As you read this, homes across the globe are landing starring roles — as the setting for an Anthropologie catalog shoot, or as a backdrop for a Starbucks commercial, or as a renovation locale for an HGTV episode. Maybe one lucky homeowner has hit the jackpot; their residence will be the centerpiece of next year’s Oscar-winning movie, an accolade that will result in fame and fortune, especially when it’s time to sell. Here’s how you can land the next location shoot.
Don’t Worry if You Don’t Have a Hollywood Address
Your house doesn’t have to be in the 90210 to be featured in a beloved Christmas classic, or as the main character’s residence in the best television series of all time. Remember the red brick colonial where Macaulay Culkin’s character Kevin set a series of booby traps to foil the bad guys in “Home Alone?” It’s an actual house located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, Ill. Or how about Walter White’s home in “Breaking Bad,” where he stashed cash and tossed a pizza on the roof? Head to Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights neighborhood and drive by 3828 Piermont Dr NE to see the real thing.
Film, video, and print crews are always on the lookout for homes that will be an authentic-looking player in their cast. The first step to help scouts discover your home? Take pictures! Before you snap away, you need to declutter inside. Remove curtains to let the light in, clear furniture to make rooms look larger, and put away pictures, toys, and trinkets to depersonalize your space. Outside, the objective is to boost your curb appeal. Mow the lawn, prune your plantings, and place flowers at entrances. Now you’re ready to point and shoot! Your photographs should show views into adjoining rooms and multiple angles of interesting spaces.
Share Pictures with Area Film Offices
Most cities and states have an office that promotes filming in their municipality. Ask to have your home listed in their location databases, and forward your pictures, too. That way, the film offices can share your home’s interior and exterior with production professionals who are interested in shooting in your community.
Contact Your Local Real Estate Agents
Sometimes, location scouts will rely on real estate agents to recommend film-friendly homes. So it’s a good idea to contact local agents and let them know you would like your home to be considered for future shoots.
Reach Out to Reputable Location Scouts
The best scouts maintain an extensive location library, and often have their own websites where they list their credentials and contact info. Introduce yourself to reputable scouts via email, briefly describe your property, and attach pictures of your home. If the scouts have social media accounts, follow them. They may occasionally post an ISO – for example, in search of a stone fireplace or a wooded backyard. If your home fits the bill, you can message them.
Most Importantly, Be Flexible
A shoot can be a disruptive process. Typically, homeowners can earn the amount of a mortgage payment per day. But are you willing to put up with the hassles? Productions may want to modify your home (but will return it to its original condition). Makeup and stylists will need a place to ready the actors. Caterers lay out spreads to feed a cast throughout the shoot. And large crews will move in, sometimes resulting in you being put up at a nearby hotel. The defining personality trait of a homeowner that lands repeated location shoots at their home? Flexibility!
Want to make some extra income and earn bragging rights at the same time? Market your home for a location shoot. Scouts are looking for authentic houses, so don’t be worried if you live outside of Hollywood. Take flattering pictures of the interior and exterior of your home and then share them with your local film office, real estate agents, and reputable location scouts. If a scout comes knocking, your flexibility will be key. Good luck!