Location Scouting and the Curse of the Flooded Third Grade Hallway

Making a picture book on location — Part 2

Shooting a picture book in your home is challenging. You have to clean, for one thing. (Yes, even if your entire premise is built on making a mess.) And where do you stash your kids?
Shooting on location is even harder. Especially when your story takes place in a school. ESPECIALLY when your story calls for the use of a commercial-grade foam machine to send a tidal wave of bubbles crashing down a flight of stairs in that school.

From the first day of planning What the Dinosaurs Did at School, real locations were non-negotiable. Plastic dinosaurs, real messes—it’s the Dinovember way.

The locations also had to live up to the schools in our imaginations: blending that universal, nostalgic quality with their own unique character to give the art a quirky sort of timelessness.
We visited a lot of schools around our hometown of Kansas City and ended up with some great options. No single school had everything we needed, so we gathered our reference photos and notes and stitched together gyms and classrooms, cafeterias hallways. In all, the fictional environment of What the Dinosaurs Did at School is a composite of three schools and a public library.

Our biggest constraint was that photography had to happen over summer while the kids were away. Two of the schools offered summer programs, leaving us with only one open week per school to take pictures.

It was going to be tight. What was worse, we were going to have to shoot our most difficult scene first.

Read more at Permanent Marker.