Spotlight: Andrew Hodge, Location Manager
This series of posts highlights some of our local industry talent: on-screen and behind-the-scenes, established and up-and-coming.
Andrew Hodge, the location manager for the recently released feature films, Damsel, and Hereditary, is a committed Salt Lake City resident. Andrew has also worked with the filmed-in-Utah TV series Mosaic, Yellowstone, and Blood & Oil.
How did you get involved in the industry?
I initially became involved in the film industry through clay animation. I was more interested in the editing of film rather than creating animation myself. At first, I was interested in the process of filmmaking, specifically editing, and then my interests progressed to still photography and eventually location scouting.
Can you tell us about your experience, both living and working in Utah?
I was born in Jersey, grew up in Wisconsin, moved back to Jersey and then Utah after that. I moved to Utah primarily to work. Salt Lake City is an advantageous town where it sits on the West. It’s a metropolitan population and I targeted it for work even though it wasn’t New York City or Los Angeles. It was big enough that I figured some film work would be around.
When I was quite young in high school, I was researching where I wanted to end up and Salt Lake was one of the few places that I targeted. I didn’t know I was actually going to end up here but I’ve always been interested in living in Utah because of the mountains, the scenery and where it’s situated in the West. You can drive to Canada, Mexico, California, and the ocean all within 12 hours.
How do you typically prepare for a job?
The first thing I do is read the script and look over the storyboard. I take whatever locations that the filmmakers are looking for and begin brainstorming. First, I pull the locations out of the script and figure out what might work best for their story. After that, I start figuring out who the first AD is and where they want to film, whether it is Salt Lake City, Provo, Park City, or Southern Utah. Sometimes, you’ll get some information from the producers as to where they want to film and then go from there. Certainly, with feature films and episodic, I want to know the locations of the script and if the project is scripted. For example, if you’re looking for a diner, you have to ask yourself if it would be best to film in an actual diner or if it’s a diner that will need to be built out.
How much of a Utah presence did you feel on the set of Utah-made productions that you have worked on (in terms of locations, cast and crew)?
Utah has it all! We can pretty much do everything here and [geographically speaking], you can find most of America’s landscapes in Utah. To have as much of the production take place in Utah is preferred.
If you could work with anyone or anything from any era, who or what would it be?
The top of the list would be working with Alfred Hitchcock. He was one of the main directors that initially got me super excited and interested in film. I would work with him anywhere and it would be great! He’s definitely the number one on my list.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact about me is that I constantly try to stay active. I’m actively scouting and it is something that I enjoy doing even when I’m not being paid. I’m always scouting different locations for a project that may come up or for my own general preference and to keep my skills sharp. I’m constantly looking at places with new architecture or new locations, whether it’s a new amusement park, a new venue, or anything along those lines, I’m constantly scouting.
What advice would you give a local that is trying to get into the industry?
I think it’s important to have a variety of skills. It’s always going to help your hire-ability. The more skills you know, the more it will help if you’re just trying to get started in the film industry. You don’t want to pidgin-hole yourself into locations, for example, so the more skills you have the better. You learn more about the industry if you’re willing to cross over to other departments and learn about other people’s jobs.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
For any press and media inquiries, contact the Utah Film Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.