Does Your Sim Center Have What It Takes To Be a Film Location?

By: Alaina Herrington

blog photo 2Film producers and directors are always looking for realistic health care settings. However, hospitals and clinic locations are difficult to secure. Because simulation centers have state-of-the-art equipment and replicate health care settings so closely, they can earn a lot of money just for opening their doors to production companies. We have earned at least $200 to $250 an hour for television commercials and movie productions. Following are some of the lessons I have learned from collaborating with the film industry to provide sustainability for our simulation center.

First, you need to identify who plays which role in the production crew. Some of the most important roles are listed below:

  • Location Scout. Scouts usually live in your region. They are great contacts to hold on to. Our local scout comes here often and knows exactly what our center’s capabilities are.
  • Location Manager. Managers are responsible for finding and securing locations and coordinating logistics for the production company. All communications between the production company and you should go through the location manager. Often the crew will ask for things that are inappropriate and not covered under the budget. The location manager acts as liaison between the crew and set location.
  • Executive Producer. The executive producer finances the film and is not typically 100 percent involved.
  • The producer, AKA the project manager, creates the initial budget and ensures that everything goes smoothly. There may be several producers at one location, depending on their specialty (finance, location, or crew)
  • The director determines the film’s overall look and composition by blocking the setting location. Blocking involves directing actors on where to move, analyzing sight lines for the audience, and overseeing  the lighting design of the set.

blog photo 3Steps to Take to Turn Your Sim Center into a Film Location for Financial Gain

  1. Register with your local or state film commission and submit photos.
  2. If a scout contacts you, respond quickly. It has been my experience that I usually do not get a call or email. Rather, someone just shows up and asks to look around. This even happened during my Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) Accreditation site visit!
  3. Before you agree, ask many questions:
  • What times will the crew set up, film, and break down? They will have a detailed agenda but often the crew will run over or finish a project early. You will have to be flexible and understanding.
  • What entrance/exit will the crew use? The crew will need a ramp. Do they need an elevator?
  • How many watts of power can your organization’s circuits hold?
  • Will the crew need to repaint or make any changes to the space? Often producers do not like white walls.
  • Does the company have insurance? Each production company should have a certificate of liability insurance for at least $1 million. Your organization may want to require proof of workers compensation insurance. This would ensure the production company’s insurance is liable for any accidents on location.
  • Both parties will need to sign a location release contract that details the time, fees, and rooms used. The production company will need extra rooms for food, dressing room(s), and equipment. Make sure there is a statement in the contract that the production crew is responsible for all clean-up and is to return all items back to their original position.
  • When considering fees, do not forget the cost of security. If the project happens at night, at least one staff member will need to be onsite and provided compensation for working beyond normal working hours.
  • Your organization can, and probably should, have its own location release contract. Most production companies’ contracts favor the production company. In addition, your organization may have specific policies that need to be enforced.

blog photo 1What Happens During Filming?

  • Everyone must be quiet on set.
  • The director will need a separate area to review the scenes on a monitor.
  • The film crew will need a lot of extra room for cameras and equipment (see the attached pictures from one of our shoots).
  • Congruency is a huge consideration. Do not move anything in the set area after filming has taken place.

Every shoot is different. You never know whom you will meet. I wish I could tell you about all the famous people we have had at our Sim Center, but mum’s the word!

Have you discovered a creative way to financially sustain your simulation center? Leave a reply below and share your knowledge.


One thought

  1. Awesome blog, Alaina! Thanks for the breakdown of roles and all of this great information!!

Leave a Reply