don't, somebody's going to have to go out and find some of these like wonderful landscapes to do these things.
Kyle Hinshaw (29:31):
And maybe I'll just pick my show and the International path and trying to break into that.
Tanya Musgrave (29:40):
Regionally, is that something that you look for as well for your locations right now? The things that you take into account is it I'm only looking at the places like here in Atlanta and so I don't have to worry about the other regions? Or is it still along the lines of, "No, I mean, I bring in some Texas locations or what have you."
Kyle Hinshaw (30:04):
It's rare unless going into a job that they're looking in multiple regions or states or even countries. I'm a local location manager to Atlanta, I can work other places. Unless there's a union reasons that I can't work in Los Angeles or even New York because they're covered by the Directors Guild. I think if there's not a governing contract within a union, then I can work anywhere.
Kyle Hinshaw (30:40):
A producer can elect to take me internationally if they want to. I'd love that opportunity. I haven't had it yet. The current job that I'm on, we're supposed to work in the Atlanta area, and we're based out of a particular production office, and we have a 30-mile zone that we have to stay within in order not to have to pay the crew additional mileage. And also, because of COVID, we're not really allowed to put people out either.
Kyle Hinshaw (31:08):
So we had to stay within our 30-mile zone. There's certainly different municipalities within that zone that are more or less restrictive, based on the COVID-19 of it all. The city of Atlanta, for instance, is granting permits for right of way access, which is basically street parking but they're not allowing any filming or film related activity on city property. So you can't go shoot in City Hall right now because of the pandemic.
Tanya Musgrave (31:40):
Kyle Hinshaw (31:40):
Like if you are filming on private property in the city and need to get a lane closure or a street closure, that's allowed but it's my job to keep up with who's allowing what. And one particular hurdle on this current project is we have 13 days of filming in a school. And while it'd be great that all these empty schools right now would have let us in it only came up with about five different options for the director to choose between.
Kyle Hinshaw (32:13):
So a lot of my work in the early days was working with various school districts to find out who would actually, let us on their property. Wasn't many.
Tanya Musgrave (32:23):
Yeah. So we have some listener questions from our Insta and Facebook stories, and Twitter. If you want to ask your questions to future guests our handle on Insta is @colabincfilm. So there are quite a few. So we'll try to buckle up [crosstalk 00:32:38]
Kyle Hinshaw (32:38):
Tanya Musgrave (32:40):
All right. So what is the difference between having pre-existing location available like house, restaurant, store, etc. and having it production ready?
Kyle Hinshaw (32:49):
That's not a term that I use in my day to day. I guess-
Tanya Musgrave (32:53):
What would be the way to say it?
Kyle Hinshaw (32:55):
Well, I guess, I'm just trying to interpret it.
Tanya Musgrave (32:58):
Kyle Hinshaw (32:59):
There are locations that we would go in and the designer, the production designer would just say like, "I would take this as is. I wouldn't change a thing. I might just want to swap out the drapes or add some blinds to that window or something." There are other locations where we go in and we know we're renting this place but the designer will want to completely gut it and bring in their off set dressing and the grips or an electric want to install this really intense lighting rig, for whatever reason.
Kyle Hinshaw (33:29):
So it all just depends on the project and what we're looking for. And, again, the size of the budget. The big budget shows, they want to start from scratch, pretty much everywhere. Because they can. And they can really design the location as they want. Sometimes that's creating temporary structures on the property. Other times, we just literally will add a day of prepper strike on either end to make sure that it's pre-rigged for electricity and any support needed.
Kyle Hinshaw (34:02):
And then we'll just shop on the shooting day and shoot it almost as is. And then just pull everything out the next day.
Tanya Musgrave (34:09):
Got you. I think I understand what his question was because it was as someone who's trying to eventually provide a location, like say flipping houses or what have you. So as opposed to having a pre-existing location available like a house or a restaurant. Things that make the difference between coming in a set like that.
Kyle Hinshaw (34:29):
Tanya Musgrave (34:32):
Kyle Hinshaw (34:33):
It's always very specific to whatever location that you're trying to make available. But I think, the first step is just making sure or... We like to go places where it's easy to shoot. So even if that's just like you're really easy to work with as the location owner, you've spoken to all your neighbors and they're excited and it's going to be a good environment to get the work done.
Kyle Hinshaw (35:03):
Knowing how much parking on site is usually a good... If there's a parking that can be made available or ancillary areas around the location that can be used for logistical purposes, that's always a plus. Especially, now with COVID, we have to keep everything as close to set as possible because shuttling is next to impossible because we can only put two people in a van, at a time.
Tanya Musgrave (35:30):
Kyle Hinshaw (35:32):
Yeah. So right now, it's as hard as it's ever been to make a movie on location. I think before, prior to this, as long as you're not in a completely inaccessible place, then there's usually ways to make anything happen. Again, depends on the appetite of the production, how much money they [inaudible 00:35:51]
Tanya Musgrave (35:54):
So this might be the same side of the coin. What does it take to make a location viable for production?
Kyle Hinshaw (36:02):
A legal access to the property. Just depending on the scope of the project, I think, accessibility is the biggest thing. So if you have a very running low, low budget, really true indie handful of crew members, everybody's doing their thing. I think, pretty much anything is on the table, when you start talking about bringing a like a Marvel production into a certain place. You're landing a circus on that particular place.
Kyle Hinshaw (36:31):
And some neighborhoods just can't accommodate it. If you can't park semis in the neighborhood or at least bigger working vehicles and a ton of them and can't land 200 people on set, then it's just access is probably the biggest. It's just going to depend on what kind of show is scouting you.
Tanya Musgrave (36:52):
Yeah, for some reason, I was thinking more along lines of like, "Oh, they don't have." I mean, again, because of my undergrad experience that I had. Like, "Oh, how many power outlets do they have?" But of course, I mean, you have Jenny's and all that fun stuff that can be brought in and added. Yeah.
Kyle Hinshaw (37:10):
Tanya Musgrave (37:10):
Yeah, so accessibility. Big thing. All right. Awesome. So for indie filmmakers out there getting their start, how much should they budget for a location manager? Is it a day rate or a week rate? Or what?
Kyle Hinshaw (37:22):
I don't know the right way to answer this. I think for indie, I think... I would say like 1500 a week is minimum. That's basically, like hiring an overqualified production assistant. You do get what you pay for. I mean, I've definitely gotten emails asking if I'd be willing to work for about that amount. And I'm well beyond that. But at least for the indie world, I'd say like 1500 plus.
Tanya Musgrave (38:03):
No, it's good. It's good. I mean, for people coming into the game not having any clue whatsoever. I mean, if they've never hired a locations manager before, I mean, it's a good place to start.
Kyle Hinshaw (38:14):
Like for an indie project... I don't know. Most indie shows don't have one, you're right. So going into a house or something like that, maybe not. If you're doing a lot of driving work and have a ton of permitting or even working on property that multiple government agencies control... Like on Baby Driver, I think, I've pulled, not only a state but a federal location agreement and also a city permit just to film on one parking lot.
Kyle Hinshaw (38:47):
Just because we were surrounded by federal buildings and a state route. And we're on city property as well. We're city right away.
Tanya Musgrave (38:56):
Is that something that... I mean, people who want to, I guess, explore more about being a location manager? I mean, are those already existing agreements that are out there that the governments and the federal government, that they are used to working with? Or is that something that you've had personal lawyers draw off or something?
Kyle Hinshaw (39:18):
Yeah, for a studio feature, even for independent shows, usually, the studio or the production, the producing entity will provide legal counsel for us. And they usually have boilerplate agreements for various types of it. Like we have a hero filming location agreement, non-filmed location agreement, catering agreements, parking agreements, business interruption, releases.
Kyle Hinshaw (39:44):
And then we're in a particular market that's particularly savvy to filming. So as time progresses, most places have an in house filming agreement now. The feds definitely do and that's usually a harder agreement to get through because they don't make a lot of changes in the studios or production companies usually ask for all these changes to make it a little more forgiving to them.
Tanya Musgrave (40:11):
Kyle Hinshaw (40:12):
Feds don't really negotiate that much.
Tanya Musgrave (40:17):
I don't imagine.
Kyle Hinshaw (40:17):
I'm not a lawyer. I do a lot of contract work but it's under the advisement of an attorney or a paralegal. And I'm usually just facilitating the back and forth between our legal and theirs.
Tanya Musgrave (40:32):
Next question is what does it take to make big productions aware of a location? Like if they have a really cool house or a really good school or something. "Hey, I want this to be in a film."
Kyle Hinshaw (40:45):
Honestly, word of mouth is great. If you have general photos of your location, you can get them to a location scout, if you know one or sometimes the state or city that you live in has resources. I know-
Tanya Musgrave (40:59):
The film commission?
Kyle Hinshaw (41:00):
The state of Georgia maintains... They maintain a photo database for producers. They give the state like a location list and they'll pull from all their files and just send a package to them. And I'll sometimes be the one requesting just to have something to show folks like the director of the production designer and get some feedback to them, relay some of their feedback to my scouts, who go out and find things on their own as well.
Kyle Hinshaw (41:33):
Sometimes you'll just get called scouting. If you ever get a letter in your mailbox asking if someone can come photograph your house, that's because a scout saw your place and thought it worked for the script and wants to get some more detailed photos. There's also paid location services. And they usually cater towards more commercial work. Things where producers are coming in, not familiar with the lay of the land. And they're basically like an agent to location owners.
Kyle Hinshaw (42:05):
I tend to not work with them as much unless I have to, just because it's an additional entity to deal with and then pay but some locations in savvier markets are repped by location reps. So they're representatives and you have to deal with them. But those representatives have location services that basically do, I guess, what we do. It's more of a boutique service, I guess.
Kyle Hinshaw (42:36):
And they're not on the crew like were hired by the production company. They're a vendor, almost.
Tanya Musgrave (42:43):
Okay. Okay. Okay.
Kyle Hinshaw (42:44):
Tanya Musgrave (42:45):
What are the commonly overlooked essentials a location needs to facilitate a production?
Kyle Hinshaw (42:50):
They're not commonly overlooked but parking's a great thing to have, running water, and facilities is great, in house electricity.
Tanya Musgrave (43:02):
All right. Next the last question. Do you have plans to move further up the producing ladder? Or are you happy in locations?
Kyle Hinshaw (43:09):
I am happy and locations. There's definitely a path up from here. Usually, through production supervising. And that basically, would just... If I work with a line producer that wants to give me a shot and move me into the production supervisor role, that's a possibility. And usually, the production supervisor transitions, at some point, in their careers into a union position with the DGA, which is the unit production manager, which sometimes is a line producer or sometimes it's just the unit production manager on its own. They're not wearing multiple hats.
Kyle Hinshaw (43:48):
I like the flexibility. I'm raising a family right now. So I can usually be at home for bedtime or maybe start a little bit later in the morning to be with my kids in the morning. I think the more I move up, if I do ever move up, I'm going to be back on set. The production supervisor and production manager are usually cut on set hours and it's a lot more dealing with the crew on our show, or whatever show you're doing. So I think, again, it's something I would want to maybe get an opportunity to try later on.
Kyle Hinshaw (44:21):
But this is a fun job. I enjoy doing it. It's definitely has its days where sometimes I'm not as jazzed or excited about. Beside the call it quits yet.
Tanya Musgrave (44:34):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think, it's really interesting that you mentioned that because I mean, we've talked frequently on this podcast about healthy boundaries and especially, in this particular business, where it's normal to just be like, "Well, you got to pay your dues. And so you're going to be treated like crap for 10 years. You're not going to be able to have a family." All that stuff. And you're going to sacrifice all of this in order to have this but I think, it's really cool that you've found a place where you can have the best of both worlds.
Tanya Musgrave (45:06):
And I don't know. Because the majority of my friends, they're still single, they're still in that vein of things where it's just like, "All right. Well, it's either this or that." I don't know.
Kyle Hinshaw (45:16):
Yeah. I'm definitely off production. So I'm [inaudible 00:45:20] on the call sheet. I usually am there to open the set every morning, whenever call time is, I'm usually there a few hours before, and I'll hang out till the get first shot. And then I'm usually off prepping the next location. Unless, we're at a place that just really does need to be there all day, which, I've been on those jobs.
Kyle Hinshaw (45:38):
Baby Driver, I was on set pretty much all the time and working. There was not a day, while we were in production, that I had a day off. It was about 10 weeks straight that I worked, which is great on the paycheck but then my daughter was like... She was a year and a half. And it was almost three months that I was just seeing her and my wife for 10 minutes a day. But there's also a lot of people that go on the road in this business and work out of town, and will spend that amount of time away from the family.
Tanya Musgrave (46:12):
Kyle Hinshaw (46:12):
So I'm lucky, I feel blessed that it's here where I work, and I haven't had to chase it across the country or around the world. And I have gotten to a point where I have a nice balance and that's great.
Tanya Musgrave (46:25):
Last question. What should I have asked you?
Kyle Hinshaw (46:29):
Oh, my God.
Tanya Musgrave (46:31):
It's always my favorite because that's pretty much the reaction I get every single time.
Kyle Hinshaw (46:36):
I guess, I do have, I guess, a sprinkling of advice I could give on.
Tanya Musgrave (46:41):
Yeah. Sprinkling an advice.
Kyle Hinshaw (46:45):
Well, I don't think there's a formula for being successful in our business. I think you've got to hustle in the beginning. I was just focused on working. It is a business. A lot of times there's a bottom line that we're all trying to meet. And I've done jobs where my department's responsible for half a million dollars. I've done jobs where I'm entrusted with 3 million. You got to meet your bottom line, you got to be impeccable with your word, follow through when you're say you're going to do something and people don't have to fire you in our business, they can just not hire you the next time.
Kyle Hinshaw (47:25):
So just because you didn't get fired doesn't mean that you're going to be welcome back the next time. So you just want to be doing the best job that you can. I think people can tell whenever you're phoning it in. It's the movie business. It's not best friends race or whatever.
Tanya Musgrave (47:41):
Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it giving us a window into your world.
Kyle Hinshaw (47:47):
Tanya Musgrave (47:47):
Thank you for joining us. If you enjoyed this interview, follow us right here and check out more episodes at media.colabinc.org. If you have comments or know someone who would be a great guest on our show, send in your suggestions to Tanya@colabinc.org. Again, Kyle, thanks so much for your time, be well, and God bless. We'll see you next time on There to Here.