People who are both travel enthusiasts and movie fanatics can only dream of combining their two passions and actually getting paid for it. To earn a living as a film location scout conjures romantic visions of sweeping across the globe exploring far away places, unearthing cultural gems and breathtaking backdrops. However, becoming a professional in this field is incredibly difficult, particularly for those with no experience in the industry, and the reality is not always that glamorous: there are budget and time restrictions, negotiating legal contracts, and general logistical issues causing all sorts of stress and setbacks.
With North America offering such a wonderful variety of terrains, from pulsating metropolises to vast deserts and dense forests, it’s no surprise that the United States have enjoyed their fair share of screen time. In fact, it is estimated that Hollywood shoots just under half of all productions on home soil. Movie fans from all four corners of the planet would have no trouble recognising famous avenues, buildings and landscapes without ever having set foot in the country, a testament to America’s continued presence within the business.
Cities offer perhaps the most identifiable settings, with New York leading the competition with its familiar sightings of Central Park, which features in countless pictures including “Wall Street”, “Vanilla Sky” and “Annie Hall”, plus of course such landmarks Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square and Coney Island. San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles also appear heavily, although lesser known municipalities can just as easily imprint their image into the minds and hearts of the viewer. One such example is Savannah, Georgia, captured with its old world charm in the hugely popular “Forrest Gump”, providing the legendary bench from which the eponymous character divulges his wisdom.
Aside from urban environments, the U.S. boast a plethora of stunning natural landscapes that epitomise the land. The red rock valleys of Arizona and Utah have staged an endless array of westerns, plus such classics as “Thelma and Louise” and the high adrenaline offering of “127 Hours”. A dramatic contrast to those arid vistas, the snow covered peaks and glaciers of Alaska have enjoyed ample onscreen coverage as they featured in “The Thing,” “White Fang” and, more recently, “Into the Wild”. Add to that a feast of lakes, rivers, woodlands, and beaches, and it’s easy to see why USA remains one of the most diverse and flourishing location hotspots in the world.