Renting Your Home As a Film Location
Hollywood is always looking for resources that can meet the needs of their current and upcoming productions. Things to keep in mind if you are considering renting your home to Hollywood, but it could apply to any kind of business, vehicle, or resource you might want to rent out.
- Your home does not need to be a candidate for Architectural Digest to be right for a Hollywood film, television, or commercial production.
- It’s best if your house isn’t too cluttered and helps if it has space to accommodate cameras and lights.
- If it can pass for a residence in Anywhere U.S.A. — no stucco or palm trees — all the better.
Think of your house as an actor. Two things all successful actors must have are perseverance and the willingness to work hard.” Not to mention the ability to handle rejection — you may get a lot of “sorry, maybe next times” before your house gets its big break.
- Your house needs to be seen if it’s going to land a gig. Using a location service helps tremendously, find one that best fits your needs.
- About 70% to 80% of location filming in Southern California occurs in private residences.
How much can your house earn? On a big-budget Hollywood film, your house can earn anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 a day and in today’s marketplace there are wide ranging budgets and all types of productions, including studio pictures, independent movies, network tv shows, cable tv shows, music videos, commercials, industrials, etc. Everyone has a break-even point — the point at which the inconvenience and wear and tear on your house become worthwhile.
- You are also paid for prep days and put up at a hotel if you have to move out during the shoot and your pets are boarded at the studio’s expense, if necessary.
- The fees you earn from the production company are negotiable, but avoid making unrealistic demands. If you do, you may hear that adage that is all too familiar in Hollywood: “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
- The IRS allows you to rent out your house for up to 14 days per year tax free. After that, your earnings will count as income. (Talk to a tax professional.)
Your local film commission. Most state governments have set up commissions to encourage filmmakers to shoot in their state and to help homeowners who would like their residences to be considered as a location. The website for the California Film Commission at film.ca.gov contains information on how to market your home and provides a list of regional film offices.
- Are you the kind of person who flips out if the cleaning lady moves a vase on your coffee table?
- Do you ask your friends to remove their shoes before they walk on your parquet floors?
- Does the thought of 50 to 100 strangers in your home cause you to hyperventilate?
If so, getting your house in the movies may not be for you. You can have the most respectful crew in the history of Hollywood and there will still be occasional nicks and scuffs. (If there is damage a location manager will work with an owner to correct the problem. You can also complain to the film permitting authority if necessary.)
- Hollywood needs houses like real people live in.
- If your house looks like Anywhere U.S.A., that is a plus.
- In the Los Angeles area, film permits are required when filming outside the studio.
- Film permits require the production company have proper insurance.
- 70% to 80% of location filming in southern California is in private residences.
- IRS rules allow you to rent your house up to 14 days per year tax free.
- Your State, or local, film office is a good source of information with filming questions.
If you still have questions you can reach out to your local film office or contact us via our Contact page.