Motion Pictures, Mobile Markets, 23 May 2017

Geography Department Seminars in conjunction with Cherish-De: Motion Pictures, Mobile Markets: Making the Film Locations Market in Los Angeles, California (Laura Sharp, University of Arizona)

Motion Pictures, Mobile Markets: Making the Film Locations Market in Los Angeles, California 

Laura Sharp

School of Geography and Development / Ysgol Ddaearyddiaeth a Datblygu

University of Arizona / Prifysgol Arizona

Tuesday 23 May 2017, 2pm, Room 226a, Wallace Boardroom, Wallace.

Dydd Mawrth 23 Mai 2017, 2pm, Ystafell 226a, Ystafell Fwrdd, Adeilad Wallace.  

Tea and coffee will be available / Bydd te a choffi ar gael.

In this talk, I argue that in the market for film locations in Los Angeles, California, mobility is not simply a beneficial tool to finding and selling locations, but rather was presupposed by the market from its inception.  As such, mobility is so suffused throughout this market that without it the market would cease to function at all.  Based on interviews and participant observation with location scouts and managers, production designers, location services, and film location property owners in Los Angeles, CA, I discuss two means by which this market is enacted through daily practices of mobility.  These are, 1) the scouts’ use of private vehicles (or their automobility), and 2) through the mobilization of the locations themselves by way of photography and related information communication technologies.  To make this argument, I first lay the groundwork by explaining what the “LA School” of urban geography has taught us thus far about the geography of the film industry and the rise of the contemporary film locations market following the Paramount Decision and the industry’s subsequent transition to flexible specialization.  Next, I establish a theoretical intervention into this literature using approaches to markets and economies from a science and technology (STS) standpoint, arguing that STS’s attention to the material composition of the social relations that enact markets helps us fill in gaps left by previous authors about how individual locations are taken up for use by the film industry.  Finally, drawing connections between the new mobilities paradigm, recent theories in visual culture studies on the production of images in movement, and past work on the relationship between cinema, the railroad, and the arcades, I outline my own findings on the nature of the film locations market and its socio-spatial formation.