Texas has a bit of everything, from iconic Western landscapes to modern cityscapes, making it a great place to shoot all sorts of projects. It doesn’t hurt that the region also has some very attractive incentives and resources for people looking to bring creative projects to the Lone Star State.
But where, specifically, should you shoot? The perfect location can make or break a film, and sometimes there’s just no replacement for people who truly know the area. If you’re shooting a small indie project, you may well be able to take care of this yourself (with the right tools), but bigger projects can easily require dozens of locations. In that case, there’s much to be gained from relying on local experts to clue you in on spots you’d never find otherwise.
We’re here to help by serving up some info on where to find a location scout in Dallas, as well as where to begin looking for locations yourself.
If you’re ready to start looking for film locations in Dallas or the greater DFW area, Peerspace has got you covered. As the largest online marketplace for production, meeting, and event spaces Peerspace boasts hundreds of unique locations — from lush secluded cottages to unique performance spaces, grungy warehouses, and beyond. Rather than hire a location scout in Dallas, Peerspace empowers you to tackle the scouting process yourself.
Start by performing a quick search, and scroll through hundreds of killer locations in Dallas. From there, communicate directly with the space-of-your-choice’s host, and ask any logistical questions directly (no middle man here!) Also, use high-quality photos, detailed listing descriptions, and reviews from real creative people who have used the space to determine whether or not it will meet your production’s needs. Once you’ve made your decision, book directly through Peerspace’s secure platform.
Essentially, if you want to be your own location scout (and save a little cash in the process), start with Peerspace.
ProductionHub has a few good location scouts in Washington DC to begin with
For a big ‘ol list of location scout profiles, mosey on over to ProductionHub, which keeps a huge database of personnel of all types. This includes vendors, crew, cameramen, and everything else under the sun. Dallas is underrepresented on their lists, but we’ll include ProductionHub here regardless because it’s a useful enough tool that every filmmaker ought to be familiar with it.
Here are a few of our favorite Dallas location scouts:
If you want to just call someone up, tell them what you need, and let them take care of the rest, check out these three location scouts.
“Locations Aaron”—we didn’t give him the nickname—has worked with a bunch of major networks and boasts an impressive client list. He also does all the things you’d like a location scout to do that are frequently overlooked, like securing all necessary city and government permits, coordinating off duty police officers for security, arranging for tents and signage, and more. It’s one thing for a location scout to arrange for your use of a location, and it’s quite another for them to also do all the little nuts-and-bolts things that ensure your use of that location goes off without a hitch.
At Location is owned by Michelle and Elliot Hawkes, seasoned location scouts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. One of the nicer features of their site is a gallery of locations they’ve used before and have relationships with, which will give you a good idea of the sort of places they have access to, as well as their creative eye.
Kim Dillinger Davis is another Dallas location scout you should check out. She’s been in the business a long time and has worked on hundreds of TV commercials, as well as over 45 film and television projects.
The Texas Film Commission exists to facilitate the creation of movies in its state. In other words, it’s literally their job to help you shoot in Texas. They want to make things as easy as possible for you, and it’s in their best interest that your production is a smash hit. Their location services are something like a step between hiring a private location scout and finding something online. Basically, their contact form asks for a variety of information about your production and the sort of locations you’re looking for, and then they search a robust internal database to put together a package of possible locations for you. Better yet, since they’re part of the government, they can make staying legal and permitted much easier.
Don’t forget IMDB Pro
IMDB Pro is $150 a year, and if you’re a filmmaker it’s well worth the cost. Everyone associated with film projects is listed on IMDB Pro, from directors to caterers, and this of course includes location scouts. Film and TV pros tend to be good about keeping their information up-to-date, so you’ll be able not only to get a bird’s eye view of their career but also see what they’re currently working on.
Other online resources for location scouting in Dallas:
There’s really no shortage, is there? By now you’ve got a host of awesome options, but if you want to expand your search, there are two other online resources you should check out.
Scout Services is a DFW-based location agency. They’ll scout specific locations for you if you’d like, but essentially their model is that they maintain relationships with (and represent) many property owners in the Dallas area. Their website contains a gallery of these properties, so you can browse at will and then get in touch if any catches your eye.
The Texas Film Commission works closely with LocationsHub to help them keep their location listings up to date and accurate. The Texas Film Commission does suggest that they have access to more listings that aren’t on LocationsHub, but if you just want to immediately click through and start browsing locations, LocationsHub is a good place to start. It’s run by Reel-Scout, a well-regarded production company. It’s worth noting that LocationsHub isn’t a platform actually booking locations—it’s just a catalogue. Each location will have its own contact person, and it will be on you to reach out to them and negotiate an appropriate deal. If you’re the type of person that likes to have that level of control and personal involvement, that might be perfect for you. If you’d like a simpler and more streamlined experience, look at something like Peerspace.
Location scouts are on social media, too
Tap into your own network! If you don’t know any location scouts, you may well have a friend of a friend who does. Developing a professional network is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your career prospects.
Check out Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Some location scouts are very active, which will give you a good idea of their personal style on the job, as well as their personality. On LinkedIn, you can see who they’ve worked with in the past, read endorsements, and even get in touch with people who’ve hired them before and reach out for some unfiltered information about their experience.
Ya’ll come back now!
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and maybe that includes opportunities for filmmakers. If you’re trying to figure out where to find a location scout in Dallas, we think this guide has you covered. Whatever your production size or budget, there’s an option for you in Dallas. Texas has an incredibly rich history and complex cultural significance, and tapping into all of that has made for seriously exciting TV and film. Now, it’s your turn.