LAURA WALKER - ASSISTANT LOCATION MANAGER
What is your Job title?
I'm an Assistant Location Manager (ALM) working in Locations. This year I've worked on several TV series including The Handmaid's Tale - Season 4, Ruby and the Well - Season 1, and Departure - Season 3 and I'm currently working on a new TV series for CBS starring Sophia Bush entitled "Good Sam".
What originally inspired you to get in this line of work?
I took broadcasting in college and film/english in university. I was involved in a film co-op where I met someone who ultimately hired me at a documentary production company. That job led me to another job and so-on and so-on. I did try working in a non-film/TV place once but it wasn't a good fit -- I belong in entertainment. In more recent years, I was working in Business Development for a Hamilton studio. In that role, I met many Location Scouts /ALMs and Location Managers (LMs) and they encouraged me to consider joining the DGCs (Director's Guild of Canada) Location Caucus. The decision to join the DGC has led me to where I am today.
How would you describe what you do to someone who is not in the industry?
Filming on location (versus in a controlled studio) is basically "event management". ALMs take care of all of the logistics of filming on location -- permits, maps, parking, lunchroom, green rooms, BG (back group actors) processing, location protection, washrooms, PDOs (paid duty officers), ETF (emergency task force), security, etc. As the ALM, I bridge the gap between a "location" and the "production" making sure that while we are on location that we are following our permits and agreements. While filming on location my department and I are there to assist the shooting crew so that they get their filming day completed successfully. ALMs often work as Scouts finding and photographing possible filming locations.
What film would you like to go back in time to be a part of?
I think working on any Bond film would be great. Finding locations for those films would be exciting and challenging and working with talented and creative people would be so inspirational.
What kind of steps did you take to get to where you are today?
I didn't plan on a career in Locations -- I just ended up here. I got a Honours BA in Film & English and worked for a few production companies working in Distribution and Marketing. As I mentioned, I had a gig as a Business Development Manager which led me to working as an ALM. I've always been interested in behind-the-scenes work in film and television. This job requires people skills, being comfortable with paperwork, creativity, and an ability to make decisions under pressure. Working in Locations is very interesting and I'm always learning.
Writer Bryn Wilkinson is a co-op student of the Hamilton Film Festival