Negotiating A Filming Location Fee Is Not Difficult
How Much Do They Pay A Day?
One of the first questions anybody ask when talking about renting their home for location filming is, “How much I can I make?”, which is, let’s face it, like asking, “How long is a piece of rope?”. The short answer is, “It depends” Every shoot is different and the fee negotiable every time a production comes knocking at your door. The rule of thumb is that the fee for one day of filming generally is about equal to your monthly mortgage or rent, but there are a lot of variables that affect the rule. Every picture is different, and even pictures with the same dollar budgets, i.e., both are 10 million dollar pictures, will have different amounts allocated for their location costs. The only real constant for any producer is the overall budget, if they have raised 10 million dollars then that is what they have to spend, and how they allocate it will effect how much the location manager is able to offer for a given location.
Not Every Day Is Equal
Did you notice I said “one day of filming” in the last paragraph? That’s because, in film production, not every day is equal and a location could involve more than one kind of day and, generally, the fee for non-filming days might be half of the filming day rate. There are basically three kinds: pre-production days, filming (shoot) days, and wrap days and, depending on any number of variables, every location will involve one or more. For example, if filming at, or in, your home is going to require a a changeover, or redress, of any kind, the production may need a pre-production day in order to prepare your home for filming and could need a day after filming to return things to their original condition. In most cases where filming is schedule for one day, a company will be able to prep, shoot, and wrap the location all on the same day, but regardless of what other activities are occurring, if any filming takes place consider that a filming day. Usually, non-filming days will be shorter than the filming days and involve a smaller number of crew members with the impact on the homeowner being less. In cases where this is not the case, a homeowner may want to negotiate the rate on non-filming days to compensate for the disruption, remembering what I said earlier that every thing is negotiable.
Be Reasonable When Negotiating The Price
How much a production company is willing to pay you will be a matter of what they want and that can vary greatly depending on the script and what scene(s) they will film. The following questions can give you an idea of the variety of possibilities that a location manager might be looking at, but basically, the more they want the more you should expect to be paid, just remember that if your price demands are too high they will find another place that suits their needs, so you want to be reasonable when negotiating the price.
- Do they want to film inside the home and, if so, are they using just one room, or will they need access to multiple parts of the house?
- Do they want to film just in the driveway/front yard only?
- Do they want to film in the backyard only?
- How much space do they want to set up their equipment?
- Will they bring a generator or be using your electricity?
- How big is their crew?
- How many days will they need the location?
- Will there be any non-filming days? Rate? (In addition to what I said previously, non-filming days could be a down day, like the weekend, or a holiday, but as homeowner you could be inconvenienced.)
Know The Tax Rules
The last thing I’ll say today is about the money once you have it. Under current IRS rules, a homeowner can rent their home out up to 14 days a year tax free, meaning you don’t pay federal income taxes on those earnings; if you exceed the 14 days then all of the income, from day 1, is taxable. You should consult a tax professional regarding the tax rules in your State and remember it’s your responsibility to know the tax rules.