A complete guide to finding location scouting work

Whether you are new to the film and TV industry or are looking for exciting new opportunities, there are plenty of amazing location scouting opportunities out there — it’s just a matter of knowing how to scout them out.

In this guide we break down everything from how to get started as a location scout for those trying to break into film and TV, to hot job hunting tips, cold emailing tricks and industry networking advice.

Contents

  • How to get started as a location scout
  • Who do location scouts work for?
  • How to establish yourself as a trusted location scout
  • Where are location scouting jobs posted? 
    • Industry job boards
    • General job boards
    • Freelance platforms
    • Social media
    • Film commission websites
  • Can cold emailing help you find location scouting jobs?
  • Tips for networking in the film industry
  • Final thoughts

How to get started as a location scout

image of outdoor seating area in exotic location
Image by Maria Orlova

Unfortunately there is no set path to landing your first role in location scouting, but it does typically involve a combination of education, networking, and practical experience. So here are some steps you can take to get you started in these areas:

Education and training: While there is no specific degree required to become a location scout, having a background in film studies, geography, urban planning, or a related field can be helpful. If you want to learn more you can also search for online courses or workshops on platforms like Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn that specifically focus on scouting techniques, location management, photography and film production.

Gain experience: Knowing your way around a set will give you valuable insights into the shooting process, so look for opportunities to gain practical experience on TV and film sets. This could include internships with production companies, volunteering on student films, and working as a film and TV extra by signing up to a casting agency.

Build a portfolio: You can start building out a private location library before you even land your first job. This could include photographs and detailed notes on locations you have scouted. Once you have relevant projects under your belt you can start building a portfolio, which will help demonstrate your skills and experience to potential employers. Showing your range is key, from locations ideal for period dramas and historical films, to modern city locations and beautiful natural landscapes.

Network: Networking is crucial in the film industry, and it can help you uncover job opportunities in location scouting. Attend industry events, film festivals, and networking mixers to meet professionals in the field. Join online forums and social media groups for film professionals to connect with others in the industry and stay informed about job openings. We discuss finding networking opportunities in further detail below.

Apply for entry-level positions: Keep an eye out for entry-level positions in location scouting or related fields on job search websites and set up email alerts for new roles in your area. These positions may not always be labelled as “location scout,” so include titles such as “production assistant”, “assistant location manager”, or “location intern” in your search as well.

Be persistent and flexible: Breaking into the film industry can be competitive, so be prepared for rejection and keep persevering. Be open to taking on freelance or temporary positions, as these can lead to more opportunities down the line. Stay flexible and willing to work on a variety of projects and in different locations.

Who do location scouts work for?

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Image by Vincent Gerbouin

As a film and TV location scout you will typically work for either production companies, studios, or independent filmmakers. Your primary responsibility is to find suitable locations for filming scenes according to the script’s requirements and the director’s vision. You may also work closely with location managers or directors to ensure that the chosen locations meet logistical and budgetary requirements. You will also be collaborating with local authorities and property owners to secure necessary permits and filming permission for filming on-site.

Here are some common employment arrangements for location scouts:

  1. Freelance: Many location scouts work as freelancers, offering their services on a project-by-project basis. Agencies may help location scouts find and manage job opportunities and negotiate contracts, but often freelancers will negotiate rates and terms directly with the production companies or individual filmmakers. This arrangement offers a high level of flexibility and the opportunity to work on a variety of projects.
  2. Fixed term: Some location scouts work on a fixed term contract basis, where they are hired for the duration of a film shoot or to scout locations for a specified production. In this arrangement, the employer must provide an employment contract with a specified end (either on completion of a project, or on a specific date).
  3. Permanent position: Larger production companies or studios may employ location scouts in full-time roles. In this arrangement, location scouts work exclusively for the company and are responsible for scouting locations for various projects produced by the company. Permanent positions offer more stability and benefits compared to freelance or contract work.
  4. Consulting: Experienced location scouts may offer consulting services to production companies, filmmakers, or location agencies. Consulting arrangements may involve providing advice, guidance, and expertise on location scouting strategies, best practices, and industry trends.

How to establish yourself as a trusted location scout

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Image by David Bartus

Firstly, it’s essential to hone your scouting skills and develop a keen eye for locations that align with the creative vision of filmmakers and production teams.

This involves thorough research, attention to detail, and the ability to understand and interpret script requirements effectively. By consistently delivering high-quality options that meet the needs of the project, you can build a reputation as a reliable and talented location scout.

Keep your portfolio regularly updated with your latest work to showcase your capabilities to potential clients. Your portfolio should include a diverse range of locations you’ve scouted, accompanied by photographs, detailed notes, and any relevant information about the sites. If you haven’t been able to visit some locations in person, you can still show off your skills in virtual location scouting with Google Earth.

In addition to technical skills, professionalism and communication are essential in establishing trust as a location scout. Be responsive, reliable, and transparent in your interactions with clients, and always strive to exceed their expectations. Clear and open communication throughout the scouting process helps build confidence and ensures that everyone is on the same page. For more info, read our guide on how to conduct a location recce.

If any concerns or challenges do arise, make sure to stay proactive in addressing your concerns, and demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in finding solutions. By consistently demonstrating your professionalism and commitment to delivering exceptional service, you can earn the trust and respect of clients and team members alike.

Lastly, showcase testimonials from satisfied clients in your portfolio to further establish your credibility. Positive feedback and recommendations from past clients can help to attract new opportunities and solidify your reputation. Get into the habit asking for feedback from clients immediately after a project has completed, while you’re still fresh in their minds. You can do this in the form of a polite email, and always ask if they’re happy for you to share their testimonial online.

Need a place to store your shoot locations?

SuperScout is your own private location library – upload locations in minutes, tag them with ai in seconds, then search and share with your team

Where are location scouting jobs posted? 

Aerial view of a white sand beach and resort
Image by Tholaal Mohamed

Location scouting jobs are typically published via online job search platforms and industry-specific websites. Here are some common places where you can find location scouting job postings:

Industry job boards

Websites dedicated to film and television job listings often feature location scouting opportunities. Examples include Production Base, Staff Me Up, Mandy and Backstage.

General job boards

Platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are also likely to list location scouting positions, especially by production companies and studios. Try saving an email alert direct to your inbox for location scouting jobs. You can also try similar job titles including ‘location manager’, ‘technical scout’ and ‘production assistant’.

Freelance platforms

Websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr sometimes have postings for freelance location scouting gigs. Independent filmmakers and small productions often post projects that require location scouting services on these platforms.

Social media

Follow industry-specific groups and pages on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter). Filmmakers and production companies may share job openings for location scouts across their socials.

Film commission websites

Non-profit organisations such as the British film commission, Film London and BFI often list potential filming locations on their websites and may occasionally post job openings for location scouts.

Can cold emailing help you find location scouting jobs?

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Image by Michael Block

Yes definitely, cold emailing can be an effective strategy for finding location scouting jobs, especially if you tailor your approach and target your emails strategically.

While cold emailing may not always result in immediate job offers, it can be a valuable tool for introducing yourself to potential employers and initiating conversations that could lead to future opportunities. Here are some tips to make cold emailing more effective for securing location scouting opportunities:

Research your targets: Before sending out cold emails, compile a list of production companies, studios, and location agencies in your area or those working on projects that interest you. Then you need to find relevant contacts for each, so do your research on LinkedIn to make sure your email is directed to someone who is likely to be involved in hiring location scouts.

Personalise your emails: Avoid sending generic, mass emails. Instead, personalise each email by addressing the recipient by name and referencing specific projects or aspects of their work that you admire or find interesting. This shows that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in working with them.

Highlight your skills and experience: In your email, clearly communicate your skills, experience, and qualifications as a location scout. Provide examples of past projects or relevant experiences that demonstrate your ability to find suitable filming locations.

Express your interest: Clearly express your interest in working as a location scout for their projects and explain why you believe you would be a good fit for their team. Be enthusiastic and passionate about the work you do.

Include your portfolio: Attach or link to your portfolio, which should showcase your scouting work, including photographs, location notes, and any relevant projects you’ve worked on. This allows recipients to see firsthand examples of your work.

Keep it concise: Keep your email brief and to the point, generally no more than three paragraphs. Busy professionals don’t have time to read lengthy emails, so make sure your message is clear, concise, and easy to digest.

Follow up: Don’t be afraid to reach out again if you don’t receive a response to your initial email. Put a reminder in your calendar a week or two after the initial email to send a follow up. A polite follow-up email can help keep you on their radar and may prompt a response.

Tips for networking in the film industry

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Image by Spencer Davis

Networking is an essential tool for advancing your career in the film industry. You’ll learn so much from getting to know others in the industry, plus like any industry, the majority of job roles are filled without even being advertised. Here are some tips on how to effectively network:

Attend industry events: Attend film festivals, industry conferences, workshops, screenings, and other events where you can meet professionals in the industry. These events provide valuable opportunities to make connections and learn from others in the field, just be respectful of people’s time and avoid being overly aggressive or pushy in your networking efforts.

Join professional associations: Join industry-specific associations and organisations such as the Location Managers Guild International (LMGI), Production Guild of Great Britain, Film London and Creative England. These associations often host networking events, workshops, and seminars that can help you connect with like-minded professionals.

Utilise online platforms: Utilise online networking platforms such as LinkedIn, where you can connect with industry professionals, join relevant groups, and participate in discussions. Follow industry influencers, filmmakers, and production companies on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Threads and Instagram to stay updated on industry news and trends.

Volunteer: If you are unable to get tickets to certain industry events like large film festivals and conferences, you can often apply to volunteer at them instead. Volunteers greet guests, direct them to correct lines and entrances, collect tickets, usher to seats, and collect ballots. It’s a great opportunity to meet other professionals and demonstrates your passion for the industry.

Build genuine relationships: Focus on building genuine, authentic relationships with people in the industry. Networking is about establishing mutually beneficial connections, not just collecting business cards. Be helpful and supportive of others in your network, and they will be more likely to reciprocate, for example you can offer value to your online networks by sharing relevant resources, industry news, or job opportunities.

Follow up: After meeting someone at an event or connecting online, be sure to follow up with a personalised message expressing your appreciation for the connection. Remind them of where you met or how you were introduced, and suggest meeting for coffee or lunch to continue the conversation.

Stay persistent: Networking is an ongoing process that requires persistence and consistency, but you can do it! Keep attending events, reaching out to new contacts, and nurturing existing relationships to expand your network over time.

Final thoughts

Finding location scouting work isn’t just about luck – it requires organisation and effort. By fine-tuning your scouting talents, creating an impressive portfolio, and actively hunting for opportunities online and through networking connections, you’ll boost your chances of landing awesome scouting jobs.

And remember, it’s not just about technical skills, clear and honest communication and always striving to go above and beyond are key to building trust and respect in the industry. With a bit of persistence and a can-do attitude, you’ll soon find yourself as a go-to location scout in the exciting world of film and TV.

Need somewhere secure to store your shoot locations?

SuperScout is your own private location library – upload locations in minutes, tag them with ai in seconds, then search and share with your team