Sony Pictures Television,
New South Wales

As Reckoning is set in a coastal Californian town, and the series was produced by Sydney-based production company Playmaker, it made sense to shoot the series in Sydney. “Sydney’s beaches and lifestyle have a very similar vibe to California,” Playmaker Producer David Maher says.

The process has been relatively straightforward.“Finding residential streets, houses and buildings that resemble Californian architecture hasn’t been difficult. The beaches and waterways are alike, and areas of vegetation are similar. It’s particularly helpful that eucalypts are also prevalent in California,” Maher says.

Director Shawn Seet can take the credit for leading the producers down the path of shooting Australia for the U.S. “They trusted him and when we sat down to nut out ideas it became apparent that Sydney was a great fit for California. And logistics and money comes into it,” adds Reckoning Location Manager, Mary Barltrop.

Sydney’s Northern Beaches and suburbs replaced California while the streetscapes of the colonial rural towns of Richmond and Windsor, less than an hour out of Sydney, were used for small town U.S.A.

Despite being a good match there were some challenges, Barltrop says.

“You have to be clever road-matching our street signs and using left-hand drive vehicles. U.S. high schools are perhaps the most challenging as exteriors are hard to build and internally the scale of things like corridors and placement of lockers are quite different,” she says.

“We had to think laterally and look at other institutions and ended up at The University of Sydney for our school shoots. But the restrictions drive creative solutions and in the end you always find it.”

Barltop says the established film industry in Australia means the public and local authorities are well versed in what’s required and what happens with a location shoot.

“The state government screen agencies have worked long and hard with the authorities to create streamlined and affordable locations so you get huge amounts of bang for your buck and they are all terrific to work with,” she says.

For Location support please speak to Screen NSW