Prep the Set, and …. ACTION!
Getting a community ready for the screen
The film industry in Ontario is booming.
More and more big screen Hollywood productions and television series are looking to Ontario communities to serve as the backdrop for their stories, and there is no indication it is going to slow down anytime soon. The challenge for Ontario’s cities and towns is preparing for the audition and winning the role.
“This is a fun business, but it is definitely not glamourous like on the screen,” says Sharon Wilcox, Film Commissioner at the Brampton Film Office. “There is a lot of work that has to be done to make filming on location, as opposed to in studio, run smoothly. Knowing your community, having connections in your city and supporting the production are keys to the success of location filming. A good local Film Office can make things easier and help with a smooth shoot day.”
Brampton has become a favourite place for movies and TV. Its Film Office is fielding about 20 inquiries a month from location scouts and producers. There have been 19 film permits issued so far this year, on the heels of 60 issued in 2015.
It is a city that certainly benefits from its proximity to Toronto, but Brampton’s success is based on much more than location, location, location. Wilcox offers several factors that can make a community attractive for the screen:
· Variety. The more potential sites you have, the better your chances of securing the interest of a location scout. Brampton has found modern settings are attracting particular interest these days, with the growing popularity of futuristic, space and science fiction stories. This has helped Brampton secure shows such as Killjoys, Dark Matter and Defiance and movies such as Downsizing.
· Labour pool. An experienced crew is a huge boon. They can smooth the process of getting the film crew in and out, ease local disruptions and make it a better experience for everyone.
· Know your city. A film office has to be a location expert and must know the best spots to film. Be prepared to document and track all productions and advise the crew of local regulations, such as requirements for road closures, parking, etc.
· Be inquisitive. When a location expert calls looking for a setting for one scene, ask if there is anything else they might be looking for. Quite often you will find there are other locations you can offer them.
· Visuals. Words are nice, but a picture is worth a thousand of them. Build a photo gallery of possible film locations, and ensure there is a mobile-friendly way for location scouts to see what you have to offer. And if they want something that isn’t in your gallery … go get it.
· Be social. Engage with your target audience — that is the location scouts. Find them on Twitter and chat with them. And then use those same channels to thank them when filming has wrapped for choosing your site.
“We want movie and TV crews to feel welcome in Brampton,” says Wilcox. “We want them to film here and then tell colleagues about the great experience they had.”
For more information on the Brampton Film Office, please visit http://www.FilmitHere.caor follow it on Twitter @FilmBrampton and YouTube.
About Brampton: The ninth-largest city in Canada, Brampton celebrates a diverse population that represents people from 209 distinct ethnic backgrounds who speak 89 different languages. Brampton residents and visitors have access to state-of-the-art recreation facilities and one of the fastest-growing transit systems in Canada. Opened in 2007, Brampton Civic Hospital is part of the William Osler Health System, which is one of the largest community hospitals in Canada. For more information, visit www.brampton.ca or follow @CityBrampton on Twitter.