How Filming Differs in NYC From LA

Casey Mink, writing for Backstage online, interviewed Location Manager, Julie Sage, about how she finds greats spots to shoot Aziz Ansari's new Netflix series, Master of None. In the article Sage dispenses some interesting opinions on how NYC - Where Master of None is filmed - and LA differ, not just effecting the location manager's task but how the look of the city becomes part of the story.


While Sage's comments hold a lot of truth, I wonder if perhaps the reason the two cities offer such different results is because so many west coast filmmakers just don't know or see the unique neighborhoods around LA. Of course Sage mentions that NY doesn't have the cavernous sound stages of the Hollywood studios top work with.

Another thought I had while reading Casey Mink's reportage was that the layout and feel of the two cities is as different as their geography. New York is filled with tall structures on narrow streets. Often, the only way you'll see the sky is to look straight up! Like the vibe, Gotham's archetecture is in your face. It's easy to see through the lens. It's atmosphere is often overwhelming.

Los Angeles on the other hand has shorter builldings—and I'm not just talking about skyscrapers but neighborhoods. Buildings are more often setback, sidewalks and streets are often wider. All this effectively pushs the archetecture back, away from the lens, making it all smaller, harder to see the details and character of the neighborhood. That's particularly true on a wide angle lens. And the sky -- it's everywhere. You only have to divert your eyes a few degrees up to see the sky in LA. There's never any of that wonderful gray Manhattan cloud cover that make it so easy to shoot exteriors with just a little fill light. No, in LA you need huge silk butterflys and banks of broads or HMI's to fight the sun, making time-of-day a more important factor when shooting.  

Do read the article since you'll have your own reaction. You'll also get an appreiciation of Julie Sage's (and other location manager's) contribution to a production. And finally you'll get some insight to the creative back and forth that goes on long after the script is first written.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019