It also helps that the Goodens not only have such a beautiful home, they also know what is acceptable and what is not in negotiation. As Mr. Alpert pointed out, homeowners can sometimes make the job of a site manager particularly difficult when the demands are extreme.
In a plot in "Big Little Lies," Celeste plans to leave her abusive husband, so Mr. Alpert's team started looking for an apartment to move into. They found a place they thought was perfect, at least until "the homeowner started soliciting all sorts of bizarre things from us," he said.
"Some I will not share," he added. “But one question involved adding wording in the contract itself that he could take a picture with Nicole Kidman. I explained that I couldn't agree with that on paper, but offered to ask Nicole. If she had known Nicole, most likely she would have. “But the homeowner asked for a promise on paper.
"At that point, I said, 'Thank you, I'll get back to you' and went outside, called my team and we immediately started looking for a new apartment," said Alpert.
This experience confirmed something that Mr. Alpert firmly believes in: when looking for the perfect location, whether by the water or not, the owners – not the locations – are often the deciding factor. Unlike the cast and crew, who may be shooting in one location for a few days, a location manager can be on site for weeks.
He said making friends is key to a successful shoot. According to Alpert, one of the most important things to manage is not what you see on screen, but everything you don't.
"Even if we shoot someone in someone's house and only shoot in their living room, we're in every other room and three blocks away," he said. "Here you really have to do whatever you can to ingratiate yourself and befriend the area you're shooting in so you don't end up in a situation where they want to kick you out."
Despite his title, Alpert joked that his actual job isn't site management. "I call it location mothering," he said.