#TBT- On an around-the-globe job for IBM my last stop was Australia. We were featuring hometown heroes, athletes who would be representing their nations’ in the upcoming Summer Olympics. The hometown here was Parkes, New South Wales, and the hero was Steven Davies, captain of the Australian field hockey team. I flew to Parkes (5 hours west of Sydney) ahead of our shooting crew, and got to work scouting locations and casting for the commercial. I got to know Steven’s family and friends, spending time with them in their homes, places of work, and inevitably, at their favorite pubs. The people of Parkes were incredibly kind and generous to me, literally giving me the keys to their buildings so we could access their roofs for the dawn topshot you see of the “town crier” riding a horse down the main street, announcing “Steven’s in the Olympics!”
“A riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women ‘who are carnal, brave, and beautifully flawed’ (People, Book of the Week), based on nearly a decade of reporting.“
So says Simon and Schuster about its best seller by Lisa Taddeo. I scouted for the series in New York’s Capital District, especially Albany and Schenectady. Some locations were easy to clear (like closed schools and tattoo parlors) but I had some trouble with churches (due to the ‘carnal’ elements in the story.) One church cancelled my scouting appointment while I was on my way, after the pastor’s husband Googled the book. And another minister replied in an email: “Even though I understand that none of the scenes shot on location would have objectionable content, the content of much of the narrative would be contrary to our core values…. Sex was God’s idea and was designed to be one of the many joy’s of the relationship between husband and wife. Adultery and multiple sex partners, not so much.” We wound up shooting at a beautiful church in Schenectady.
I recently came across the W Magazine September fashion issue from 2004. In it was a layout I scouted for in Niagara Falls, USA and Canada. First I was asked to watch the 1953 film noir thriller Niagara, starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten, which was filmed at the Falls. Then I was sent up there to try to find the actual locations used in the film, and also scout for locations with a similar vibe, like funky 50’s motels. I had never heard of the movie, and was impressed by Marilyn’s dramatic acting. It was a fun bit of visual sleuthing. The piece was photographed by Craig McDean (who I scouted for many times) and was styled by Alex White.
The original agency script for this Dodge Ram commercial was all about Manhattan’s Second Avenue Subway. The agency wanted to shoot in the subway tunnel that was under construction. Several production companies were bidding for the job, and hitting a dead end with the NYC Transit Film Office. Believe Media hired me to take a crack at it, and I got them in the door by making contact with Rich Fitzsimmons, business agent of NYC Local 147 Tunnel Workers (Sandhogs.) Rich told me the Second Ave. subway was old news- it was almost finished- and that the real action was at the East Side Access Tunnel, the massive Sandhog construction project under Grand Central. He put me in touch with the President of MTA Capital Construction, and that got the ball rolling. As every location manager knows, persistence pays off- never take no for an answer! LM David Clark took over after that, and brought this cool project to fruition.
I recently had an opportunity to scout parks all over Connecticut and the Hudson Valley for a series of Nuvance Health commercials. It had been a while since I worked in the Nutmeg State, so it was a treat to check out parks from Greenwich to Hartford, and beyond. The job was produced by Lisa Neville of Big Brick Productions.
“Along the quiet, quarantined streets of New York City, fall’s most vivid ensembles refuse to be silenced.”
At the height of the 2020 Covid lockdown I was hired to scout the abandoned streets of NYC for a fashion shoot for Elle. I left my Upstate refuge to explore an emptied-out Manhattan, where the only people I encountered in Times Square, Grand Central etc. were un-masked homeless people. It was eerie and unsettling, but I’m glad I got to see it in person. The piece was entitled “Living Out Loud,” and it appeared in the September issue. It was photographed by Chris Colls and styled by Alex White.
HBO’s limited series about Watergate’s “plumbers” premieres in March. I had a great time scouting for it in Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga Springs. It stars Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux as Nixon operatives E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy. It’s directed by David Mandel, and the location manager is Steve Grivno.
I scouted a wonderful, eclectic house in Catskill, New York for a fashion shoot for Holt Renfrew, the Canadian luxury department store chain. The photographer was Chris Colls, and the producer was Kristen Butler of Talented Friends.
Mara Alcaly, Joe Mullaney and I were nominated for a 2021 LMGI award for our work on A Quiet Place Part 2. We lost to the world-traveling Tenet, but it was an honor to be recognized for our work on this fun project.
One of my favorite recent jobs was working with production designer Jess Gonchor to find all the primary locations for the sequel to A Quiet Place. My scouting started in Queens and Yonkers, and I slowly moved north, researching and scouting almost every Upstate city between NYC and Buffalo. I had scouted Buffalo previously for several commercials, but AQP2 gave me the opportunity to really explore its beautiful post industrial landscape, unequalled in all of New York State.
I was very happy when Tim Willis of Lockbox Productions asked me to scout the Maine coast, looking for iconic locations, from Rockport to Acadia National Park, for a Range Rover job. He didn’t have to ask twice! I always love scouting Maine. The photographer was Julian Calverley and the agency was Spark44 out of New York.
I put together a large portfolio of Hudson Valley location options for London-based photographer Bibi Cornejo Borthwick. She shot this fashion editorial for the French fashion magazine Purple’s September 2019 issue. Many places were considered, but in the end she wound up on a beautiful private property near Catskill, NY. The producer was Travis Kiewel of That One Production.
Here’s a cool video about the 2018 Location Managers Guild International awards in Los Angeles. They feature a bunch of location folks (including me,) and Dennis Haysbert (the award presenter.) Dennis has the last line- it’s pretty funny.
The recent Michael Jackson documentary “Escaping Neverland” reminded me of a job from long ago. In 1995 I worked with English photographer/director Nick Brandt on a massive music video for Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song.” The song is a call to save the earth, a spiritual plea to protect the planet from pollution, war, animal cruelty and deforestation. It was filmed in the Amazon rainforest, Croatia, Tanzania and in Warwick, NY. Jackson’s performance takes place amidst scenes of burned forest devastation. I was first asked to scout actual forest fire areas in several states, sometimes by small plane. After awhile production realized this approach would not be visually or logistically viable, so I worked on finding a corn field where we could safely simulate a forest fire. It was quite an event in quiet Warwick.
I won an award for the work I did on this poetic spot for VW, by MJZ director Benito Montorio. I received the award at the Alex Theater in Glendale, from the Location Managers Guild International. I scouted NYC, along with John Maher and Daniel Strol. I also scouted various urban and rural locations in Western Pennsylvania, as well as NY’s Hudson Valley and Capital District.
I scouted Western Massachusetts, Northwestern Connecticut and the Catskills for this Geico spot. Besides the usual aesthetic considerations – “it should look like “A River Runs Through it” – there were lots of logistical considerations, like depth and speed of water, who was controlling the dams upstream, and when they would release water, or close the river to rafters etc. In the end we wound up on the beautiful Deerfield, a classic fly fishing river. The company is Hungry Man, and it was directed by Hank Perlman and produced by Tom O’Malley.
I scouted and managed the Bahamas section of this spot for Gillette for Women. I loved getting to know Harbour Island, a tiny beautiful island off the coast of Eleuthera. It was settled by the English in the 18th Century, and the houses are Cape Cod style- but painted in vibrant Caribbean colors. It’s only 3.5 x 1.5 miles in size, with a pink sand beach and turquoise waters. We made company moves by golf cart! The director is Paula Walker of Strato Films, and the DP is Rolf Kestermann.
I could write a book about this job. I left NYC in October to scout around the world for a series of spots to be shot after the new year. I scouted Petra in Jordan, Shanghai, Hanoi, Saigon, and New Zealand. (As I landed in Australia I learned the planned Outback spot was cancelled.)
This shoot was the most challenging, and most amazing. It’s a 90 second film for Credit Suisse, intended for European movie theaters. After it was decided that we wanted to shoot in Saigon, I had to fly to Hanoi to convince the guys at the Ministry of Culture to give us a permit. (We were to be the first American crew to shoot in Vietnam since the war.) I brought in lots of Johnnie Walker Black from Hong Kong, and after an all night session with the very kind gentleman in Hanoi, we were good to go. In the film a Western businessman comes to Vietnam to make a ‘joint venture’ to take a bombed out building and turn it into a five star hotel. The building I found was the former home of the vice-president of South Vietnam. It was now a school. We had to get permission to convert it into a five star hotel – (with the American flag flying above it, for the first time since the end of the war) – and then turn it into an abandoned ruin. (We shot the sequences out of order.)
I scouted the locations, did the local casting, and also found the picture cars, like the ancient Citroen taxi that picks up the businessman at the airport. The director is Michael Givens, and the producer is Richard Coll of Directors Film Company.
A couple of years after I had scouted Havana for a European commercial, (BTW one of the best jobs of my life,) Radical Media asked me to scout Old San Juan (and Ponce) at night for a Bacardi commercial that was meant to look like Havana. It was pre-digital: I got good use out of my Gitzo tripod. It’s a cool looking spot. The director is Ralf Schmerberg and the producer is Chris Rouchard.
When Radical Media wanted to shoot an ironic “Internet connecting the world 24 hours a day, 8 days a week” spot for Pacific Bell, they told me: we want to make it look like we shot all over the world, but we can only afford to travel to 2 countries. I suggested Tunisia and Thailand as two film friendly countries where we could get lots of different looks, without going over budget. I had a tiny acting role in it (starting at the 25 second mark.) During the tech scout our director Lenny Dorfman saw a fishing net platform off the coast of southern Thailand. He turned to me and said, “Hutch, tomorrow wear your nicest clothes, and bring your phone and your laptop.” The next day I got into a small boat and was taken to this rickety offshore platform, where I had to sit and make believe I was connecting with the world. The platform walkway was slippery and very narrow, and I came much too close to going overboard, with my computer in hand. The job was pretty awesome.
I just found this commercial I did with Radical Media in the Hudson Valley. It was directed by Ralf Schmerberg and produced by Chris Rouchard.
As part of my around the world scout for IBM for the Summer Olympics, I traveled from Dakar, Senegal to Montreal and the Kahnawake Mohawk Indian territory. There we filmed a spot focussing on Waneek Horn-Miller, the Mohawk co-captain of the Canadian Olympic water polo team. I scouted for classic historic pools in Montreal, as well as for iconic indigenous Mohawk locations in Kahnawake. It was a wonderful experience, and quite a contrast to Dakar.
I can finally talk about a show I worked on this Fall! (It’s tough scouting locations and not be able to tell people it’s: David Letterman interviewing President Obama! I hate NDA’s some times.)
I scouted dozens of theaters in New Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Washington, DC. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turned out.
I heard on NPR this morning that the World Economic Forum has started in Davos, Switzerland. Several years ago I worked on a short film in Indonesia, commissioned by Price Waterhouse Coopers the year their CEO was the Chairman of the Forum.
In 1999 the Indonesian government of President Habibie demanded a secret $70,000,000 kickback from Bank Bali. He used the money to buy votes in the upcoming election. Forensic accountants from Price Waterhouse Coopers were called in to figure out what happened. What they discovered, and were able to present to the government, led to the downfall of President Habibie, and changed Indonesia forever.
I was asked to fly to Jakarta to start up a production that would recreate these tense moments in 1999. We shot a 5 minute film for the World Economic Forum that dramatized these events. I scouted locations all over the chaotic urban sprawl that is Jakarta. Working on a very tight timeline, and without any permits, we recreated scenes like anti-government demonstrations in downtown Jakarta and the burning of documents on the roof of the Regent Hotel. (Who ever thought accounting could be so exciting?) It was directed by Lenny Dorfman, and produced by Chris Rouchard, Andrew Shelton and Louise Shelton at Radical Media.
This is a spot I did for United Technologies / Sikorsky Helicopters with Believe Media. I scouted various shallow bodies of water around Orlando, Florida in hip waders. I had to check out the depth of the water, because the gag was to prop the top of a house in about 3 feet of water, making it look like a house was flooded to the roof, with people being rescued by helicopter. I was always on the lookout for alligators, but it turns out I had a different, unexpected creature to contend with. While scouting a fish camp in Kissimmee I ran afoul of a mama river otter, who apparently had unseen babies under the dock I was standing on- I got bit twice on my calf and had to get a full course of rabies shots. Ask me, and I’ll show you the scar…
I recently had a chance to walk around Brooklyn, Chinatown and Harlem with Italian photographer Valerio Spada, as we scouted locations and did some street casting for the Gap Summer 2017 campaign. Valerio shot all across the country. Here are some shots from the NYC portion. It was produced by one of my all time faves- Leonie Wilson at North 6.
I’ve scouted for German photographer Ellen von Unwerth many times over the years. Most recently I’ve scouted her jobs for Japanese designer label Hysteric Glamour. For this campaign she needed a classic American roller rink, and I found one in Long Island that had not changed a bit since 1980.
I loved scouting this job for Mario Sorrenti and the Fall/Winter 2016 Zara campaign. The Hudson Valley is one of my favorite areas for scouting, and this shoot made use of some of its the most beautiful spots. There’s an almost Pre-Raphaelite quality to some of these shots. I hope someone sends me out to scout the Hudson Valley again soon!
Two of my photos were included in the Location in Pictures feature in Location International Magazine 2016, “Showcasing the Global Film & TV Production Industry.” The magazine is published by Boutique Editions in London. One photo is of a railroad bridge on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania that I shot while scouting for a shoot for Woolrich. The other shot is of the General Assembly of the United Nations, that I shot while on a UN tour for location managers.
You may wonder why I would start a blog post about a Bottega Veneta fashion shoot with a disturbing photo of an African man with a chained hyena.
I was asked to scout for gritty, industrial beaches for a Bottega Veneta campaign, which was to be shot by South African Pieter Hugo. His most famous documentary work is The Hyena and Other Men, which focuses on Nigerian hyena handlers: debt collectors, thieves and drug dealers who use hyenas as a form of persuasion. Instead of location reference photos I was sent some of these powerful hyena photos. I was asked to be aware of the distinctive coloration he used in his portraiture.
After much scouting of funky NY/NJ waterfront, we wound up in Perth Amboy, a tough little industrial town on the grimy Arthur Kill, on the backside of Staten Island. Here are some photos from the campaign, as well as a video.
In March Acura unveiled a new race car at the 2016 NY International Auto Show: the NSX GT3. In conjunction with this launch, they wanted to shoot the top secret car in a location that looked like a high tech pit garage. Since we don’t have car racing tracks in the NY area, I scouted airports in 3 States, trying to find just the right hangar. The photographer was Ben Redgrove, and the producer was Pat Dougherty of Lockbox Productions.
Location 2015 International Magazine included one of my scouting photos of Katz’z Delicatessen in their annual Location in Pictures section. Used as a location in many productions over the years, it’s probably best known for the faked orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally.
Another one of my photos was included in a feature entitled Welcome to New York, about the ever growing popularity of New York State as a production center.
In the summer of 2013 I did a West Village scout for Craig McDean, who was shooting a layout for Vogue. Craig decided to shoot on one of my favorite secret NY blocks, Charles Lane. The first shot of Charles Lane is by Berenice Abbott in 1937, when it was a garbage strewn alley.
In 2013 the trash is gone, but the cobblestones look pretty much unchanged. The Vogue shoot was produced by Kate Collings-Post and North 6.
The recent passing of rapper Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest reminded me of this 1993 video I scouted and managed for the song Award Tour. The song also features Trugoy of De La Soul. We shot this with a tiny crew and budget at Riis Park, Flushing Meadow Park, and the now defunct Empire Fulton Ferry State Park. The director was Josh Taft.
Lately I’ve been working on a project for Cadillac, a car maker that has aligned its brand with Soho and Tribeca (and has actually moved its corporate offices from Detroit to Soho.) While scouting Soho’s distinctive downtown cast-iron architecture and cobblestone streets last week, (Tribeca’s on the Hiatus List, as usual,) I thought of a campaign I worked on last fall for Mini Cooper. The aesthetic seems very similar to what I’m doing for Cadillac, which I’ll post here when it becomes available. The photographer for the Mini job is Emir Haveric, and here are a few shots I found at his website. I worked with two producers on the shoot, Will Taylor and Jake Mills.
This fashion editorial for Vogue Magazine was definitely one of my favorite jobs in 2015. I loved exploring the beautiful, rugged coast of Nova Scotia for photographer Mikael Jansson and Fashion Editor Camilla Nickerson. The story appeared in the November 2015 issue.
In early Spring I got the call to replace a location that had fallen through at the eleventh hour. The job was an Interview Magazine fashion editorial for the June/July 2015 issue. The brief was: “abandoned buildings, funky overgrown brush, decay.” The location I found for the job was an abandoned brick yard- hundreds of acres of delightfully overgrown decay on the banks of the Hudson River. The photographer is Mikael Jansson, and the stylist Karl Templer.
One day I got an email from a UK production company, looking for some Fall locations in Upstate New York. The job was for Evans, an English plus size clothing company. The brief was simple: “Clean expanses of nature, lakes, trees, paths and roads that allow for distances to be seen ahead so we are able to capture wide shots as well as close ups.” The Catskills were mentioned, but for clean expanses, my favorite area is Columbia County. They wound up shooting just north of Hudson, with a view of the Hudson and the Catskills beyond. The photographer is Greg Sorenson, and the producer is Tali Magal.
When I was growing up in NYC, and visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the paintings I would linger at was Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” So I knew what my clients were referring to when they told me they wanted to recreate this famous, heroic scene on the Delaware River- only this time with a Dodge Ram truck and a bevy of Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. Whatever you may think about the tastefulness of such a concept, you have to admit- you can’t get a much more American combo than pickup trucks and bikinis! In any case, I had a chance to spend some cold late Fall days scouting the beautiful Delaware, from Trenton all the way up to Narrowsburg, NY & PA. Truly a delight.
My favorite job of 2014 was Verizon in L.A. – and not just because it brought me out of a wintry NY into the warmth of Southern California. I got to scout for a laundry list of lifestyle locations, including Chinatown at night, train stations, tree houses, sports bars, fire pits, boxing gyms, beaches, Venice Canals, mountain overlooks, driving ranges, 4 kinds of houses, offices, miniature golf, and hardest of all- house construction sites that would both allow filming and also be in the framing stage 4 weeks into the future. The first thing I learned was that 98% of L.A. home construction companies don’t allow filming of any kind, because of liability issues and more importantly, because they don’t want anything to interfere with their tight construction schedules. There are houses going up at a feverish rate on the outskirts of L.A., and if a company doesn’t complete a house by the agreed delivery date, they have to pay a penalty. I eventually found a company that would play ball with a photo production, but then I had to deal with the problem of timing. My clients wanted to shoot a house that was framed up to the second floor. But any house I shot in the framing stage would actually be completed by the time we were ready to shoot. Once a house is framed, the construction crew immediately starts covering it with a house wrap. So what I actually scouted were bare patches of earth where there were scheduled to be framed houses by our future shoot date. (I felt sorry for my always upbeat producer, Pat Dougherty of Lockbox Productions, who had no choice but to cross his fingers, and present to the clients my photos of barren earth with string marking the outline of houses to be built some time in the future.) You can see from the photos below that in the end, it all worked out just fine.
Long ago when I drove a yellow cab in Manhattan, I once picked up Andy Warhol at Max’s Kansas City, and drove him home. We had a friendly chat, and after he paid me he dropped an issue of Interview on my front seat. I hadn’t read Interview since, but I enjoyed this cover article about the wild and talented Shia LaBeouf. I scouted the location in Ossining for North Six. The photographer was Craig McDean.
Boss Orange by Hugo Boss contacted me with an Urban Beach concept, ‘reflecting the youth culture of skaters, surfers, musicians + artists.’ At first they considered Miami Beach and Venice Beach, but rejected them as too recognizable. They then shifted the focus to Rockaway, Coney Island and Brighton Beach. I told them there was still too much Sandy damage and reconstruction in those areas, so we switched our attention to the Jersey Shore. I scouted the Shore from Margate, Ventnor and Atlantic City in the south, to Asbury Park in the north. They eventually decided to shoot in Asbury Park, which has really staged an impressive comeback. The photographer was Alasdair McLellan.
Back in the summer T Magazine asked me to find a location that was “fairly untouched, romantic and epic in feeling,” and not too far from NYC. For me that had to be somewhere in the Hudson Valley, and after some looking around we wound up in the beautiful Shawangunks, at Sam’s Point. I like the way the photographer, Matthew Kristall, used the various elements of the place. Most people just shoot the dramatic cliffs and rock formations, but he used the forest and lake as well. The story was part of T Magazine’s 10th anniversary issue.
The main location challenge on this Bud Light Superbowl spot was to find the perfect building where an unsuspecting hero non-actor (filmed by 58 hidden cameras) could move in real time between various scenarios, like riding in an elevator with Don Cheadle and a llama named Lilly, and playing ping pong with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was directed by Jeff Tremaine.
My favorite scout of Washington D.C. was for a W Magazine fashion editorial by Juergen Teller. I started out scouting the ‘wrong side of the tracks,’ such as the D.C. garbage dump and nighttime parks where people might have illicit sex. As often happens, the brief eventually became more conventional, focusing on monuments and government buildings. But along the way there was excitement, such as when I was surrounded by 4 black suited guards packing 9mm pistols, who without identifying themselves demanded my camera and deleted all the photos I had taken of an interesting Brutalist concrete building that was apparently the Department of Energy. The guards got their comeuppance later that day, but that’s a much longer story. The piece was styled by Camilla Nickerson.
Mert & Marcus asked me to scout for bohemian properties in the New York area for this sensual fall fashion editorial in W Magazine. I scouted a wide swath, from eastern Long island to Woodstock, looking for mysterious places. I like the way it turned out.
I had never thought much about crosswalks, until I was asked to scout them recently for this graphic Dior Magazine editorial. I was surprised to find how different they could be from one another, from one block to the other. The photographers were Claudia Knoepfel and Stefan Indlekofer, and the production was handled by the aptly named Nice Productions.
I always love scouting Princeton, the quintessential Ivy League campus. I scouted Princeton again recently for the Tommy Hilfiger back to school campaign, shot by Craig McDean. The production company was North 6.
This past summer I scouted a variety of local businesses in Garden City, Lincoln Park, NJ, and the Bronx for an Optimum Business commercial. The director was Jim Gartner. In this short spot, we see a gym, small town bank, auto parts warehouse, lawyer, plastic surgeon, sushi bar, hair salon, veterinarian and an Arthur Avenue Italian restaurant. It’s always a pleasure to scout for a director like Jim, who appreciates the work of his scouts.
This past May I was asked to find a ruin for a New York Times T Magazine fashion cover story featuring Rooney Mara. I scouted ruins throughout the Hudson Valley and New Jersey, including Bannerman’s Castle. I also managed the shoot, which took place at the Northgate/Cornish Estate ruin in Hudson Highlands State Park in Cold Spring. The photographer was David Sims, and the stylist was Joe McKenna. The Women’s Fashion Fall 2013 issue just came out, and I was happily surprised to see I received a credit, unusual in a fashion editorial.
The HBO series The Newsroom is one of my favorite shows, and I enjoyed working with the folks from Huge Designs in London and Streetlight Films in LA when they shot on the streets of New York for the Season 2 title sequence. The first 6 shots of the sequence (13 seconds) were done in NYC, as we bounced around the city, looking for the right angles and good light. BTW, the hands in the coffee cup shot belong to the Line Producer, and my good friend, Michele Stanger.
One of the stranger commercials I’ve worked on, this was directed by the Dutch director Paul Vos at Lake Powell, using a cast of local Navajos. It’s a romanticized European view of traditional Native American life, without voiceover or product shots, just the wise (but untranslated) words of the Elder. The client is Intratuin, a Dutch chain of garden product stores.
Here’s a German commercial I did for Raffaello, a coconut candy made by Ferrero. I scouted luxury resorts all over the Caribbean, and then managed the shoot once the clients decided to shoot at Cap Juluca, a Moroccan style five star resort in Anguilla. In addition to scouting for the perfect location, I also scouted throughout the Caribbean for an operable Grumman Mallard, a classic amphibious aircraft, built only from 1946 to 1951. Only 59 were built, and only a few still fly. I found our hero plane in Puerto Rico. I think it’s the star of the commercial. The producer was my old friend Richard Coll of Directors Film Company.
Location 2013, a magazine “Showcasing the global film production industry” was launched at the Cannes Film Festival in May, at a beach party hosted by the European Film Commission Network (EUFCN) and the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI.) Two of my photos were included in the magazine- one from a scout of NYC rooftops, and one from a Wyoming fam tour. You can see the whole issue at www.globalproductionupdate.com.
I found this German Honda commercial I did a while back on Vimeo. It was my first experience location managing a commercial in California. It’s a bit surreal, from the giraffes we brought into the wind farm at Tehachapi, to the mysterious women covered in black on the Cuddeback dry lake bed. Definitely not an American car commercial. There’s one shot we did in Griffith Park where I volunteered to fill in for a precision driver who didn’t show up. (I figured, why not, I was a NY cab driver- I can handle a curvy road in Griffith Park.) The director was Paul Vos, and the producer was Richard Coll.
This fall I worked with a team of scouts, led by Michael Sibley, to find the biggest, oldest, most iconic sugar maple possible for a Crown Royal Whisky commercial. I focused primarily on the Hudson Valley, and the challenge was to find a huge maple whose leaves were turning, but not dropping too fast. The director is Steve Cope, and the production company is Rattling Stick.
The WSJ Magazine asked me to find some impressive boulders for a shoot for the Fall Style Issue. I found these in the lower Hudson Valley, about 90 minutes from NYC. In what is an editorial first (in my experience,) I was credited at the end of the story, right beneath the model. The story is called The Coat Makes the Man, and the photographer is Andreas Larsson. Thank you, WSJ.
North 6 asked me to find a classic NYC hotel for this Tory Burch film, introducing the Fall 2012 collection. Most NY hotels are happy to have you shoot in a suite or a ballroom, but we needed the hotel entrance, lobby, staircases, hallways, elevators- just about everything. Many hotels shot me down, or were nervously noncommittal, but the Plaza Athenee was very cooperative, and turned out to be the perfect location.
I scouted for a deep woods, Upstate look for a Roberto Cavalli campaign- in Staten Island! In New York City’s only Boy Scout camp, I found pristine woods, lakes, streams, just a few miles from Manhattan. The photographers are Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and the producer is Roger Dong of GE Projects.
I scouted various old and/or sleazy hotels in Los Angeles for a W Magazine layout by Mert & Marcus. One of my favorite locations was this one: Rudolph Valentino’s suite, Room 1202, at the Alexandria Hotel.
I scouted Buffalo, New York for a Tabasco spot, directed by John Dolan of Partizan. I always love working in Buffalo: it’s a treasure trove of underused and authentic locations, with a great film commission, headed by Tim Clark. (Note: it doesn’t always snow in Buffalo- the snow was added in post 😉
The Location Managers Guild of America is an organization of Location Scouts and Managers, based in Los Angeles, but with members around the world. I was fortunate enough to have some of my photos included in the 2012 Calendar, on the cover and in the New York, Louisiana and New Mexico sections. Here are some pages from the calendar:
The goal was to find a high angle shot where we could see active CSX train tracks with a highway on one side and a river on the other. I scouted the CSX rail line from Syracuse down to the edge of NYC. I found the hero location on the Mohawk River, up above NYS Route 5, between Amsterdam and Schenectady. Sam Bayer directed, and the production company was HSI.
One of my favorite international scouting/casting jobs was for IBM in Senegal. I leapfrogged around the world for the director Lenny Dorfman and a crew from Radical Media. I flew into Dakar, Senegal in the middle of the night, after flights from JFK and Paris, and started scouting locations and casting friends, family and coaches of the captain of the Senegalese womans’ Olympic basketball team. A few days later, the crew flew in from NYC, and we quickly shot the spot in the streets and basketball courts of Dakar, in 100 degree heat and humidity. We had a blast! When we finished, I flew off to do the same thing in Montreal and Australia, while other people handled Ireland and Harlem.
I scouted the ‘shorelines’ of NYC this summer for the Jimmy Choo Cruise 12 Collection. It was shot by Claudia Knoepfel and Stefan Indlekofer, and produced by Nice Productions.
Ice and Coco came to NYC to shoot some E! promo shots for the new season of their reality show. The location here is the Museum of the City of NY. Timothy White is the photographer, and the producer is Stephanie Cohen.
For the Fall 2011 Nina Ricci campaign, I was asked to find a location that could double for Paris, in the NYC area. With the Tuileries Gardens in mind, I scouted a number of grand estates, looking for the wide white gravel paths that are so typically Parisian. The photographers were Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and it was styled by Alex White. The shoot was produced by Nice Productions. We found Paris in Long Island.
I did a job this summer for Gap’s new campaign for its brand 1969. I scouted throughout the New York area, including the Catskills, for locations that would represent various places, like Portland, Oregon. The photographer was Cass Bird, and the producer Joy Asbury, of joyasburyproductions.com.
I had two photos published in the 2011 edition of Locations Magazine, the magazine of the Association of Film Commissioners International. One photo was of an abandoned grocery store in Great Barrington, MA, which was included in a feature called Main Street USA. The other was the front photo of the Locations in Pictures section, which includes photos by location scouts around the world. The photo is of a graphic NYC location, 12th Avenue under Riverside Drive. (The cover shot is by L.A. location scout extraordinaire, and my good friend, Geoff Juckes.)
I scouted roofs and terraces all over Manhattan for this Corona Light ad. It never ceases to amaze me how little of the location is actually seen in some of these shots. This probably could have been shot in a studio, instead of on an expensive West Village terrace. (But that wouldn’t have been any fun for me at all.)
Georgia May Jagger appeared in a story I worked on for the September 2010 issue of W. I scouted a classic Manhattan apartment in the legendary Apthorp building, whose residents have included Nora Ephron, Cyndi Lauper and Al Pacino. The photographer was Craig McDean, and it was styled by Alex White.
I had the pleasure of scouting a series of Fidelity spots for director Todd Field and producer Cory Berg of Trio Films. In this spot, we used New York City’s High Line as a location for the first time. Working with the gracious cooperation of the The High Line and the Standard Hotel, the production was completed successfully, without inconveniencing the public.
I recently scouted and managed some Degree deodorant commercials and Internet episodes in West Virginia. The ongoing series is called the Chain of Adventure, featuring Bear Grylls, star of the Discovery Channel’s Man Vs. Wild. Also appearing in the spots were several sports celebrities, including Mark Messier (hockey,) Mark Sanchez (football,) Kevin Durant (basketball,) and Tony Hawk (skateboarding.) I began scouting in the Hudson Valley and the Adirondacks, but I soon realized we had to shoot in West Virginia. In addition to impressive cliffs and a drop zone for a parachute/skateboard stunt, we needed massive, dam release whitewater in the fall, and I found all of these in the beautiful New River Gorge area.
French Vogue took a trip to the Hudson Valley to shoot “Un dimanche a la campagne” at this vast, lovely estate, which I’ve scouted for various projects. The photographer was Mikael Jansson, and the spread appeared in the November 2010 issue.
I scouted Red Hook, Brooklyn for Mert & Marcus, who channeled the spirit of Edward Hopper in this W spread in the September 2010 issue. Red Hook is rapidly gentrifying, but it still has a wonderful grittiness.
This was a fun rooftop scout, trying to find just the right perspective for a Budweiser shot. The photographer is Christian Weber, and the producer is Louise Feldman of Proof Films.
Scouting for corporate films and commercials has taken John Hutchinson through Tunisia, Jordan, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The veteran scout points out that while some Middle Eastern countries are conservative…read more>>
In 2010 Volkswagen reintroduced the Golf into the U.S. market, and I scouted the NYC metropolitan area for the car’s brochure. It was shot by Oliver Paffrath, and produced by Jake Mills.
I was working in downtown Elizabeth, NJ when I gladly got the call to scout Cumberland Island for W. Cumberland is a barrier island off the coast of Georgia, once a private retreat of the Carnegie family, now largely administered by the National Park Service. The photographer was Mario Sorrenti, and it appeared in the August 2009 issue.
I had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to tour locations in Trinidad and Tobago as a guest of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company. I had scouted Tobago years ago for Bacardi, and its beaches still rank high among the Caribbean’s finest, but Trinidad was a revelation. The variety of architecture and landscapes really makes Trinidad and Tobago a location option that transcends Caribbean cliches.
I had a wonderful time working with photographer Christian Weber and Louise Feldman of Proof Films on these ads for Lenovo notebook computers. I scouted Death Valley and Dumont Dunes, as well as airports and labs all around Los Angeles.
My scout for Tommy Hilfiger began at Lake Powell, but the low water levels and scraggly weeds found everywhere on newly exposed rock led me to look for alternative options in Monument Valley. The photographer was Dewey Nicks.
That’s me on frozen Fish Lake, the Yukon.
Riding a snowmobile in 20 below temperatures, I scouted frozen lakes in the Yukon for this Dewey Nicks shoot for Tommy Hilfiger. I researched various options in Alaska, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon because we had to shoot on a lake that would still be solidly frozen in April (!)
Costa Rica is a tropical wonderland, where I’ve been fortunate enough to scout for two different jobs. This ad for Rolex was shot by Nadav Kander, and produced by Lynda Goldstein of Pix Producers.
The AFCI (Association of Film Commissioners International) publishes Locations Magazine once a year. This year they featured a photo I took in a Singapore Hindu temple while scouting for IBM. The photo appeared in a section called Locations : IN PICTURES.