Once a script gets to a point where all major variables (locations, characters, important props) have been determined, then the pre-production phase may begin. (Of course this is assuming funding is in place...) Location scouting is one of my favorite aspects of the filmmaking process because I am able to explore and shape pieces of the real world to create the imaginary space that previously had existed solely in my mind.
Sometimes, you are able to find a location that works just as is. Most of the time, however, it takes a little modification for the location to match what the scene requires. When I imagined the intense scene in the bedroom, I knew I wanted it to be a very high contrast setting and to have a strong warm/cool dynamic.
The picture below is from a location scout for Mr. Williams' bedroom. To see how this window was used in the final film, check out my earlier blogpost on The Writing Process.
The large window in the bedroom that we selected fit what we needed perfectly. With a little rearranging of the room and furnishing it with character-appropriate items, we had Mr. Williams' bedroom.
For the classroom location we wanted to utilize the beautiful natural window light that lined a whole wall of the room. (Are you noticing a pattern here? I love the natural light feel.) To better achieve this, we rotated the orientation of the desks by 90 degrees, thus utilizing the windows as a side keylight. You can get a sneak peek of the classroom in this screenshot from the film.
One of the great things about film is you can create geography that doesn't really exist. In The Hideout, there is a sequence that starts here with Sam (played by Brogan Hall) on the playground, and then we follow him as he heads back into the classroom. The sequence uses three separate locations instead of the one contiguous one because the geography wasn't well suited for what we wanted to do.
One of my favorite locations in the film was the treehouse. The film is named for it after all...I was drawn to it's multi-storied structure and the beautiful setting in the woods. The rope wall on the porch was an especially nice touch.
However, there wasn't a very good way to climb up onto the porch. I had always envisioned a rope ladder, and after looking at options online we found that it was vastly more cost effective to build our own, so that's what we did.
The trapdoor opening to the top part of the treehouse is one of my favorite features of the location. By now you should be familiar with my enthusiasm for windows, and so in order to fully appreciate the natural light we removed the mesh screens from each window and raised the wooden flaps. Producer Matthew Disbro, pictured below, was instrumental in helping me achieve my vision and was a huge help throughout the entire process.
Each location is special to the film and in their own way became characters themselves. I'm excited for you all to see the finished film! Be sure to check out my other blog posts if you haven't already, and I will be back soon with another behind-the-scenes post.