Taking a Soap On Location

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"Remote"less for the summer & Taking it on the road

Soapdom's Linda Marshall-SmithGet acquainted with Soapdom.com and our Inside the Bubble features at New to Soapdom. Those who were registered before are registered at Soapdom.com but some privileges may have changed. Check what FREE registration means at Soapdom.com in the New to Soapdom section.It's our pleasure to take you way, way down inside the bubble at Soapdom.com. Where soap operas rule!

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Hi Suds Buds:

We are having another tropical heat wave here in southern California. How is the weather where you are?  More importantly, are your soaps heating up for the summer? 

I do find one thing lacking in this summer’s soap storylines -- exotic on-location remotes.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see your favorite romantic couple languishing on a beach in the Bahamas, or experiencing the awe of a hot lava flow from a Hawaiian volcano? That would be heating up the summer!

So why aren’t we seeing more remotes and location shooting?  Networks, although committed to their daytime line ups, must be cutting back.  Couple that with the ever rising costs to shoot or tape anything on location, makes taking a production company and talent on a remote astronomically expensive. 

Here’s an overview of what’s involved just to take a soap on location.

1) Scripts have to be written to accommodate the location shooting. This means that those actors who go on the remote will not be available to tape anything in the studio.  Those storylines will have to be crafted accordingly so that taping can continue in the studio while the main characters that appear in the remote are off on location.

2) Locations must be scouted.  This means a location scout or scouts must be hired to visit possible places to shoot and prepare extensive photo files to send back to producers.

3) From these scouting photos, producers select several possibilities for the location.  Factors such as availability with shooting schedule, location site rental fees, transportation, accommodations, and other expenses are considered.

4) Once a few possibilities are chosen, producers, directors, network execs (most likely in the case of a soap), production designers, assistant directors, cameramen, etc. personally visit the top choices and narrow down which location will best suit the storyline needs and budget constraints. 

5) The location is selected.

6) The location must be “locked in,” meaning contract negotiations begin.  The Location Manager and/or Production Manager get involved in detailing down to the minutest detail what will be expected of the location, as well as what the location can expect. Financial consideration is agreed upon.

7) Location contracts are signed and insurance issued.

8) But there may be more than one location for the location shoot. The producers’ deciding to take the show to Hawaii is just the first step. Any place they shoot in Hawaii has to be contracted and insured.  Any ancillary property used for production purposes (such as a parking lot where the crew or production vehicles will park during the shoot day, or a neighboring balcony where a production light or other camera and grip equipment must be placed) must be sought, selected, and contracted.  This process and negotiations take time.  Time is money.

9) Okay, so the location is chosen, the deals are signed, and now it’s time to bring the cast and crew to the location for the location shooting.  This means negotiations with airlines, hotels, car rental and equipment rental companies, etc.

Bottom line, all of the above costs bucks. Big bucks.  As time goes on, the big bucks get even bigger.  It is a major budget consideration to take a soap on location.  And it doesn’t appear that networks are willing at this stage in our economy to invest those dollars.  Too bad.  It would certainly heat up the summer in a refreshing way.    The last soaps that did location shooting were the Bold and the Beautiful in Portofino, Italy last winter (see above) and All My Children’s quick trip to the Bahamas last Spring. 

Do you want to see more location filming? Share your thoughts on the Soapdom.com message boards in the Criticize the Critic folder!

Coming SOON to Soapdom.com

Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

What do YOU think?  Share your thoughts in the "Criticize the Critic" forum  on the Soapdom.com Message Boards or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it