Renting Your Property for Filming
If you are considering, or have ever thought about, making your home (or another property) available for rent as a film location you likely have questions. The following items contain information to assist you in considering whether to list your home and what to do before you complete the submission form should you choose to list with us. Scroll down to begin reading or click a title link to go to that title.
When you’re ready to list, use this link to return to: List Your Property
Your Property as a Film Location
Why List Your Home? The motion picture industry, or Hollywood, is in the business of making movies, tv shows, commercials, and more, with much of the filming done on locations. In southern California, about 70% to 80% of location filming in occurs in private residences. If you live in a film center outside of southern California you will likely find location filming follows this same pattern.
Things to consider with renting your home as a film location:
- It does not need to be a candidate for Architectural Digest to be right for filming. From lush estates to backwoods cabins, it’s all a matter of what the story is about.
- It shouldn’t be cluttered. A messy, or cluttered home can make it difficult for a crew to work.
- Does your home have an open floor plan? That can be a plus from a filming perspective.
- Another plus is if it says “Anywhere U.S.A.”, there are not many palm trees in the much of the nation.
- 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?
How much can your house earn? The rule of thumb says the fee for a day of filming can be about equal to your monthly mortgage payment. However, budgets vary depending on the type of show it is and the fees offered will vary greatly, as well. Remember that not every production will be a good fit for you and saying no is sometimes the right thing to do.
The points below are a good to keep in mind:
- What is your break-even point? The price where the inconvenience and the wear and tear on your home becomes worthwhile to you.
- You and your family could be put up at a hotel if you have to move out during the shoot and if you have pets, they could be boarded, as well.
- You are also paid for prep days, but the rental fee for these days is often half the rate of film days.
- The fees you earn from the production company are negotiable, but try to avoid making unrealistic demands.
- The IRS allows you to rent out your house for up to 14 days per year tax free. Go beyond the 14 days and your earnings will count as income. (Talk to a tax professional.)
Business Owners. Interested in making your location available for filming? It works the same as renting your home with a few differences. Naturally, the needs of your business are a priority, but location rental fees can be a welcome addition to your bottom line. Fortunately, in addition to the location fee, you want to be compensated for lost revenue due to any filming activities. A good location manager will work with you to determine what impact filming will have on your business activity and negotiate compensation accordingly.
Your State, or local, film office is a good source of information about filming in your area. If you still have questions I recommend reaching out to your local film office and you can always contact us from the Contact page.
Your Property In A Starring Role
You will find many of your questions are covered in “Your Property In A Starring Role”, from the California Film Commission. Click the title link or the image to open/download the pdf file.
The information in the pamphlet should help prepare you for hosting a film shoot, but regardless of the type of production using your property, the things you want are pretty simple. The items below represent your Filming Pre-Checklist, you want to receive all of them before the first crew member enters your property. These are all things that could be provided prior to the day of filming, though day of filming could be agreed upon, if you are okay with it. Making the rental payment too far in advance is not normal, as unforeseen events could force the company to cancel filming or possibly opt out of the agreement at the last moment. Depending on the circumstances, a cancellation fee could be included as part of an agreement.
- 1. The check for payment of production rental.
2. A copy of the insurance rider showing you and your property as additionally insured.
3. A signed copy of the property rental agreement.
4. Where applicable, a security deposit check.
You Booked A Show! Now What? – (Did You Read Your Property in a Starring Role?)
Be a Good Neighbor
Keep your neighbors informed of upcoming filming to reduce problems. If permissible, welcome one or two, at a time, to visit during filming and make sure they know to be quiet during filming, etc.
Be a Good Host
Location managers and scouts talk to each other and when they have a good experience when filming in your home, or on your property, they will be happy to recommend your property when it has the features be sought. The opposite is also true, if you are difficult or make the shoot day more problematic, don’t expect them to want to come back or tell others about your property. Problems can usually be avoided by asking lots of questions during the scouting process and when negotiating the location agreement. When both parties are well informed the chance of problems is greatly reduced, but unexpected events are always a possibility, so be flexible within reason.
Key Crew to Know:
- Location Manager. This may, or may not be the location scout you dealt with earlier. He/she should introduce you to, the Transportation Captain, the Craft Service Person, and the 1st AD and 2nd AD at the top of the day.
- Transportation Captain. This is the person responsible for the placement and movement of any vehicles on and around your property, so he needs to be aware of where he can and cannot park vehicles and of any areas that should be avoided, i.e., sprinklers, neighbors driveway, etc.
- Craft Service Person. He/she is responsible for setting up a food and drink area (craft service table) and keeping the set and surrounding area clean. They sometimes handle placing layout board, if needed, which is used to protect your floors. (Location departments often have layout board personnel who can come in prior to filming, per any agreement, and place layout board throughout the home/business and will get moved around to accommodate filming throughout the day.)
- 1st Assistant Director (AD). This is the person responsible for running the set and keeping things on schedule. She/He will be near the camera and the director most of the time.
- 2nd AD. This is the person responsible for checking in all the talent and handling the logistics of getting them ready for working on camera. In addition, she/he deals with issues taking place away from camera. There can be more than one 2nd AD on a show, these include 2nd 2nd AD and additional 2nd AD’s.
- Production Assistant (PA). The PA does a variety of jobs in support of all the departments involved in shooting and will most likely appear to be the most overworked/underpaid member of the crew, …but they are living the dream.
Location Service Companies – (From the California Film Commission website)
Location service companies will represent your property and act as an “agent.” These companies offer properties they represent to production companies and take a commission fee, on average 30%, and they may charge you a listing fee when you sign with them. A list of location service companies can be found in the many production directories (see California Film Commission). Some location service libraries may offer you the ability to post images online.
Please be advised, that if a location service company asks to represent your property for a percentage of the location fee, State law requires the company to have a real estate broker’s license. You may want to see the license to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable service or search for the company name online using the California Department of Real Estate license lookup database list. For those who live outside of California, we recommend you check with your State film Commission regarding any regulations for film location service companies.
Should you sign with a location service company? That is a decision you would have to make based on if the costs make sense for you. Location service companies provide a service, but not all companies are equal, so you would need to find the ones in your area where you fit their qualifications and compare them. If you look at the Pre-Filming Checklist, it covers what a location service company is primarily going to be doing on your behalf. Negotiating the location rental fee should begin with what the production company is offering, i.e. what is in their budget; you should expect the fee to be worth your time, effort, and any inconvenience you will have during filming. That is a number you have to decide and not a location service company.
If you feel a location service company is the way to go for you, then I encourage you to look at several before choosing one.
About Our Service.
We are a film resource marketing service with listing platforms where owners list their properties for use as film locations and their vehicles for use as picture cars. We are not a management company and we do not represent you or negotiate on your behalf. You should expect to negotiate on your own behalf and you keep 100% of your rental income.
We are a subscription-based service with an annual fee to list your property (or vehicle). We currently are running a “Grow the List” campaign offering a one-time listing fee opportunity to add your property to our database.
Signed with a location service company? Use our platform to get additional exposure for your property and list your location service company as the contact for your listing. Our location database is located at filmit-locations.com.
Visit Filmit-locations.com to see a property listing. You will need to scroll down to the “Recent Listings” and click a listing.
Key points to consider with Film It USA:
- One-time fee of $100.00 (Regular pricing is $60 per year to list a property)
- No commissions or fees when you book a show, keep 100% of all rental fees.
- No contracts. Listing with other services is not a problem.
- FilmItUSA does not represent you or negotiate on your behalf.
- List multiple properties individually.
- Your resources are available to be viewed 24/7/365.
Your Photographs and Description (For the Submission Form)
In addition to what is asked for on the submission form, provide as much detail as possible. The information you provide is used to build your profile for use by the internal search engine and for organic searches, as well. Take us on a virtual tour, inside and out, describing all the features and aspects of the property. Include things like the type (house, office, warehouse, etc.), any architectural style, (i.e. Georgian, Tudor, Colonial, Ranch, etc.), specifications (square footage, # of bedrooms, etc.), and all features (swimming pool, outbuilding, etc.).
You want to show the whole room where possible and avoid close up photos unless, perhaps, you want to provide the detail in a unique feature. We limit you to 10 photos, but if your property is such that you feel you need to show more than 10 photos you can contact us regarding additional photos. The photos below are examples to give you an idea for your listing and you can also look at real estate listings in the paper, or online, for good examples. To see photos in some active listings go to the home page and scroll down to recent listings.
Submitting Your Photos
Your photos need to be digital and accessible on your computer to upload to the submission form. Acceptable formats include .jpg, .jpeg, and .png.
(Click image to enlarge, then click image to see next image)
(Click image to enlarge, then click image to see next image)