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Top 5 reasons to shoot in London

US director Norry Niven was busy in London earlier this year shooting the explosive trailer for 24: Live Another Day (check it out here if you missed it). He shares with us his top 5 reasons why he likes filming in the capital, including an embarrassing incident with Simon Cowell…

norry niven
1. Crew
Nowhere else on earth do film crews work in such a joyous and artistic way, with care and a team spirit of accomplishment. In defence of crews in the US, there is so much work in LA – one week it might be a Kanye West music video, the next a detergent commercial. After a while it can sometimes just become work. But in the UK there is an excitement about the process and a genuine sense of wonder throughout the film shoot, from prep to wrap.
 
2. Locations
London offers a wide variety of locations and stages. I love the fact that they have tea stations in the studios, as if tea were important as the lighting. And for locations, you can have whatever you need. For the 24: Live Another Day trailer shoot, we needed to see London in the background in order to tell the viewer that the show would be based in London. This was a daunting task what with pyro explosions, upside-down cars, scores of extras and well-known actors in the middle of the financial district, but it went off without a hitch and the city was incredibly supportive of our efforts. Try doing that in New York
 
3. Equipment
London is like LA in that you can have anything you need to get the job done. I needed a 50 ft Supertechnocrane with an XYZ Axis head for the 24 trailer. Getting one wasn’t a problem. With so many top feature films being shot in and around London the best gear is always available. Whether it’s film, digital, grip or electric, London equipment suppliers  can provide whatever a filmmaker needs and there’s depth beyond that too, so when the city is busy you won’t have to worry about not getting a key tool for the job.
 
4. Inspiration
There are so many inspirational sources to ignite your vision in London. History, museums, galleries, shows, music and a busy nightlife all act together on your inner fire that once you’ve stepped away from the set your creative mind need not rest, in fact it won’t have a chance to snooze from the moment you arrive. It’s as though your filming there becomes a free flowing process that blends and dances between work and when you’ve downed tools, making it all seem like a united, energetic process.
 
5. Knowledge
This could’ve been under crew BUT I view this as a completely separate category because it is a selfish one. I love asking crew about what they know, mining their histories about who did what, why and when. For example, several years ago I was in London shooting with Simon Cowell for The X Factor Super Bowl spot. We had been pre-lighting with a double who looked remarkably like Simon, especially in the same clothes. I was outside the stage and had cornered one of our electricians who had worked on The Shining, asking him everything I could about his experience, mesmerized by every word.

In the meantime the stand-in had walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder to ask me a question but I couldn’t turn away from this amazing story. I waited until the spark finished talking before I turned around to see that it had in fact not been the stand-in who was patiently waiting for me, it was in fact Simon himself…who had also been amazed by this guy’s story. Thank goodness.
 
Norry Niven is represented by Generator. To enquire about his availability, or any of their other directors, click here.

For more information about film in the UK, including location ideas and tax incentives, click here.
 
















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