I spent an afternoon in search of Leonardo DiCaprio in New Orleans. No, I’m not a crazed fan. I had heard he was in town filming a Quentin Tarantino film and I wanted to see if I could catch a few acts. My search for Leonardo DiCaprio spread quickly in New Orleans. I began finding more and more TV and film shoots taking place around town. I was on the lookout for Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise too, all while seeing parts of New Orleans I never thought I would see. Throughout most places in the United States, there could be a set brewing. A routine business trip or vacation could turn into a star sighting. Here are a few ways to find the silver screen on your travels.
Research on location and movie tours: Companies throughout the US have started to capitalize on this kind of tourism. In many cities like New York and Boston, you can go on movie and television themed tours. Some are based on the settings of certain major films, showing you where scenes were shot in town. I took one of these tours while in New York. While a city like New York has been the setting for countless films, I also found the tour to be beneficial from a sightseeing perspective. The tour took me through parts of the city I would have trouble uncovering on my own during a quick weekend trip.
Search social media for tips: Most film and television sets can be kept a secret up until the point when camera starts rolling. However with social media, there is almost always someone tweeting where you are visiting about a film shoot in town. If you have a free afternoon in Chicago, you can do a quick search on Twitter for Chicago film locations. You might discover a whole major motion picture is being filmed right around the corner from your hotel.
Follow film and television location websites: In this day and age, there are plenty of film and television location websites that can point you in the direction of a shoot. A popular option is OnLocationVacations. The site mainly gets its tips on filming locations from readers, sending in photographs and noted sightings. They also tend to list upcoming film and television shoots so you can check to see if where you are heading might be in the big lights soon.
Look out for production signs: New York City is easily one of the best places to spot the magic of the silver screen right on the streets. However with so much transpiring in New York, it can be hard to discern a film set from a news crew. An easy way to notice a crew filming is to look out for signs studding a block. These will generally tell you the name of the project and when it will be filming. In general, they are to alert the masses not to park on that block on a certain day, but they are great indicators for where you will want to be and when to see a few actors. And almost always, film and television crews will be rolling in historic settings that make for fine backdrops. While in search of the next big blockbuster, you just might catch a piece of history you didn’t see mentioned in the guidebook.
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