Liverpool and The Ipcress File: an interview with Faye Newton
The Location Guide spoke with Faye Newton, the Location Scout for ITV's new series The Ipcress File. We talked about Faye's work at Liverpool Locations, discussing why the city has become a prime shooting destination for film and television production.
What is your role at Liverpool Locations?
I’m co-owner of Liverpool Locations with my sister Claire Newton. Liverpool Locations is a location management, scouting, fixer consultancy company based in Liverpool UK. We also provide training for people aspiring to join the Locations department and the industry.
Claire and I are born and bred in Liverpool and both love filming in Liverpool. We are well-known in the industry as Liverpool Location Managers, but we decided to set up Liverpool Locations to advertise what we do on another level.
How did you start working in the film and television industry?
I was very lucky to be given work experience on a low budget film that came to Liverpool in 2001.
Many of the crew recommended me for their next jobs and this was where I began being booked on productions as a location runner or location assistant and officially paid.
What brought you to working on The Ipcress File?
I have been in the industry for over 20 years and for a huge amount of this time I have based myself in and around Liverpool for scouting or location managing. I was recommended to the production by people I had previously worked with, I get a lot of my work through word-of-mouth. I have twin boys (now three years old) so I was only available to location scout on The Ipcress File as I wanted to make sure I was around for them.
What destinations did you choose for The Ipcress File, and why?
I scouted hundreds of locations for The Ipcress File within Liverpool. I spent over a year on this project. I started scouting before lockdown, then lockdown hit and all work on Ipcress was put on hold.
Then in the second lockdown when film and television were allowed to continue I was able to head back out again and continue scouting, but still under certain restrictions.
One of the trickiest locations to find were the spy agency offices (supposedly Charlotte Street in London). This location was scripted as having numerous offices, corridors and stairwells which where scripted as being interconnected. We had a large amount of filming days here so we decided it would be best to look for an empty building with character that was pre-1960’s to fit the feel of the show. We would then dress this space and have more control when filming.
I searched for empty older buildings for sale and I spoke to Liverpool City Council. Eventually after a ton of scouting and 'recces' with the designer we found an amazing empty school which was perfect. It had all the features we needed, plus a beautiful parquet floor which we found hidden under layers of carpet, which was a bonus.
What makes Liverpool stand out as filming a destination?
Liverpool has such a huge wealth of incredible buildings which allows Liverpool to be cheated as New York, London, Moscow, Chicago… to name but a few.
We have a world-class film office who go above and beyond to help with the scouting process and give permission to make things happen in the city. The people of Liverpool are very proud of the filming that takes place in the city and their film friendly attitude encourages film companies to return again and again.
What advice would you give to incoming filmmakers who are considering working in Liverpool?
Please come visit and film! Whatever period or genre your project, we will be able to provide quality locations, crew and facilities whilst enjoying our beautiful city.
What projects are you working on next?
I have actually decided to slow down my filming work for the moment. I am scouting on a couple of projects, but I’m mostly putting time aside to concentrate on training people to become Location Assistants.
As we all know there is a is huge skills shortage in the industry, especially in the location department. Historically pre-Covid, Claire and I would give weekly on set work experience where we would meet new potential location assistants. For the last two years we haven’t been able to do this due to Covid protocols restricting the number of crew on set.
Because of this we have created a one-day intensive Location Assistant Course to help people learn more about our department whilst finding amazing people who can jump into our team.
We’ve had an awesome group of people on the courses so far. People who have backgrounds in events, the police, the military, A-level and university students and even experienced crew who would like to move across to the locations department.
It’s great for us to see people who started with us as work experience go on to work on exciting projects such as The Batman, Peaky Blinders, The Responder, Munich, and this is what we plan to keep doing.
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