One of the main jobs of producing is securing locations for the film. Basically you find the location you’d like to use, contact the owner, and have them sign a location release. Of course it never works out to be that easy, such as the location above.
This is the control room for the particle accelerator on campus. We needed a location for Bush and Cheney’s secret lair, something like Dr. Strangelove’s War Room. The Second AD remembered someone had used the control room in a weekend project our first semester because their boyfriend (Bert) worked there, so we decided to check it out.
As you can see, it’s a pretty perfect location for a secret lair. We wanted to use it the last two days of the shoot (Monday/Tuesday). A scientist we ran into when we were looking around said those days were right between experiments, so it should be fine. We just had to get the approval from the department head.
We ran into him in the hall and he told us to email him the details. Soon a game of email tag began. Our main actor got off work at 5, so the plan was to have a late call, shoot everything that doesn’t need him first, and then when he arrives around 5:30 shoot the rest. During email tag, we were told it was fine to use the control room, but only during working hours, which are 8-4:30. This was Thursday and production had already started. We needed to know if we had to start looking for another location.
Luckily, Bert came to the rescue. The main reason for the 4:30 curfew was the department head wanted a faculty member there at all times. Using Bert’s help, we were able to convince a professor to stick around in the evening. The agreement was signed, the perfect location was secured, and Bush and Cheney were able to save the world from zombies.