Our production company Sunset Aperture have always placed a huge importance on locations as an integral part of what they do – especially to create scale and production value. For Chairs, this focus on locations began a full three years before the production.
A recce took place in the very early days of writing, to narrow down potential options for the locations seen in the film. These locations also needed to be within travelling distance, from a logistics perspective – so that crew could travel between them on the same day. It can take hours to pack down kit and move to another location — that is something that always must be at the forefront of one’s mind when deciding if two or three locations can be used across one day. It can rule out some locations completely, due to the logistics of going there in relation to another locked location on the same day.
“This focus on locations began a full three years before the production.”
The main location of a psychiatrist’s office was one discussed most throughout pre-production. A variety of Airbnb homes and rental studios offices were considered — a place we could convert into Seraphina’s office. However, none of them felt quite right. They would never be unique enough for the aesthetic. A set build was always the preference. Thankfully, through the support of Denmark Studios in London, this build become a reality. Consequently, we were then able to discuss in detail the specifics of that office build with our Production Designer. A set build also changed how we would then shoot the film, because we could build the office in relation to where we wanted to put the cameras.
Having our own studio, then enabled that space to be utilised to build areas for other scenes in the film. In total we shot five scenes from the script all at the studio, across two days of shooting. With the first day there being allocated for the office set build.
“In total we shot five scenes from the script all at the studio, across two days of shooting.”
The remaining scenes had all been discovered during the research and writing of our script. Our director visited each of them and discussed the film with them prior to any cast or crew being attached to the production. Before our script was locked, each of those locations were visited again, and the scene at each location was finalised where it is set.
Another aspect of locations is contracts, permits, risk assessments, and insurance. These documents are critical to ensure the production runs smoothly and safely. There were a lot of documents to process for the locations. This part of pre-production took three months to complete.
In total, there are five key locations seen in Chairs, with some of them being utilised more than once for an additional scene. These locations worked from both aesthetically and logistically – making them the perfect locations for our production.