According to Harmony Korine, he wrote the film partially to make up for his own spring breaks, as he had been fully devoted to skateboarding, and therefore missed out on what he saw as opportunities for hedonistic pursuits. Korine has referred to the film as a "beach noir". The original lineup of lead actresses was announced as Emma Roberts, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens. Director Korine had purposely collected a group of well-known young actresses with a similar reputation to Roberts in Hollywood. Ashley Benson was ultimately cast instead after Roberts dropped out due to her being uncomfortable with the film’s explicit sexuality. The film was shot in March and April 2012 in and around St. Petersburg, Florida. The exterior shots and some interior shots of the college Selena Gomez's and Ashley Benson's characters attend were filmed at New College of Florida, while the dormitory and classroom shots were filmed at Ringling College of Art and Design. Skrillex produced the film's score.