San Francisco is a star. Turn on the television and you’ll see San Francisco on your favorite TV show, in the commercials that interrupt it, and in the movie that you watch with your family after dinner. That’s because the city is extremely recognizable and beautiful, filled with great vantage points. Because the city loves being on film, the city government makes it easy to get the proper permits and start filming.
If you’re not familiar with San Francisco — or even if you are — you may need some assistance with the location scouting for your film. The average blockbuster film has anywhere from 30–50 locations on average. And while smaller films are likely to have fewer locations, the process of scouting locations still represents a significant time and resource investment for any film. Even car commercials can have five or six locations for an advertisement that lasts 20–30 seconds.
This guide will help you find a location scout in San Francisco — or, if you’d prefer, you can also scout a location on your own. We’ve provided links to dozens of local location scouts and scenic locations.
Use Peerspace and become your own location scout!
Peerspace is the largest online marketplace for production, meeting, and event spaces, empowering producers, filmmakers, and photographers to easily scout their own locations. We designed our platform with creatives in mind and make it simple to search locations based on square footage, location type, price, and so much more. If you’re looking for a loft, search all the available lofts in San Francisco. Looking for an art gallery? No problemo. Peerspace can save you days of work.
Peerspace has hundreds of spaces in San Francisco, including mansions, unique warehouse spaces, peaceful beachfront retreats, and one-of-a-kind locations, like this church-turned-architect’s-dream-home, and Lacquerbar, the most Instagrammable nail salon around. And that’s barely scratching the surface of what we offer. With us empowering you, you can location scout San Francisco like a pro.
ProductionHub is a trusted resource for industry professionals
ProductionHub maintains professional biographies and contact information for film production professionals from all over the country. Their list for San Francisco contains more than 20 individuals and companies that offer location scouting and management services. Not only can you find location scouts, but you’ll be able to search for crews, vendors, locations, accommodations in proximity to your set, and much more.
ReelDirectory keeps track of locations scouts from San Francisco and other cities all over the country
ReelDirectory’s got a list of 20 locations scouts in San Francisco. Of course, there is some overlap between this list and ProductionHub’s, but they’re not identical. ReelDirectory offers straightforward listings, providing an overview of each location scout’s resume, their contact info, as well as links to their websites and professional IMDB pages.
Of the listings in the above resources, we’d suggest beginning with these San Francisco location scouts:
If you’re looking to shoot a commercial, music video, or short, check out Aspen Productions. They’ve got an impressive corporate client list and access to locations all over the country.
Catherine Blum has worked in the business for nearly 40 years. She has an interesting mix of high-budget, indie, and commercial clientele. In addition, she’s got tons of contacts that can save anyone an abundance of time.
If you’re doing a big-budget film in the city, start with Daniel Lee.
Searching social media is a great way to find the latest information on location scouts in San Francisco
You probably already know this as a citizen of the modern world, but social media is a great place to learn about potential hires.
On LinkedIn, you can find detailed background information on your location scout, often going all the way back to their first job. You can check out professional articles they’ve read, commented on, or written. You can peek at people they’ve worked with and for, as well as reach out to former employers for recommendations.
Twitter is another great resource to use to find location scouts in San Francisco. Every day, SF location scouts are out there posting about their time on the job and, to some degree, you can get a real-time look at the movie world. You just have to glance in the right place.
Finally, on Instagram, you can get insight into the personality and skill of your location scouts, as well as some idea of the types of locations they already have access to. You can tell a lot about a location scout by their work behind a camera.
Other resources for scouting locations yourself
We mentioned above that Peerspace is a great place to look for locations. Some additional resources to scout locations yourself include:
The official San Francisco film office keeps a list of affordable easy-permit locations, as well as a contact list for numerous other public locations. You’ll eventually want to be in touch with FilmSF when it’s time to file your filming permits.
LocationsHub is a great place to find locations you can’t find on other sites we’ve mentioned so far. They can help you contact the right people so you can film in iconic places, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
San Francisco welcomes filmmakers from all walks of life
San Francisco is iconic, easily recognizable and majestic — which is why the city is always being filmed. You need look no further than FilmSF’s Twitter feed to see the Hollywood blockbusters, quirky Netflix series, and indie flicks being filmed here on a daily basis. If you want to film in San Francisco, we suggest you do more than just fill out the proper permits and make phone calls. Get involved in the local community! Work with local crews and talent that are always ready for the next great project. Whether you’re filming a car commercial on the Golden Gate Bridge or a sci-fi flick, San Francisco is ready for its close-up.