As a pop culture enthusiast, I’m fascinated by the filmmaking process. Chalk it up to when I was younger, and I worked as an extra (aka background actor) during college. While waiting around on set, I enjoyed watching all of the behind-the-scenes production workers. Fast forward to the present day and as I was watching a movie at home, I turned to the featurette on the production crew, one who happened to be a locations manager.
I’ve always wondered how a location crew will find the perfect beach house or just the right high school setting to use in a film or TV production. Little did I know that there is an agency (and also a website) that producers can turn to, to discover and select filming locations. In fact, recently I had the opportunity to interview the owner of the agency.
Please meet Shirley Scopelitis, owner of Scope Locations, a premier locations agency!
How/why did you begin your business?
Shirley: After dedicating more than two decades to the entertainment industry, the last ten years of which saw me overseeing the review and negotiation of below-the-line agreements for prominent studios, I found my true passion in connecting with production teams and property owners. While problem-solving and negotiating mutually beneficial agreements brought me joy, the bureaucratic and political aspects of corporate America became less appealing over time. The turning point came in the summer of 2023 when I lost my job along with thousands of other colleagues. That’s when I decided to chase my passion and I embarked on the journey of starting my own locations agency. In this venture, I’m not just addressing industry gaps; I’m weaving my experiences and genuine love for the craft into every location I bring to life.
As a working mother, what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to other female entrepreneurs?
Shirley: Balancing a business and family life is undeniably challenging. There are moments when it feels like I’m falling short in my roles as a mother and a wife. It’s essential to remember that this is just a season, a phase that will pass. Pursuing our dreams is a journey we, as working mothers, also deserve. In fact, it’s one of the most valuable lessons we can impart to our children — the importance of chasing aspirations. During times when I fear I might be dedicating less time to my family, open communication becomes my lifeline. Where possible, I try to bring them into the process and have them actively participate in the creation of my company. In fact, my son played a significant role in crafting our company logo. The idea of including the little house within the scope was his creative contribution.
What do you like best about having a business in the San Fernando Valley?
Shirley: Having been raised and lived in the San Fernando Valley for almost my entire life, I feel a deep connection to the community. The Valley offers a unique blend of businesses and diverse communities, and throughout my journey, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of my neighbors from various parts of the Valley. It’s this local connection and familiarity that make running a business here truly special.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Shirley: Looking back, I wish I knew more about digital marketing and being visible online right from the beginning. Learning as I go in this ever-changing digital world is still a big part of my entrepreneurial adventure. It’s crucial to cut yourself some slack when things don’t go as planned. Just remember to bounce back; adapt, and keep moving forward.
I’m inspired by Shirley’s ability to take her knowledge and skill set from working at an entertainment studio to launching her own entrepreneurial endeavors! It takes courage and tenacity to strike out on your own, whereas some might want to go back into the corporate world. I love the idea of bringing her children into the creative process while she built her company. Talk about a teachable moment!
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The images shown in this post are used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.