W.Va. film office, filmmaker's guild to host locations workshop

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W.Va. film office, filmmaker's guild to host locations workshop
Author Homer Hickam discusses a shoot for an upcoming sequel to October Sky. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Film Office)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Ideal locations are key to creating good film and television content, say the organizers of a two-day workshop for location scouts and managers in the Mountain State.

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West Virginia is increasingly becoming a location for television and movie making, according to the W.Va. Film Office and W.Va. Filmmakers Guild, which is teaming up for a June 24-25 workshop to be taught by television and film industry veteran Curt Wilmot.

Wilmot has worked for more than two decades at 20th Century Fox, managing locations for LA Law, Cop Rock, Civil Wars, and NYPD Blue, and has worked on feature films and the reality shows Fear Factor and The Apprentice.

Wilmot says finding ideal locations is vital to the success of shows and films. “I quickly learned that this job as a locations scout was crucial to creating the look of the show," Wilmot says.

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"Depending on what the script called for, I was the person taking pictures of various houses, restaurants, and schools that would ultimately be what millions of people saw on television."

Wilmot will be teaching the skills and techniques needed to be a location scout as well as a  location manager. Both are needed occupations in West Virginia, thanks in part to the institution of a new state film office and film tax credit.

The tax credit is worth 27 percent of the number of expenditures incurred in the state, and there is an additional four percent allowance for hiring 10 full-time West Virginia residents for a possible total tax credit of 31 percent of expenditures.

The tax credit has helped attraction of a steady stream of in-state productions and has created the need for more location scouts and managers, according to film office spokesman Dave Lavender.

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“As we scale up and build out more film and creative industry work here in West Virginia, we want to make sure that the film office is actively supporting more workforce training to give more West Virginians a chance to work right here and be a part of this exciting industry that is poised for growth within our state,” Lavender said.

The workshop is one in a series of film industry training workshops being sponsored by the new film office. In the past year, the office has sponsored workshops for cinematography, grip and electric, and special effects hair and makeup. A screenwriting workshop is planned for August 20 at the Appalachian Film Festival.

Wilmot says the responsibilities managed by locations scouts and managers are far more involved than many people are aware.

“Locations manager is a job that entails city permits, hiring security, police, negotiating all contracts, procuring parking lots for parking trucks, crew, and managing what can sometimes feel like a circus,” Wilmot says.

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"While I am employed by the production, I worked for the location as well. You have to follow through and make everyone happy and know what restrictions and boundaries are established. If the writers decide three episodes later they want to go back to the same location, you will want to film there again."

The two-day workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25, at the Holiday Inn at 1188 Pineview Drive, Morgantown. The workshop is $75 and includes lunch, beverages, snacks, and coffee for both days. Space is limited, so applicants should register in advance online at

Rooms may be reserved at the Holiday Inn-Morgantown, 1188 Pineview Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505, by calling 304-241-6649. Mention the workshop to receive a room discount.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Filmmakers Guild at wvfilmguild@gmail.com or message them on .

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