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Renting your home as a film location
Image: AP Photo - Cheryl Gerber
You don't have to live in an ancient castle or a stately mansion to rent your home out as a film set. You just might find Sir Michael Caine in your kitchen, and get paid £5,000 per day for the honour.
Film and TV production companies are always on the lookout for new locations to shoot.
Many producers just want somewhere interesting or unique, but don't despair, there is also a market out there for 'ordinary' houses. Depending on the production company, the pay can be between £1,000 and £5,000 a day for somewhere really nice!
An added bonus is that if you hang around during the filming, you just might just end up sipping tea with Keira Knightley or playing pool with Guy Ritchie (if you have a pool table, of course).
Another thing in your favour is that production companies have been gradually switching in the past few years to filming in 'authentic' private properties rather than studios. So now is as good a time as ever to rent out your home.
How to do it
Your best bet is to contact the BBC locations department on 0208 225 9133, or your local film commission, and ask whether they would be interested in using your home. Getting in touch with production companies directly can be useful, and if you can track down the numbers of researchers/scouts, then even better. After all, there are more houses than film crews, so you need as much exposure for your house as possible.
Also get in touch with some of the web-based location departments around and they will send you a form to fill out, which you email off with some photos of your house. Most of these websites will list your house for free. If you're chosen, they will take commission of around 15% from the pay you receive.
Try The Location Department, Amazing Space, and Location Works for a start. There's nothing to stop you being on all sorts of lists but make sure that you don't pay to register. You shouldn't have to hand any money over just to be on their lists.
Don't worry if you live somewhere that you would consider to be an 'ordinary' home, as long as they're not too far away from the main film-making cities.
Some programmes need bedsits to film in, so if you happen to live in one, you may as well try and make some money out of it! Period décor is also in demand, so 70s furnishings, a 50s look or even 80s New Romantic could lead to companies knocking on your door.
You can also hire your home out for still shoots (for a smaller price, of course). It's less hassle and the photos are fun to show to friends.
Can I really make good money?
If you live in a unique and majestic palatial seaside home then you can expect to potentially make some money. You can earn anything up to £5,000 a day. If you live in the real world though, you can still expect to receive around £1,000 a day, and around £750 for a smaller place.
In London, documentary film-makers will pay around £300-£500 a day, while for a still shoot, you can expect around £800.
Like anything in the film industry, much of it is down to negotiation! It also pays to be flexible and friendly.
Remember the downsides
Have you ever sat in the cinema and looked at how many names make it on to the film's credits? It's never-ending!
Granted, not everyone from the credits will be stomping about in your house, but you can certainly expect anywhere from 30 people upwards for a film shoot and a ton of equipment on top of that.
This means that things will probably be broken. While production companies usually make sure to replace or reimburse you for anything that's been broken, there is always a certain amount of wear and tear and damage that you only find later on.
Another downer is having to move out of your house if the film crew moves in for more than a day. If you have a family, this could be a costly annoyance. So make sure it's worth your while before you sign on the dotted line.
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