by Carletta S. Hurt, Assistant Editor - Reel Focus
Jen Farris is an independent location scout working in Atlanta. Knowing buried treasures and off the beaten path nooks and crannies gives her the edge on finding the location that fits a project perfectly. “I have an extreme passion for wanting to show off the jewels hidden in the Atlanta metro!” she explained.
Farris currently works for Breakdown Productions scouting locations for the hit TV series, “Being Mary Jane” which airs on Black Entertainment Television (BET). She’s had the pleasure of working for film projects and/or programs airing on several networks including MTV, BET, TVOne, Lifetime Networks, UPTV, and NBC Universal.
“I love a variety of things about location scouting,” she said. “I adore research, architecture, photography and engaging with people in the community.” A location scout is hired by producers or location managers during pre-production for the purpose of finding and sometimes securing potential spaces or 'locations' that are best suited aesthetically for a production shoot. Farris spends time reading the script to review all of the details so she can start to visualize and translate instruction on how the writer, artistic director or director envisions where the characters move [from scene to scene]. “Some scripts are vague, while others are extremely detailed, but it is not unlikely that I may dig up 15-30 potential locations for each scene,” she shared.
Another important part of her job is to look at the location with a “production eye” and taking into account a variety of factors. Some of them include attempting to see the spaces as they would be seen on a film camera, to 'see' what the writer ‘saw’ when the words were put on paper, and to visualize the crew working in the space to make sure it can accommodate all of the production needs. “After making connections with the property owners, I also pitch the idea to them and gather as much pertinent information from them to begin the negotiation process with the locations department.”
At this point, it gets exciting. Farris is ready for the dance. Her adrenaline rush comes from actually securing the location. “I love the hustle of seizing the location. It's invigorating to watch a TV show or film and know that I aided in placing the location for the scene,” she said. “The words on paper, delivered by incredible talent are amazing, but the cherry on top is to be able to couple that with an aesthetically pleasing location. That's awesome.”
Jen Farris, the location scout, is working to expose the industry to some of the best places in Atlanta via the big and small screen. She’s from the city so she knows the city.