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The blog was an interview with Larry Pearson.
Q. Tell us your name and job, please.
- A. My name’s Larry Pearson. I’m the Location Manager for 24.
Q. How long have you been in Locations?
- A. I’ve been doing this maybe a little more than 25 years. It’s been an incredible, enjoyable profession.
Q. How’d you first start working in Locations?
- A. Funny thing is I raced go-carts. One of the guys I was racing with was a producer. He was getting ready to start up a Charles Bronson movie. He said, “Come on, be my Locations Manager!” The rest is history.
Q. When did you first come to 24?
- A. I came in the beginning of Season 7, so, I’ve been here two seasons.
Q. What, in general, is unique about finding locations for 24?
- A. Every location we look for, because of what the show does… we blow things up, we shoot people... I have to look at a location and I have to make sure that we can do explosions, car stunts, whatever. It’s really kind of fun. I get to knock on your door and say, ‘Hi. My name’s Larry Pearson. I’m the Location Manager at ‘24.’ I’d like to film at your house… but maybe I’d like to blow up your house.’ It becomes fun.
Q. It seems like it would be hard to find places that would work.
- A. Surprisingly easy. I’ve done shows in other states. In California, we’re a little bit jaded. Filming happens here all the time. You go to other states, or other cities, where it’s not as common, and people are excited to see you. I was doing a Charles Bronson show in Colorado. I went up to a woman and was talking to her about using her house. She was really excited. After we discussed things, I said, ‘Now, Ma’am, I’d like to talk to you about the money.’ And she looks at me and almost turns white in the face, and says, “Honey, I just don’t think I can afford to have you come here.” I had to laugh. I said, ‘No, Ma’am. We’ll pay you.’ And she said, “I couldn’t take your money. I’d be so honored to have you here.” It’s refreshing to see that.
Q. When you’re looking at Season 8 and what you’ve had to find in terms of Locations – How did you first approach it all? What’s the process?
- A. I’ve done other New York shows so I kind of have an idea of where I need to look for things. Whether it be buildings or warehouses. In fairness to New York, we don’t have anything that really matches it. Our sidewalks are smaller. There are a lot of things. But the camera is very forgiving. It can be shot in different ways. We do a lot of visual effects. Our guys for that are the most incredible. When you look at something, we know it’s not New York but you see New York in it, that’s pretty amazing.
Q. Do you have ideas when you read the script where something can be shot?
- A. I do. But I have to talk with the Director and Producers and make sure my ideas float with theirs. We can’t always be in sync but LA only has so many New York locations so we’re somewhat limited.
Q. Do you use some locations more than once?
- A. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we dress them differently and you don’t necessarily know it’s the same location. Sometimes you go on the same street, just another spot. If you watched every episode closely, you might say, “I think they entered the door right next door to that one in another episode.” We change it up enough to make it work.
Q. What are some of these LA for New York Locations?
- A. A lot downtown, a lot on Broadway, 6th Street, Spring Street. We’ve used the Biltmore Hotel a couple times. We’ve used a few warehouses that a lot of people know in Los Angeles. We just did some great scenes in an old meat packing plant. It helps with the creepy atmosphere.
- But my theory has always been. The location shouldn’t drive the show. It should enhance the show. Your actors are principle. If you’re looking at the building instead of Kiefer, we’re doing everybody an injustice.
Q. Are there any other specific qualities you look for?
- A. From a Locations standpoint, you have to have parking nearby. You have to have your equipment close by. You don’t want to put somebody in a location where it takes twenty minutes back and forth to the trailers. You want to be as close as possible. That way we get more production time. You always want to try and be film friendly in that respect.
- But a lot of the time, it’s pretty visual. You drive around in a neighborhood and something catches your eye and you think to yourself, wow, this would look pretty cool. And that’s really what I’ve done all my life. Even when I’m watching other movies. Instead of me watching the actors, I’m watching the locations. I want to see what’s out there, what someone else is using. My wife is a Locations Manager also. We’re watching movies and saying, oh that’s so and so, and that’s so and so. Sometimes it takes the enjoyment out of it. You’re watching too much of the other. But that’s the way it goes.
Q. Has there been any location that’s been more challenging this season than another?
- A. In theory, they’re all challenging, but honestly, I enjoy that. I like when someone is on the fence and saying, no, you can’t do that – and then, I am able to make it happen. When we get something that has been trouble, neighbors, barking dogs and we get it done. That’s nice.
Q. Any locations especially fun or interesting?
- A. The beginning few episodes when we blew up the car and flipped it were fun. We made that hole in the street. That was pretty enjoyable. When you get things done, and you know you’re going to make some noise, and people are going to complain, and then they don’t have any complaints, that’s pretty great.
Q. So we left a big gaping hole in the street?
- A. No. It was all fake. Styrofoam. When we did it, and you look down at the aftermath, we made it look real. My job is that I have to physically close the street. That’s part of the challenge. To get stuff like that accomplished over and over again, and have people walk away saying that was fun, I’d love to have you here again. That’s what makes it fun for us.
Q. What’s a typical day at the office? And on Location?
- A. There’s an incredible amount of paperwork. Permits to do, contracts to sign, insurances. A lot of things. Typically, if we’re just coming in to do office work, we’ll come in early in the morning. It’s a 12 hour day. It’s not a glamorous life. But it makes you feel good to have it all set.
- And then a typical location day -- I’ll show up at the location and open up the company or the house for the show. If it’s a seven o’clock crew call, I’m going to be there between 3 AM and 4 AM to get trucks in, make sure everything’s set up. Make sure security’s in place, police are in place. Make sure all of the doors are open. It’s kind of an embarrassing thing if you show up to a location and the person sleeps in and you don’t have a door open and people are waiting…
Q. What’s a typical day of scouting like?
- A. For me scouting is… I look at it as if I get paid to go sightseeing. It’s just a fun time. From the other side of it, I get up early. I run out, start taking photos, upload the photos to my website so people in the office can look at them. It helps saves a lot of time in the day. I can make a phone call, and then adjust what I’m looking for. It allows us to not go off on all day tangents hunting down the wrong location.
- When you read the script, it calls for certain things. What I like to do is, I read it, I find a location that’s maybe only there for a part of a page. It may not seem significant, but it can ultimately tie into to a larger part of the story. So I look for that smaller location, and look for ways to make it work from the angle of another larger location we are shooting at. It’s fewer moves for the production in the end and it’s more cost efficient.
Q. Any last thoughts on your job?
- A. Seriously, it’s a great job. If anyone were looking to get into the business, again, I get paid to go sight-seeing. I get to knock on any door. I get to go to mansions, businesses, everywhere. I get to see so many things that other people don’t. I get to go to factories for industries that you’d never think of and see how they work. It’s an education. No two days in this business are ever alike. There’s always variety. I might have five great days, where everything’s going well. Then a day comes when something happens that just knocks you to the ground. There’s something new everyday. I love it.
- You know, I like the action. I like the stunts, the car crashes, the explosions, the gun play. This show has it all. When I read a script, I get really excited. I get to participate in that by finding locations for it. I’m like a little kid when I see the process unfolding. It’s all fun. But the bottom line is that you always want to be invited back to that location, so we’re always mindful of what we’re doing while we’re there.
Larry is a great co-worker. And Locations Manager. And he has a wonderful team working with him. The other Locations Managers this season are KC Warnke and Yoshi Enoki. They’re assisted by Leo A. Fialho, Kim Crabb, and Clay Dodder.
And Larry’s not lying about the 12 hour days. Geoff and I can attest. Our office is right next door to his.
In Episode 8, airing tonight, you’ll see one of Larry’s finds. Bazhaev’s restaurant, meant to be in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, is actually Romanov Restaurant and Lounge in Studio City, Los Angeles.
You could eat there if you wanted to. Pretty cool.