When you read a script, you create a mental image of where the characters live
My job is to find that place in the real world, and then to persuade the director, designer and production team that it’s right. I come up with three or four options, and once the choice is made, it’s a case of talking to the owner, local authority or community to see if they’re happy for us to use the location. Then it’s on to contracts, licences, risk assessments and everything else needed to bring up to 50 people into a house, factory or some other kind of location. It’s a long, painstaking process.
I love never knowing where I’m going to end up next
I might be in Ceredigion, my own home county in West Wales, or I could be anywhere in Wales. I get the privilege to see some fantastic places. You can’t usually peek inside a private mansion, but I can say: "I’m from a television company. Mind if I take a look around?" Most of the time, people are intrigued and more than happy for me to explore.
I got the drama bug from watching my father
There’s a strong history of amateur dramatics in Ceredigion’s chapel societies. I’d go to see my father perform, and I got hooked. But it wasn’t just the performance side: I wanted to go backstage and see what happened behind the set. I attended a local drama club, then got a job there via the Youth Training Scheme. Theatre was my life for seven or eight years, until I got into television as a runner on comedy sketch shows for the Welsh broadcaster S4C. It snowballed from there, and it’s still going.
Every project is different, but Y Gwyll/Hinterland was special
Sometimes you don’t even get a script, just an outline of the episode. You’re told: "Go out, come back with a good place and we’ll mould the character into that location" That happened on Hinterland with Cwm Ty Nant, near Talybont in Ceredigion – a wild, magical place. Another standout project for me was Patagonia, a road movie directed by Marc Evans that started on the Severn Bridge and finished up in North Wales. And one of the most challenging things I’ve done was Ceri Sherlock’s film Cameleon, set during World War II. I had to find a row of six houses in the middle of nowhere. It took seven weeks, but I found it: Nantymwyn Terrace in Rhandirmwyn, north east Carmarthenshire.
If you’re a nosy person, it’s the ideal job
I spend a lot of time driving around. Once I find the area I’m looking for, it gives me the opportunity of getting to know the locals – they’re always the best people to ask. If you want a remote barn out in the middle of somewhere, ask a neighbouring farmer. Now, of course, the internet makes it easier, but I think it’s a lazy man’s way of finding locations. It’s more satisfying to go out and knock on doors.
If I could, I’d set every production in Ceredigion
It’s not just because it’s where I grew up. Ceredigion has so much to offer between the coastline and the mountains, with all those small villages. It’s a fabulous place to work, and the help you get from local communities is amazing – it’s in their bones to welcome everyone into the county.
Paul “Bach” Davies
You don’t need to go anywhere else. Within an hour of Cardiff, you can be in the Brecon Beacons, where you can find remote wilderness."
With its variety of landscapes and buildings, Wales has so many options
You don’t need to go anywhere else. Within an hour of Cardiff, you can be in the Brecon Beacons, where you can find remote wilderness. There's also castles, quarries, mines and industrial heritage, or present day steelworks at Port Talbot. You can find incredible modern architecture, historic buildings, cliffs, valleys – it never stops surprising me.
This is a special time to be in Welsh filmmaking
If I could split myself into three, I’d be working 52 weeks of the year. The Welsh Government has made funding available for filmmakers, and it’s attracting companies from all over the world. There's a variety of projects coming here, from Netflix and Sky productions to S4C and BBC shows. There are massive opportunities for anybody interested – not only in location management, but in lighting, camera, sound and everything else.