One of the challenges authors face – and the directors and scriptwriters who interpret their work – is how to make each scene real. We want the reader or viewer to have an immersive experience, not only suspending disbelief but also engaging their senses to put themselves at the heart of the action. We’re talking sweat, adrenaline, and edging forward on their seat (or back!).
Most writers I know are visual learners – for them, seeing is believing. They draw maps and collect character images; some visit video shoot locations online. I know a scene is working for me when I can walk around the room in my mind’s eye or move an imaginary camera through the building.
I recently discovered that there’s a way for some filmmakers to skip all that introspection! In South Florida, for example, Miami Video Producer provides video location rental services. Why spend time and money creating a set when a film production studio already has it covered?
So whether you need a Police Station Set for a jaded detective to put together all the clues and evidence, with only 24 hours to solve the case, or an Interrogation Room Set, where she’ll confront the murderer and sweat the truth out of them, the scene is set for action. Anyone old enough to remember Hill Street Blues, the award-winning cop drama, will recall how important the police station was for bringing the characters together and kicking off the episodes. (And in case you’re wondering, Mick Belker is still my standout character from the series.)
Locations – whether they are in a book or on film – are as much a part of the story as the characters that inhabit them. Often, they set the mood in a more subtle way than the weather (“Never open a book with the weather.” – Elmore Leonard) through the lighting, the grime or the sparkle. Picture a hotel lobby set in palatial marble and you immediately have a sense of the kind of people who inhabit that world. The author or scriptwriter doesn’t have to try too hard to convince you after that – they can spend their time instead on setting your expectations or subverting them!
I found Miami Video Producer by chance and it’s made me think about how I use locations in my writing. Now, if I could just get them to add a panoramic view for each of their sets, I could save myself some thinking time!