Anytime I location scout a property we are going to shoot at I always look out for the boobie traps that might hurt the shoot. Finding and dealing with locations can be a nightmare, especially when you have little or no budget.
Today on the show I have locations, guru Brian L. Tan. Brian is the founder of Wrapal.com, a site built to help filmmakers and property owners find location love. We discuss a bunch of tips and tricks to get locations on the cheap, if not for free and we go over the pitfalls that many filmmakers fall into when shooting on location.
Below you’ll find a great guide on how to location scout on a budget, written by Brian, as well as some genius videos they created. Enjoy and happy hunting!
Guide to Location Scouting for Indie Films
A good location is essential to a good project, but finding one can be a complicated task that involves days of scouting, talking with property owners, and mountains of paperwork. So how do you go about this daunting task? I’m glad you asked!
Before You Start
Like most things in life, knowing what you want is the first step. Decide what you’re looking for in your location, learn your architectural terms, read your script, and speak with the director about their vision. Get a good idea of what you want to help narrow down your search.
Some locations may be perfect looks-wise but can be a nightmare logistically, so have an idea of how big the cast and crew might be, how much gear you will use and how many trucks might be on set.
Finally, budgeting. Location fees can quickly eat up the budget for the whole film, which is especially a nightmare for indie productions. Be sure to have a budget in mind when approaching properties so you can negotiate to your strengths more effectively.
How to Search
If you desire a larger amount of control over the environment of your set, you should consider looking for a stage, soundstage, or lot. They are decently prevalent in the SoCal area but they can be tough to find in non-film focused cities. If you’re scouting for rare locations like schools, hospitals, jails, or police stations, the search can be especially daunting.
Sometimes, the old-fashioned way of using a location scout still works. They are experienced with various locations and have, hopefully, good relationships with property owners. But using just one person limits the amount of potential locations you could be scouting. In addition, scouts can cost a pretty penny, so this won’t be an option for most.
Luckily, we live in the 21st century, so online resources are your friend. Sometimes filmmakers will use Craigslist or Airbnb to find a location, but neither of those websites were made for that purpose. Sites like Wrapal.com are better options, as they provide an online marketplace to put you in direct contact with property owners, many of whom are already well aware of what a shoot can entail. They can even protect both parties in the event that something goes wrong.
During the Scout
Be Nice: Getting along with your property owner is a very important part of scouting and successfully booking a property. Establishing a good relationship can help with price negotiation, running overtime, and dealing with any potential damages.
Bring Contracts: Not only does it show you’re professional, but if the location really speaks to you, it can help to sign contracts then and there to lock the location down before someone else reserves it.
Take Photos: The property owner should have photos of their property already, but you should nonetheless take thorough before and after photos in the event that a property owner claims you’ve damaged something. Have your phone or camera charged and ready!
Be Aware of:
Outlets & Breaker Box: How many are in each room? Where will you have to run cables and devices? Find the breaker box and make sure you can access it. You never know if you’ll blow a fuse.
Lighting: Practical lighting can be very useful but it can also be a big pain in terms of interfering with shots. Knowing where windows are located can be good knowledge for the DP or gaffer to have.
Large furniture: It will most likely need to be moved, so having an idea of how much work will be required to fix the space will help save you time when shooting.
Luckily, sites like Wrapal.com allow properties to lay out all of these details and pictures in their listings so you’ll know up front.
For example, on the listing above (Click Here) You can even see past reviews from other filmmakers who have filmed there, how long they usually take to respond, and whether or not they do student rates. Super convenient!
Be Clear About Expectations: Let the property owner know exactly what kind of logistics your shoot will entail, like which furniture will be moved, if you need to get on the roof, etc. A surefire way to get on the owner’s bad side is to be unclear about details such as how many cast and crew members there are. Likewise, you should also make sure the property owner has been upfront with you about their own needs, and that what was agreed to will be honored on the day of your shoot.
Neighbors: All the courtesy you extend to the property owner should also be extended to the neighbors. Meet them and give them your contact number in case they have questions or complaints. Doing so will usually make them more trusting of you and less likely to call the cops when you’re shooting that action scene.
So there you have it! Being knowledgeable about the scouting process can help turn what could be the biggest and most expensive pain of the pre-production process into a quick, and even enjoyable experience. Now get out there and get booking!
Alex Ferrari 0:01
So today on the show, we have Brian Tan from rapel.com. Now, Brian is going to talk about location scouting a mystery to many indie filmmakers and what you can and cannot get away with where you can get the biggest bang for your buck, how you approach a location that you're interested in and see if you can get them for get that location for free. Or you know, get it really cheap. Do you need permits? When do you need permits? Should you get insurance? When do you get insurance? How do you get insurance? All these kind of questions shall be answered in the mystified for you in this episode. So without any further ado, here is my conversation with Brian tan from rappel calm. I'd like to welcome to the show Brian Tan from rappel. Man, thanks so much for coming on the show, man.
Brian Tan 3:21
Hey, good morning. How's it going?
Alex Ferrari 3:22
Good, man. Good. You know, we have not tackled locations on this podcast. And I'm so glad that I have an expert like you that to hopefully shine a little light on the many, many questions about about locations because I, I've learned the hard way.
Brian Tan 3:39
I think we all have and that's sort of what prompted me to get into locations actually, as they say, you know, locations, locations, locations. It's one of the most important things in film but often gets overlooked. I feel
Alex Ferrari 3:52
It is yeah, I mean, a lot of times, how many indie films have you seen that they shoot against a white wall?
Brian Tan 3:58
The money I think, I think if I had $1 for one I'd seen I'd be richer than Bill Gates.
Alex Ferrari 4:02
I mean, seriously, I don't even understand why filmmakers do that. They just like shoot in a corner. I'm like guys use the room just even a bad scene in a good location gives you some production. And I'm not saying you should but I mean, seriously, I've seen so many bad action movies, but they were shot and you know, Eastern Europe. And they look fantastic.
Brian Tan 4:25
Absolutely. Sometimes the grungier the better actually. Oh, absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 4:28
I mean, look at underworld remember underworld that thing was shot and that in Eastern Europe during that time when you can, you know, take 20 million bucks and make it look like
Brian Tan 4:38
200 million. Right? You can get an extra for $1 a day if that dollar. Exactly. It was really it was for food stamps. You can get a you get some extras and your location would be very, very affordable. Absolutely. Yeah. It's a phenomenal movie. That one actually a lot of underground locations. And yeah,
Alex Ferrari 4:54
Yeah, it was. It was but that's a great example of location, location, location. Absolutely, but we'll get into some examples afterwards. But first and foremost, man, how did you get into business? And why aren't you like, you know, with a real job and you?
Brian Tan 5:08
I mean, seriously? Yeah, no, I don't blame me at all. I'm one of the few guys in the world that actually pays money to go to work.
Alex Ferrari 5:16
I'm sure there's, I'm sure there's many of us, sir.
Brian Tan 5:20
I forgot. I'm talking to filmmakers like it's the hashtag entrepreneur. Hashtag filmmaker life, right? Yes, exactly. I've got to answer your question. I got into it because it was a problem. Frankly, speaking, I worked on big studio productions like Tron and x men and gorilla dragon tattoo. And I worked on really small indie productions, like some of the crappy action films, like you mentioned, definitely guilty of those. And I found that finding a location was easily one of the worst, most tedious parts of the process, because it's very, very archaic. You got to go around and you got to talk to people and go door to door, it feels like a bit like you're one of those 1950s guys selling like a, like a Betamax, or selling like, I don't know, a fax machine in the 90s, one of those days. So I personally hated that. I was like, man, like, I wish there was a way to just have a database that I could just contact and know that people are open to filming. And unless you're a top tier location scout, a location manager with the Guild, you really don't have the access or budget to then. So that's what prompted me to get into locations for the simple reason that I wanted to make the lives of other filmmakers like me a lot easier.
Alex Ferrari 6:27
So how would you approach a location in a normal world, you know, without using your service, like if you are going to go to an appropriate location to see if they want to shoot? Like, how do you approach it? Are there any tips that you could talk to them? How would you approach it?
Brian Tan 6:42
Sure. I would say like anything in life, empathy is key. And even though it's not really a sale, per se, it is sort of at the same time, a pitch, right? It's like going into a studio and telling an executive why they should make your movie, it is the exact same thing. So approach the exchange, from their perspective, from that they're sort of POV, they're gonna say, Okay, this is a random ass person, why should I listen to them? So the first thing you ought to do is appeal to greed. And I hate to say it, but it's one of those things in LA, you know, like, everyone. Yeah, everyone has a side hustle these days, right? So you got to go and be like, hey, my opening I usually is have you ever thought about making extra money from your location from the film industry? And they're like, oh, most 90% of time. They're like, no, not really nice, my little junky mechanic shop. And I'll be like, yeah, I mean, this is actually perfect. And they'll go, well, it's not really clean. It's not really, like now this is perfect. You know, I then I should bring up underworld, like, remember underworld? Exactly. Yeah. So then there'll be like, they'll be really modest about it. And then you got to go, No, I think this would be great. In fact, I have a production or have a filmmaker looking for a location just like this for their shoot. And so now they're thinking, Oh, so you've opened the door to them, right? You've presented them an opportunity. Not only are you flattering them that their space is something that could be seen in Hollywood, but then you're going, Oh, there's money to be made. And now they're thinking, Oh, no, and that no, sorry. Now they're thinking, Oh, great. I can make money from this. And now you have to go, Oh, no, now they're thinking, Oh, I can charge 10 grand a day. And that's when you drop in the details about the project. Okay, so we're shooting this a little independent thing. It's not for commercial, even if it's for commercial purposes, it's a really small scale budget that, you know, then that's when you make your offer. So you approach it as a, Hey, are you willing to do this? And then most the time, they'll say yes. And then number two, tailor their expectations, then you can go, okay, we only have $1,000 a day, would that work for you? And then that's when they're thinking, Hey, this is $1,000 that I wouldn't ordinarily have. And they'll start asking questions like, hey, do I have to be there the whole time? Can you work around my hours? Can you work within the confines of the neighborhood? What do I have to come out with out of pocket, and that's when you do your sales, this is the part where you can do the hard sell, you can go, Hey, if you're a bar, we can work around your schedule, if you're an office, we can shoot on weekends and parking, we can just find neighborhood parking, you basically do everything you can to accommodate them. And you can tell them, like you know, the only thing we need is maybe some maybe your Wi Fi and your your electricity for running lights if that and you the average end even better, and you know, go from there. So I think it's it's very simple. It's a three step process, it's sort of going in opening their mind to the possibility of film if they haven't done so already. Then setting their expectations and then going in for the sale.
Alex Ferrari 9:32
It makes that makes awesome sense now, but do you also agree that sometimes you have to walk in and just say, you know, work around, like if you're doing depends on the location. So let's say you're going to go into a bar, you're obviously going to say look, you know, we're not going to take business away from you, because we're not going to go in Hey, we need to shoot here between, you know, 10 and two where you guys are making $1,000 right in it. You kind of work around their schedule, and also another thing I found that always helps is to really just go Look, I only need this for three hours. Or I only need this for a couple hours. And I'll give you x amount of dollars does that that always works? Because they're like, Oh, look, it's not even a full day full day you can, that's a big investment of time, and location, but and I've shot in supermarkets where you can just say, Hey, you guys can keep the business open, we'll just shoot here. And we'll we'll walk around the customers. And that's also a big a big plus as well. Do you agree?
Brian Tan 10:28
Absolutely. 100%. It's all about empathy. And you're exactly right, it's going in and pre empting sort of the questions that they might have, unless you have a big budget, you can go and be like, Hey, I'm gonna give you $5,000 a day, it's more money than you would normally make in a day go, you know, go take your kids to go to the park and have a great day, you know, there's that option too. But if you're on a budget, and you're on a pinch, you definitely want to go in and be like, Hey, we will we'll cater to every sort of request that you might have. And so that way, they feel that it's a no lose proposition, because they have everything to gain from it. And you can tell them, like, for example, in the bar example, you can say, hey, yes, I know you, you make maybe $1,000 a day net, right? profit. This $1,000 we're giving you is pure profit, there's literally no cost from you, apart from maybe you opening and closing. This literally doesn't cost you any staff doesn't cost you any beverages doesn't cost you any peanuts. Literally, it's pure, pure profit. And so a lot of times business owners, even homeowners are totally open to that.
Alex Ferrari 11:28
And another thing I found that was really helpful is if you happen to have any kind of recognizable face attached to the project, that they might recognize the doors open much faster. A lot of times, yes or no, the doors definitely open quicker, but then there's more money
Brian Tan 11:46
As the right exactly. You know, you can't really go and be like, Hey, I have Tom Cruise in my little
Alex Ferrari 11:52
Yeah, that's done. Yeah, you're done. You're done. Now, of course, but like a perfect example, as I was shooting a music video for Gabriel Iglesias fluffy, the famous comedian in Long Beach, which is his hometown. We just walked in and we're like, Hey, we're shooting a music video for fluffy. They're like, whatever you need. Right? You know that? It's all depends on who the star is. But yes, I mean, the bigger the star, the less chance you're gonna get something for free or cheap. But it could but it could we'll it could oil that oil, the gears just a little bit to get the door open.
Brian Tan 12:25
Yeah, absolutely. I think Danny Trejo is a great example. Yes, he was telling me, like everybody knows Danny Trejo and everybody can recognize him and his, she's like such a badass guy that no matter what he's in, he's gonna bring a lot of like kick ass reach to the role. But people also recognize that he doesn't just do high end films, you know, like he's down for indies and stuff like that. So I think he's a Yeah, he's a great example of someone that whose name is like, instantly recognizable, but doesn't have a connotation of Oh, well, great. So now I can rip these guys off. So
Alex Ferrari 12:57
Yeah, I think I think it's by law. Now. Danny has to be in every movie. By law.
Brian Tan 13:03
I think I have petitioned my congressman for this for this measure. So I mean, he
Alex Ferrari 13:09
Has to be in every movie. I mean, I've done like three or four of them with him. Not as a director doesn't pose that I'm just like, Oh, my God, this man has not stopped working. And he's a crazy entrepreneur, too. He has. And in that type of Stan, taco. establishment like Yo, yeah, Demetrios tacos. He's over. Our it's Hollywood. Oh, no, he's, you know, a man. We could go off that we could go off on the Danny Trejo trade.
Brian Tan 13:37
I hope we're getting an endorsement from him based off this this podcast. Speaking Danny,
Alex Ferrari 13:42
If you're listening, Danny, I want to work with you brother. I don't care.
Brian Tan 13:46
Absolutely. I will totally get your location to if you're open to listening. Trey has tacos as a filming location. Alex and I will go there and film Why don't
Alex Ferrari 13:53
You Why don't you call him up? I'm sure he would. I'm gonna text him right now and be like yeah So do you have any tips for us broke filmmakers that can't even afford a little bit of money? Any tips of getting locations for free?
Brian Tan 14:10
Well, as with anything in life, you want to start off with friends and family I mean that's just the crux of it someone that owes you a favor. So I would say friends families and favors would probably be the best way of getting a free location three apps the three Yeah, exactly. You know and and if not your F right? If not, you're
Alex Ferrari 14:28
Gonna have you get that fourth
Brian Tan 14:30
Exactly. So you don't want to get a four three is a lucky number. So you definitely want to you know, friends obviously are a great example you know, talk to your buddy that you know happens to have a you know, maybe is really unkempt and has a horrible apartment but you're like you know, we need a crack den saying this is perfect. Exactly be like we'd like the nostalgia in your room. And then for family, you know, I I'm sure you can count the number of times you've seen someone filming their parents space. Tell me when parents garage and film school, you get the idea. Yeah. And then famous to this one is actually a little bit more intricate. I've been in situations before, where I've pitched businesses on, you know, making them something out of it, meaning that they essentially are getting a free commercial. So instead of having a logo, have a, say, a little mom and pop shop and be like, Hey, how about we feature your food, we feature your location feature, your menu, blah, blah, blah. And that way, we can actually have you be a part of this. And in that way, you get something out of it, I get something out of it. So we're in for everybody. I got wind of this sort of idea. And I'm sure many of you filmmakers are familiar with this. It's sort of creating a situation where everybody feels good helping you out. When I was in, when I was in college, and 2000 16,007, I needed helicopters for this ridiculous story that I wrote. And I was thinking, Okay, I definitely can't afford a single helicopter, not even for like 10 minutes. No. Gas alone. Yeah, exactly. And the cost of the pilot, blah, blah, blah, and getting access to the airport. I mean, it was impossible. So I approached the riverside police department, and I said, Hey, I noticed you guys have an outdated video. Like, it's from like the 90s or something, you know, one of those VHS four by three, sir, what make you a really, really slick, badass, new commercial. And in return, you fly for our little film. And as we're shooting, this film will shoot your stuff at the same time. And then you get a free commercial. And then they're like, Yeah, let's do it. So I ended up getting four helicopters. One of them is our chase helicopter. That's our actual picture helicopter. I got That's amazing. It's awesome. We flew around Riverside for like, for a whole day. And I was like, do I need to reimburse you for gas and they were like, Nah, that's what taxpayers are for. So now, they didn't actually say that. But they were like, don't worry about it. And so ever since then, I've been trying to find as many police stations. It's funny actually shot a police video as well, two years ago, and ended up pitching the exact same idea. and ended up filming in a real police station with real police cars closing down streets in LA, it was a phenomenal experience. So who knew the police were actually very open to it. So here's a
Alex Ferrari 17:10
Way to think that you think the police in LA would be just like, get out of here, kid. But but i think but you know what, I think they're like the pretty girl, like they just don't get asked
Brian Tan 17:21
Before like, automatically assume they're going to turn them down. So that methodology applies to a lot of stuff. I mean, for example, we found a warehouse, like we shot a music video earlier this year. And we were featuring them on an aperture lighting, sort of behind the scenes video, and they were just down to give us a big, big discount, basically, for free to let us film there for that exchange and publicity because there's a lot of stuff that you can offer as a filmmaker that goes beyond money. And that usually is exposure. And I know it's so overused, right? These days, everyone's like, yeah, I can, I want you to work on my set for exposure. And then people roll their eyes and tell you, you know, give you the very choice finger on the hand. But it is something that you can leverage, especially via social media following if you have clout in a particular area, or a form
Alex Ferrari 18:09
Of some sort. Right,
Brian Tan 18:10
Right, exactly. I mean, you've all people know Alex, I mean, you have a phenomenal, phenomenal platform and have a great voice and a great audience that you can plug into I'm sure if you were to go to any filmmaker, they would love to work with you just for that to learn from you the exposure, the publicity, all that good stuff too. And it's the exact same thing with locations, everything is publicity and everything you can offer them as a tool at your disposal. Now what location in your opinion gives you like the best bang for your buck? Like if you're gonna like you know, churches or you know this or that like how do you what what locations you like you got to shoot in these kind of locations because they you can get so many more you get, you can squeeze so much more production value out of it. Sure. I am a little bit biased everyone being in locations, everyone loves houses, they love single family homes, but I'm not a big fan of those because I feel like it's so overplayed, say love the sort of industrial chic sort of look, even from a science standpoint, so I'm very partial towards warehouses. And being an action guy, I love the grittiness. And the grunge Enos and the character that you get out of warehouses that you don't ordinarily get in like a really nice setting. And warehouses to me, you get the most bang for buck because you get the most space, right? It's very flexible. You can make it look sort of like an office. If you have a little backroom where the manager sits, you can make it you can do a lot of stuff in the warehouse. You can have a fight scene there. Dance Choreography,
Alex Ferrari 19:34
You could build a set even if you have to.
Brian Tan 19:36
Precisely Yes, you have the ability to be you know, if you want to bring flats in and then build a set from that you have infinite possibilities. It's almost like a canvas. And also in warehouses are great because they're usually located in industrial neighborhoods where there's no noise ordinances of like, Oh no, the neighbor that you shine their light into accidents. Now I'm going to call the cops on you. Or Oh no, someone's going to mistake your fight scene for a real gunfight going down in In a residential neighborhood. So, for me, I love warehouses. And I'm particularly biased towards that.
Alex Ferrari 20:06
I actually, the best story I have in locations is when we shot my short film in 2005, broken, we got a hold of a hospital. And they gave us basically four floors were shot down. So we get the shot, we shot basically all over the hospital and gave us an immense amount of production value. And then on top of it, they actually had three single family homes on the property that were abandoned. And we got to, you know, we literally shot everything there. It was just amazing.
Brian Tan 20:40
And we got and we got it all for free. That's incredible. You should turn that place into like a backlog or something.
Alex Ferrari 20:45
I think after we left, they said, No, we didn't do anything wrong. But I think after they set the politics of the whole thing, I think fell apart said no one was allowed to shoot after we left. We were wonderful. They loved us. But because they would love this so much. They they said dad don't pay us anything. Don't worry about how it was. That's outstanding. Yeah, we sat there for a week. Wow. Where is this? I knew I this would be West Palm Beach, Florida.
Brian Tan 21:10
I figured it was Philly. That's amazing. I mean, that's stories like that really make my heart warm, that people are so passionate about the filmmaking process, that it's actually not all about the money. And I typically find that places like these are actually outside la where people are, you know, they just love the art of it. And, you know, they don't mind just helping out. And so maybe this is another top tip for our listeners today. For free locations go outside LA. And I mean that seriously, I'm not being facetious
Alex Ferrari 21:37
Outside of any major city honest, right? Yes,
Brian Tan 21:38
I yeah, very, very true. Actually, many years mentioned. I mean, if you're listening, and you're in Chicago, go out to the suburbs, you know, even my case, like, for example, the riverside Film Commission is extremely like film, supportive and film friendly. They actually I think had like, no permits in certain areas, or rather permits that are free. And people just there are generally very easy going. And I for example, I've shot in certain places in the valley up in, you know, past the past Magic Mountain or certain areas past like Temecula. And if you just go into a cafe and tell them that you're doing a movie, they get so excited. And when they bring up money, and when you bring on money, they're like, what do you mean money, like, it's an honor to be in your little project, whatever this project may be. So sometimes, if you take that two hour drive outside, you know, you are going to be rewarded.
Alex Ferrari 22:28
Yeah, there's no question about it. I mean, you can get I mean, I've shot here in LA for almost a decade now. And I shot a lot in Florida and New York and other places. And, you know, it's just so different when you're outside of the main hubs, especially LA, like, you know, but you're in the middle of Wyoming somewhere. I mean, I mean, you walk in like, Hey, we're making a movie. They get really excited. The eyes light up the eyes, and it could be like a $10,000 feature like I'm not talking about you don't have to be a big kind of movie. I'm like, just any movie. They get super excited. It's it's pretty amazing what you can grab. So let's talk about insurance. Yes, I were the big, ugly I word. Now. You know, I've shot with insurance. I've shot with no insurance. Yeah. When do you need it? When do you not need it? Or you always need it. But when do you do like can't get away with not using using it? When do you need it? Tell me what do you need? Well, to be honest with you,
Brian Tan 23:27
I've been on both sides of the equation as well. Listen, I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that you know, yes, you're absolutely right. You need insurance all the time, especially in this country. You know, it's so litigious. Everyone is out to get you. Yeah, especially in like big cities, you never know if some guy on set breaks their pinky from doing something random and they're gonna start suing you. And you never know if your light falls down and something catches fire. And there's so many Murphy's Law right Murphy's laws, the only supreme law the film set, so you just never know. And the things are always going to go wrong, what can go wrong will go wrong. So that being said, I highly encourage everybody to get insurance. But that being said, I think, if you didn't, if you were really on a pension, you were so passionate about a project, and you just had to do it and you're truly truly, truly cash strapped. I would say the safest options for you are to film in places you have more control over or have direct or direct relationships with the person who owns it precisely, precisely, you know, film in your house. I mean, yeah, if something goes goes wrong, you're wrong. It's your place. It's you're taking responsibility for it. But you know, at the end of the day, you have more control over the setting, as opposed to randomly shooting on the street without insurance, karma combined, you know, had someone say it's all about risk, and there's risk in everything we do. So the The question is, How comfortable are you with the risk, you know, building in places that say, you know, are a little bit less out of the way more sorry, more out of the way and then most so there's less variables you have to consider. In other example, less risk factors. I would say those are great. Great. Ways to sort of minimize it, there's always risk, right? But there's ways to mitigate it. So I would recommend that if you really had no insurance, and you had to film somewhere, I mean, gorilla running gun. Sure, go for it, but realize that you are rolling the dice. And believe me, I've done that before. But, you know, the older you get, the more you have to lose. Yeah, I mean, you're 21 and you broke, you're like, screw, right? Yeah, exactly. You know, it's like, if you're, you know, living out of your car, and you're like, well, if I get sued, they can take everything I own. And you're like, Okay, yeah, sure. That's not too bad. You have time to restart, right? But when you get to, like, you know, our age, you know, and you're like, well, you
Alex Ferrari 25:36
Got a family, you got that. Yeah, and thank you, by the way, for the Rh thing, because I know how old you are. So I appreciate. I truly appreciate that, as they say,
Brian Tan 25:44
It's not the years and you're just the agent here. Today, you go, there you go. Oh, and you know, when your long past, like I've been at a film school for I mean, I've been out of school for like a decade. So I mean, it's, it's one of the things where you put some years behind you and show those and you get more experienced doing it. But if you had to get insurance there, I highly recommend exhausting at least trying all options for that. For example, I know a great insurance vendor, they're called Athos insurance in Los Angeles, I don't get a commission, I'm not plugging them at all. It's your I've personally used them a lot over the past like six, seven years, and they're been absolutely phenomenal. They will try their best to work with you. And they will try their best to cater to you and help you out and walk you through any issues, you might have a very personal touch, because insurance is a very impersonal industry. But bring back that concierge level of service, which is very hard to find these days. So there are vendors that will work with you, you just got to do a little bit of searching, asking around and asking for referrals. As with everything in this business, it's all about you know who you know, sometimes. And that's how you can get maybe get some affordable policies and under your belt.
Alex Ferrari 26:51
Now I will I'll definitely put their link in the show notes. Because I think a lot of filmmakers always looking for like, who do we get insurance from? You know, how do we do it? So that thank you for that. That quick little resource. Now, when you rent a location from a company or or person to you still need to get a permit. Is that per city? I'm
Brian Tan 27:09
Assuming? Yes, the legal answer is absolutely you do especially here in film, film la basically controls all of Los Angeles's permits, applications processing all that good stuff. It is free to sorry, it's a $20 application. It used to be free back when I was in school at UCLA. Go Bruins used to be free. But now it's $20 to apply for a film permit anywhere throughout Los Angeles. If you are a student, you have to provide your ID and a letter, all that good stuff, but it's totally worth it. You just have to go in and do it. If you're not a film student, a it is again, it's like insurance. You're you're rolling the dice. I mean, an argument can be made for Hey, if you're under you know, if you're in close quarters, and you're not going outside you're filming in a residence, you know, or business, you know, and it's going to be fairly obscure. Yeah, no, no trucks outside. Right. Exactly. No helicopter shots. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 28:06
Brian Tan 28:06
Crazy, like, you know, yeah, crazy, crazy setups. Sure. I mean, you can chance it I mean, if the police come by or your neighbor really hates you, and is out to get you, you know, you run that risk. And you could lose an entire day filming. I would say apply for a permit, if you can afford it. And, you know, if you don't know how to do the logistics of it. And if you don't know how to make it happen from a sort of like time perspective, like you're crunched, you have a shoot coming up in like two days, and you're totally screwed, and you don't have the time to go down to film LA or fill up their permit online. There's a great permit expediter again, I do not get any money. This is not an endorsement, I did not get any referral fees from them. But just company called film permits Unlimited, based in the valley think out of Burbank, and they are phenomenal with processing permits. So what they do is they're basically an expediter. And the same way that let's say you're traveling and a few days and eat your passport expedited, they do that but for film permits, and they only charge you $110 in addition to whatever the film permit costs, and they save you so much headache. Film LA is actually super busy every every second
Alex Ferrari 29:10
Of every day.
Brian Tan 29:11
Right actually met the I actually know the president of MLA Paul caught up with him on Saturday. And I was like, Hey, man, how are you? How do you process how many pregnancy process and he you know, he does a good two to 400 every day. So they are very, very busy. So that's why maybe having an expediter you know, if you have a little bit of extra money, you know, and you don't want to deal the hassle of it, go, you know, go with film permits unlimited. And they're a great company and have been in business since like 1976. So they know what they're doing. But if you don't have a film permit, chance it and you know, see what happens, I guess it's like insurance, right? You're rolling the dice. The more control you have over the situation, the better so you can mitigate that risk. And even if you do have a film permit, I highly recommend this is another tip that I have. I highly recommend calling the police department anyway, to let them know what's going on. On.
Alex Ferrari 30:02
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Brian Tan 30:12
Because I've had situations where, so I list my own house and raffle, right. And so my own house has been used as a film set. And I've had neighbors complaint and call the cops. And I'm like, Hey, listen, these guys coming to my place, have a firm film permit, but the cops come out. And there's a disruption on set, because now they got to produce the permit all that good stuff. So call ahead and tell the police department that you're fully permitted. insured, blah, blah, blah, shoot, you know, if anyone complains, tell them what's going on. So it's always good to call the call dispatch of the local police station, asked to talk to the watch commander or the sergeant in charge, and tell them what's going down. So that way, when they get a call, they can be like, Hey, listen, these guys called ahead. We know it's a film shoot. Thank you for the consideration. But these guys are legally allowed to do what they're doing. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 30:56
Yeah. Cuz if not, it could be an hour wasted.
Brian Tan 30:59
Right? Exactly. Yeah. And even though everything's gonna be okay, they're not gonna shut you down. If you do have a permit, it's still a waste of time, like you said,
Alex Ferrari 31:04
Time is money. Now, the one little tip I want to throw out there, which I learned years ago was, if you're going to try to guerrilla shoot, and then you tell me what you feel about this, Brian, but if you're going to go out and gorilla shoot on the streets, or you know, specifically on the streets, on public streets, public parks like that, if you have a small crew, and you definitely should, if you're going to try to do something like that. 123 tops. Have one of them be a film student. Oh, okay. Because if you have one of them as a film student, when the cops show up, they're like, oh, we're just shooting his student film. And they leave you alone. Hmm. Or they push you away. But there's no major issue because you're out we're just helping this kid out making that is a quick down and dirty guerrilla technique that I've used. And I've heard many other filmmakers.
Brian Tan 31:57
Listen, and I, you know, I gotta say, I do that all the time. But listen, I I'll be honest with you. I've I've done that a lot.
Alex Ferrari 32:06
Right? Yeah. Yeah. When you when you get that that little student that student IDs, very powerful things that you can then you can use in the end the students just so happy. They'd be learning, you know, and be there that you know, and we're not doing anything wrong. It's you know, it's Look, man, sometimes you got it. I'm from the streets.
Brian Tan 32:28
Literally, i think i think i think that's a good method. I, you know, I wouldn't say like, you know, go on Craigslist and find a time to film. No, no, no, no. But it's a great way to do it the other way. And this is actually legal.
Alex Ferrari 32:43
The other ones legal to there's no gray area. It's very, it's very gray. I have to say,
Brian Tan 32:48
Yeah. I mean, look, do what you got to do, right. It's all about making your film. But this one is actually a legit way of doing things is in certain cities, you do not need a film permit if we don't have a tripod. So this is a fun little fact. So if you're shooting your film on the street, and a cop pulls you over, you can be like, Hey, I'm the law says I don't if I don't have a tripod. I am legally to film whatever I'm basically no more than a tourist. And this is true in New York, especially I don't know for LA
Alex Ferrari 33:17
It isn't it's it is in LA as well.
Brian Tan 33:19
Okay, great. Yeah, so Exactly. So and what I'm going to say too, is that nowadays, stabilisation technology is so freakin good. You do not need a tripod, have a movie rig, for example, you still do the exact same things, but you're technically still not on sticks. So if you have a steady camera, give him shoulder mount rig. Whatever your tool of choice is, you can get away with a lot by shooting on the streets, of course, have a small footprint. So you're not disrupting anything. But I think that's a great cheat around the system. If you had to go shoot on the streets and you don't have the money or do the time to get a permit. Sure, put yourself you know, take your sticks away and then go handheld or, or get a stabilization system and you'll be you'll be good to go. No one can stop you. I was in downtown the other night eating dinner with my wife and we walked out of the restaurant. And literally there was a guy with the ronin there, literally but they were they were kind of being dumb about it, but because they were like jumping in and out of the street, like trying to get cars driving by. But it was like, in the middle of the night in the middle of somewhere in downtown. You know, it's like 11 o'clock, but you see, but they can get you can get away with that.
Alex Ferrari 34:24
So there are things you can do. Look, you know, in generally speaking, all of us are just trying to make our movie, and you got to do what you got to do to make it as long as everyone is safe, and you're not hurting anybody, you know, do what you got to do. And that's uh, but always try to do it as legit as possible to mitigate any, any issues that you might have moving down the line.
Brian Tan 34:47
Absolutely. And I don't mean to come across as like the figure of authority here because I have a location and then I have a filmmaker hat and my filmmaker hat will say, do whatever it gets needs to get done. Sure, who cares. Screw the law, and then my location hats more like well We need to abide by this ordinance. It's like very Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde defends what I'm sort of doing on set, you know. So, you know, I think it's good to have both perspectives, right to be aware of what risks and challenges you're up against, if you were to do things the legal way, and then sort of asking yourself, okay, what can we get around without too much risk? And I think I personally am of the philosophy of if you're not hurting anyone do it?
Alex Ferrari 35:25
Right. I mean, I've seen I know of, I've actually heard of some big budget movies, some, like, you know, 100 million plus, where the director, grabbed a splinter crew, and just ran off and shot some stuff without permits. Just because, like, they're like, screw it, it's gonna take too long, let's just go. You know, they could you can't do it. It just all depends. You know, it's all about perspective of what you're trying to do. Absolutely. Now, what are what are a few things that filmmakers can do to make sure that the locations that they are using are safe?
Brian Tan 36:01
Hmm, that's a very good one. I the one thing that always gets overlooked when it comes to safety is is electrical lodges, filmmakers plug a lot of stuff into the grid, and it just blows quite literally. And so I would have your best boy electric actually, or have a best electric in the first place. A lot of indie sets are like, oh, our gaffer is our key grip. And,
Alex Ferrari 36:21
And our key grip is our pa and our pa is our craft.
Brian Tan 36:24
Exactly, and also doubles up as the art director. Sure, when when the cameras aren't rolling. So yeah, electric is one of them, I would make sure that, you know, from a safety standpoint, if you're, you know, shooting in a somewhat questionable neighborhood, you know, have a PA post up as a bouncer or hire actual security. You know, I would say things like that always be situationally aware. Anything can happen at any time, regardless of where you are. And it might be the safest place in the world, but you just never know, always be situationally aware as they teach you in the law enforcement and military community that is huge. I would say also, from a safety standpoint, it's all about the Scout, it's always about going ahead of time, making sure that you look at every potential issue or potential threat, and then come up with a strategy of dealing with it. Because every location is unique. Every location has its good and bad or safe and less safe aspects about it. And so I would say that's one primary thing people should do.
Alex Ferrari 37:20
Yeah, cuz Exactly. Because a lot of people don't, I think that let's talk a little bit about location scouting, because I don't think a lot of people think about that they just like, show up. And can we shoot here great. And but you got to really scout it to know what you get to squeeze the most juice out of that place. And know that we're going to shoot here between four and six. But we showed up at 11. To to scout it. But when we go show up the shoot up between four and six, oh, it happens to be rush hour, it happens. A lot of traffic, and it screws everything up. And a lot of you know younger filmmakers or inexperienced filmmakers don't understand that. So can you talk a little bit about how to properly location scout?
Brian Tan 37:57
Absolutely. I think photos are key, you know, pictures, say 1000 words. And as much as you can talk about a location, it's best to see it in person take lots of panoramic shots and your iPhone or if you have a DSLR even better take lots of HDR photos of the location at various different times. That is key. And I think the other thing that people often forget on location scout, it's not only about the location, but it's about meeting the location manager, location owner, the location rep and building that rapport with them, getting along with them, talking to them asking all the questions you ask. And the one thing you have to factor in mind is that every location, it's always about asking yourself, What could possibly go wrong in dealing with plans to sort of counter them if that makes sense. So that's what the locations got. It's about it's about seeing, okay, so this light is faulty, what could that lead to? It's about saying, Okay, so the sun sets in this direction is going to cast a shadow on the accurate if we don't get to this scene on times, move shoot at first, you know, it's all about these little plans. And I consider almost like, like a walkthrough for buying real estate or even renting an apartment, it's like you wouldn't, you know, rent an apartment having not seen it and plan your life around it, right? It's the same thing for shooting even though you're only going to be there for a day or two, perhaps you still want to go and plan it out in the same way you would go scout an apartment if you want to rent it out and live there potentially for longer. So, you know, that's pretty much the analogy, you got to approach with the same mindset.
Alex Ferrari 39:21
And the one thing I I worked with a salty, old location manager years ago, and he gave me some of the best advice I've ever heard for a location have to get a location. Right, a lot of times Look at her locations tend to be sensitive. Meaning that, you know, they're sensitive about what's being shot in their establishment, not porn, but just generally speaking, you know, like, you know, we don't want to curse words, what is this? This is a drug movie or things like that. So and this is what the I'm just repeating what this location manager said to do. He has two versions of the script. One version is the real version. One version is the sanitized version. The sanitized version is the one that's submitted to the location. Right when you come on to shoot on the day, if you just start doing the normal thing, and they start getting out of out of whack, they're like, oh, what are you going to do? The director changed his mind actors are here. And it's better. He said, it's always better to ask for forgiveness than for permission when it comes to this kind of stuff. I'm not saying that's the way to do it. But I just thought it was genius. Well, it's it's Yeah, it's it's cunning. It's it's smart. I mean, you've worked out all the tricks, right? Right. Yeah. And also the Don't forget, you also need hush money? Of course, yes. Can we talk? Can we talk a little bit about about the hush money?
Brian Tan 40:47
Sure. Things happen, right? Yeah, like Murphy's Law. It all comes down to that and what you call hush money I like to call petty cash.
Alex Ferrari 40:55
Yes. But you're, you're rushing, but you're rushing people.
Brian Tan 40:59
It's one of those things where, for example, this is a great example why location scouts important is to you know, let's say you're on set, and you want to ask the owner like, hey, when is the gardener coming by? Do you have any roofing work? Yeah, I'm expected is your name added to that, you know, so the the hush money is quite literally, to keep people quiet. For example, let's say this just happened the other day, we were doing a shoot record or digital I, they were shooting outside. And we had a gardener, you know, blowing the leaf thing? And I was like, in LA?
Alex Ferrari 41:27
Brian Tan 41:29
No, right. And I was like, Oh, crap. Okay, so I ran outside and the guy's like, what do you want me to do? I'm just doing my job. I'm like, Yes, I totally get it. How about $20? And you come back later. And he's like, done. So quite literally, you should have cash on you just in case in small denominations? Should you need to do anything like that? And I think there's no harm, no foul, right. I mean, he's getting $20 for coming back a few hours later. And he's like, great. So now I can go grab a coffee and swing by whenever I come back in this area. So for me, I think it's important to have these contingencies standing by just in case anything should happen like that. So usually,
Alex Ferrari 42:03
Yeah, a lot of times, and then that's the that's the innocent one. But there's always the I'm shooting at someone's house. And the neighbor comes out and decides to start mowing his lawn. Purposely, because he knows that you're going to get hush money. So he's doing it purposely to get paid off. I yeah, I haven't definitely been in those situations more than Yeah, a lot, especially in LA, especially LA, New York, LA more than New York, even that, they they know they know that. Especially if it's a big show. They, they always do. And I remember I was my the store that you know about my my olive oil store that I had, it was right behind CBS studios. It was literally CBS studios was my next door neighbor. So you know, Brooklyn, nine, nine, and a bunch of other shows would always shoot anytime they would even come near my street. Yeah, the location manager would call me He's like, Hey, we're shooting. And I'm like, well, you're gonna impact my business. He's like, I'll give you 500 bucks. I'm like, I
Brian Tan 43:04
Then you got to call back the day of me? Like, are you impacting my business more?
Alex Ferrari 43:08
Now? I'm a filmmaker. I'm not gonna do that to them. I would never, but they actually weren't like they were putting up trucks and customers can go in. So it was an actual thing. Sure. But then he would tell me stories about people like, like five blocks down or half a mile down to like your impact impact impact in my business. I mean, right, right. It's like in another city over like, Hey, what's going on? You're stealing our customers. So you know,
Brian Tan 43:34
It's it's funny, you mentioned that this is actually worth mentioning to a lot of maybe the listeners today. I think this requires some research. So Google, this, don't take me at face value, but from my understanding, and conversing with a few location, scouts, LA, put up ordinances recently that said, if you are deliberately disturbing or harassing a permanent, fully legally allowed film shoot, it's actually now a felony or misdemeanor. So it's one of the things yeah, so Exactly. If like, you know, you're on set and someone's like, deliberately playing the drums next door. And, you know, you can somehow prove that they're doing this to screw with your set, they can actually face a lot of legal repercussions. So this is my understanding now. But I will go and double Yeah, double check. But this is just locally what I've heard anecdotally from a few other people in locations business. So
Alex Ferrari 44:26
Check it out. Very cool. And again, if you're going to be if you're going to be doing any kind of location, shooting anywhere in the country, or the world, you should be going towards I know in America, you go to your local Film Commission, if there is no local Film Commission, you're pretty much good to go. No, I'm joking. But you know, but try to go to your local Film Commission and talk to them about what you're doing. And I think in there, you can get your permits and things like that. The bigger the city, you're gonna have you know, more obstacles, you're gonna have more hoops you're gonna have to jump through but generally speaking That's what you should do overseas. I've really don't know how they work. I'm assuming there's some sort of film Commission's where you go get permission for this kind of stuff, but just check all that stuff out prior to shooting, would you agree with it?
Brian Tan 45:12
I would check it out and Google it. But funnily enough, I think other countries are super liberal about people filming, I think a friend of mine was filming in Japan and had a fairly large footprint and like 10 people, and he was telling me that there's literally no permit office, you can film whatever you want to do within reason, obviously. And you just have to pay the proprietor of the establishment you're filming at, but there's no permits required. So again, Google this, this is just anecdotally, so what I've heard from a friend of mine who shot that recently,
Alex Ferrari 45:43
It's just so you know, you know, we're living in LA and we live in basically the toughest where the Alcatraz of locations. Sure, you know, and then when you hear stories like that, you're just like, to kind of shoot outside of LA. Production good. No, Miami, I shoot in Miami all the time, and they have a Film Commission, but you can get away with a lot, not South Beach as much anymore, right. But other places
Brian Tan 46:06
You can get a lot you were saying? Yeah, I was filming, I was going to similar story in Hawaii. I was filming a production in Hawaii, maybe your year or two ago. And we had a fantastic location. 500 bucks and other places like we shot in like this beautiful waterfall. We just told the park rangers, we're going to do it and a few other people that were really, really good. Just Just go for it. So super easy.
Alex Ferrari 46:29
So let's talk about rappel man, tell me what rapel is, what is his brainchild of yours? And how are you going to save all of us filmmakers from all of these location Hell's that we just talked about?
Brian Tan 46:41
Well, I don't know if I'm the Messiah. It was started because the problem you know, this all comes back full circle when we first started why I got into locations. Let's face it, it's a pain in the ass. It is like the worst. I don't know, for me, at least one of the worst parts of the filmmaking process want to be creative. And then you got to do all this legwork literally to go get your location. So I was a big traveler. And I always loved Airbnb, which is a huge, huge fan of it. I don't even go to hotels anymore. So again, not endorsing them just sure Should I seriously do love Airbnb. So I was like, man, why not just create the Airbnb filled locations, a platform where people can search for Connect, and link up with properties that want to have extra money under their belt, it all comes down to creating a win win relationship. So we started this company and launched it about a year ago, and essentially a website that connects properties that don't make us together. Think Airbnb for film. And we're basically like matchmakers, we're not your traditional location scouts, where we are location managers, I should say, where we wrap the venue and then charge like ridiculous double, right, or whatever percentage over it, we're more like the guys that say, hey, you like this location, you can connect directly with them for free, and the location and you can work out whatever price you guys like. And then from there, you guys can make your movie. And to us, this is very cost effective. Because as an independent filmmaker, you don't have usually you don't have the money to hire location scout, you don't have the money to hire a location manager. So we're basically taking locations and making them extremely affordable. Our average price, for example, I think, is like between 750 to 15 $100. For some really kick ass location, insane location for a 10 hour day 10 or 12 hour, 12 hour day, actually, yeah, and we have more than 1500 locations in Los Angeles that you can pick from and it's not just homes, it's residential, commercial, industrial, even, like really, like we were shooting in a clock shop the other day, which I don't know how you that's pretty.
Alex Ferrari 48:38
That's pretty awesome.
Brian Tan 48:39
Yeah, I mean, in the past, people did try Craigslist, Airbnb even or just Google it. And I think nowadays, having a site like this helps make the lives of filmmakers a lot easier. I'm not gonna say that I'm the one reason it production succeeds or fails. But I think, you know, locations are like characters in your story. And sometimes you need to add that extra dimension and have a really cool location in order to tell your story better. So I like to think that we're essentially help making filmmakers dreams come true, and help making that reality making them a reality better for them in a way that hasn't ever been done before. So that's sort of our mission statement.
Alex Ferrari 49:16
Now what it is, so there's no cost to the filmmaker.
Brian Tan 49:19
No, other than the rental, obviously, to the location, I mean, and that is something determined by the venue, whichever business or home that you're filming at. So it doesn't cost you anything to search for location, more of our inventory of 1500. It doesn't cost anything to search for it doesn't cost you anything to connect to them. If you booked through the site, there's currently an 8% transaction fee. That's the only commission we make. And out of that I think three or 4% goes to just processing a credit card. And with this system, it gives you the ability to have a security deposit gives you the ability to upload your insurance or film permit policy, all that good stuff. So it's a small finder's fee is actually for us and we're hoping to disrupt the location industry, by essentially, our hypothesis is that there's going to be enough volume to sustain a very, very small percentage. And for us, it's again, all about creating that win win. You know, homeowners, business owners get that extra money in their pocket, they wouldn't ordinarily have gone, and filmmakers get the convenience and ease of finding location with their fingertips.
Alex Ferrari 50:19
Now, are you guys working to try to help with insurance as well?
Brian Tan 50:23
Absolutely. We are basically hoping to partner up really soon can't really say yet. But we're hoping to partner up and offer insurance through the site as well. And also can't really say as of yet, but I think in a few weeks, slash months, we might be able to offer expedited film permitting on the site too. So you can not only get your insurance and your location, but you can also apply for a film permit on the spot for very, very cost effective rates. So that's something really excited to announce in the next few weeks.
Alex Ferrari 50:54
That's awesome, man, that's awesome. Well, we do appreciate you helping us out. And right now it's only LA or New York or
Brian Tan 51:03
So yeah, as of right now, it's very, very big presence in Los Angeles, and a very small presence in New York. And we're hoping, you know, we're, listen, we're not a big VC backed or angel investor company, you know, like one of those, like, we're not gonna be the next step chat, we're not going to be the next thing crazy like that. So we are growing slowly. We're very different from your traditional startup in that we're trying to make this a long term sustainable business, we're not in it to like, you know, sell and cash out and, you know, suddenly retire or something like that. We're in it to help filmmakers. And that's something that's a long term vision. So we're growing the business very, very slowly because of that, but sustainably. And so the idea is to essentially get a stronghold here in Los Angeles, and then slowly expand to Atlanta, Chicago. Right. Yeah. Austin Exactly. So places like that. So that's sort of our mantra in doing business. And, you know, obviously, there's no guarantees that's gonna work out. But at the same time, this is what we believe serves our community best because what sets us apart from other you know, Airbnb is and all that we are a community ourselves, we're all filmmakers. We're a site made by filmmakers, or filmmakers. And that I think, is what drives us at the end of the day, because we empathize. We understand the plight of filmmakers, we have been there, you know, even photographers to we've been there and want to help them and make their projects a reality. So to me, that's what that's what drives this this forward. Even though it has a very strange name that no one can pronounce. Is it rap pal? I know exactly. So it's w ra pa out like, rapper location, which is actually what inspired the name. Yeah. All idiosyncrasies aside, what keeps me going forward is the ability to help others as as naive and cliche as that sounds, I think there's still an optimist inside the cynic that that wants to help people out.
Alex Ferrari 52:54
I would, I would agree, sir, I would agree. And that's why I think that's why we connected as well, because I think we both share the same values and helping filmmakers as much as we can. And you know, I'm still in the I'm still in the hunt, as well as you are. So you know, we're still we're still grinding day in and day out. Trying to make it happen, man, so. So what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business?
Brian Tan 53:21
Hmm, that's a very good question. And to be honest with you, I asked myself that question every day,
Alex Ferrari 53:25
You still look into break in sir. Yeah.
Brian Tan 53:30
I've had some successes, but not at the level that I want to be. And I constantly evaluate and ask myself, what can I be doing better? What can I do to, to make it and it struck me that filmmaking and succeeding in filmmaking, it's not just about hard work and talent, that will get you maybe halfway there. I think the other two are connections. And timing. And timing has a lot to do with luck. So in order to be successful, or to at least break in, or have your voice heard, I think in my opinion, it's actually all about, it's all about creating as many chances for yourself as possible, because you got to work hard, you got to have talent, that's a given. So that'll get you halfway there. But beyond that, you need to basically create as many opportunities for yourself so that the timing and the connections finally aligned and who knows they might align on your first outing out, and you might get picked up and you're suddenly discovered, quote, unquote, but I think the the thing that I found out is that this is a long term game. This is not like, I make my one film and I go to Sundance, because that does happen. But it's like one in a billion. It's a lottery ticket. Yeah, right. Exactly. It is absolute lottery tickets. So for you, for most people, for myself. It's all about creating as many chances at rolling the dice as possible so that eventually your hard work and your talent will align with the connections and will align with the right luck and right timing. But you need to give yourself as many opportunities to make that as happen as possible. So it's all about building A long term sustainable career. And it's not about that one, you know, flash in the pan, it's about creating as many opportunities for yourself as possible. So for me, it's, it's the marathon mentality. You know, it's not a sprint. And so that's what I think I'll eventually incorporate as being one of my reasons why I would be successful. Not saying that I am. I mean, you never never know. But that's my personal philosophy on what it takes. And I could be wrong, but I'll find out,
Alex Ferrari 55:26
I think you're right spot on my friend. Cuz that's what I say all the time that it is a marathon. It is not a one year plan. It's a 10 year plan. And you've got to think about the long term and not try to try to cheat your way or try to get, you know, gamed the system because the system is a lot smarter.
Brian Tan 55:44
Yeah, exactly. And you never know, you could catch a lucky break. But no, of course, statistically speaking, you know, you're absolutely right. It is all about the 10 year plan.
Alex Ferrari 55:52
And I honestly think that by the time that you do get to where you want to be in 10 years or 15 years, you're more prepared for it. I agree. How many how many kids you know that, you know, get that success at 2122, early 20s. You know, how Robert Rodriguez maintained his sanity? Right is beyond me a 23 year old that was thrust into the, you know, hollywood spotlight like he did, probably because he doesn't live in LA. That's probably why he lives in. He lives in Austin. Exactly. And he built his own thing out there. But yeah, but yeah, so can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career? Oh, wow, that is a very good question. They get they get harder.
Brian Tan 56:35
You know, this is such a cliche example. I'm sure many of you know many people said this, but I really like the Great Gatsby. No, you're the first really to think is, I would say, you know, I I'm sure a lot of people said like filmmaking, you know, sort of biographies or whatever. But I particularly like The Great Gatsby, because it's a cautionary tale. It's a cautionary tale of success at any cost doesn't necessarily mean fulfillment, and satisfaction and happiness. And so to me, reading that book reminds me if, if I ever become successful, to realize that, you know, there are the other priorities and just influence and power and wealth and all that stuff. There's more to life than just, you know, the your Daisy, so to speak, to quote, something from the story.
Alex Ferrari 57:22
So yeah. Now what lesson took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life, patients, amen, brother, that's
Brian Tan 57:31
My two wars. I'm the most impatient person ever. All my staff. Now there's all my friends, family, they all knows I'm the most impatient person and I think it comes down to I've always been an impatient person in general, like growing up, I've always wanted to grow up and just do my thing. But it got worse after my mom passed away at a very young age. And so I realized the mortality of life and realized how, how finite it all is, and how really we don't, we don't really know we're all ticking time bombs. We don't know what the countdown is right now. And so for me, I always feel like this sort of sense of mortality that I have to do as much as possible before I can't. And sometimes, like you said, it's adopting a marathon mindset and 10 year plan, and hoping that you'll survive the 10 years because there's been some fatalistic points in my life, right? You just never know anything can happen at any time. So patience has been the biggest obstacle that I've grappled with by far.
Alex Ferrari 58:24
And what are three of your favorite films of all time?
Brian Tan 58:28
Oh, this is a tough one. Um, okay, I'm gonna start off with the horrible one. I love the rock by Mike.
Alex Ferrari 58:35
It's amazing. It's amazing. I don't care what anyone says. By the by by by far his best movie. Yes, I agree with that without question, maybe with maybe with the original bad boys coming up a second, though. Yes, but I do have a soft spot for Armageddon. as ridiculous as it is. As we dig in Aerosmith. The Rock, and this is my opinion. And again, and I don't mean to jump over. You just got excited about the rock. Yeah, it changed action movies.
Brian Tan 59:05
Yes, it really did. It was to me the different the definitive action movie The 90s. I absolutely loved it. I was floored by it governs everything I did a while. Anyway, so that would be a number one, my number two would be inception. I really love that film, because it combines just the right balance of drama, and action, but also has a very thought provoking sort of question of like, what is reality? And so to me, I love films that not only have great action and great story, but also provoke you to think long after you leave the theater. And my last one is a bit of a wild card then that many people have heard of it's this movie called Gatica.
Alex Ferrari 59:46
Ethan Hawke and lumos.
Brian Tan 59:48
Yes, absolutely. And Jude Law as well. Yes. And Zander Berkeley too. Anyway, so one of my favorite movies of all time because it is a for me, one of my sort of I guess my ethos also right because this guy in this film, not to give it away essentially was born with a lot of genetic defects and he wants to have an astronaut which in his society is deemed statistically completely impossible yet he struggles to overcome it. And for me, on days when I feel so down, and I feel so terrible, but my life I look at this film as a as an inspiration of what can be done. And of course, it's a purely fictional not true story, but it nonetheless inspires me to keep on going, because, you know, if someone can do that, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:00:30
So can I, amen, brother. Amen. Now, where can people find you? online? I was gonna say, like, coffee, IV that, you know, I've had to say online so many times, because I get that reaction from my guests to like, my home address. I'm like, No, I don't need your Social Security. Has that already? I think, you know, exactly. I already got it. I downloaded it the other dark web.
Brian Tan 1:00:57
The dark web. People look back on this three years from now they're gonna be like, What are they talking about? This is something so like, 2017 anyway, uh, I guess Okay, so professionally, check out rapel obviously, it's w ra PAL like rap pal. I hate to say it. But that's, that's how it's spelled. calm. And then for me personally, you can find me as Brian l tan BLT. You can find me as simply as a Google search. Or I'm on Facebook on Instagram on I don't I'm not much of a Twitter person. Not on Twitter. I am the worst Twitter. I'm a twit at twitter.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:35
I'm gonna have to have a talk with you.
Brian Tan 1:01:36
Yeah. But everything else I'm pretty decent at. And you can find me on social media. And I also have a website as well. So just just google me you'll find all these various ways. I'm pretty accessible. I'll put them all in the show notes, guys.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:50
Brian, man, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about locations with us today. Man, I really appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time out.
Brian Tan 1:01:58
My pleasure. Thank you for giving me the opportunity on being your show. Absolutely fan. And it's really truly been an honor and a very, very big privilege being here today. Thank you. Thank you so so very much.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:08
Thank you, brother. Well, I hope you're ready now to go out and get some locations for your next indie film. In that episode, we had a lot of knowledge bombs, and some tips and tricks that we've tossed in there to help you get your locations and get the best looking movie, or short or series or anything you're shooting to make it look as good as possible and locations will add a tremendous amount of production value to your projects. And Brian's website rappel comm is an amazing resource for anybody in LA in New York, looking for locations, it is a great resource. I've been using it for some of my productions and you could just go in quickly. There's no BS, find amazing locations and talk to people who want you to be there and not have to convince them or anything. So it's a great great service. Definitely check it out. rapel.com if you want to get links to anything we talked about in this episode, head over to indie film, hustle comm forward slash 184 for all of the show notes. And also we have a special little Ultimate Guide to location scouting in the show notes. So Brian was cool enough to be able to put together this ultimate guide for us. So definitely check it out. It's a good read and gives you a lot of information. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
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