How to make your home a star

Rates and Fees verified correct on December 10th, 2016

So you want to rent your house for a film and television location? It's a lot of effort but the reward is great. Here's how to do it

film your house

You don’t have to rent out your home to turn your property into a money maker. Homeowners around Australia are earning thousands of dollars by putting their homes up for use by the film, television and photography industries.

But how do you go about getting your home in the movies? There are a few things you need to consider, but it comes down to the concept of the film. If it's written that the home is classy, they're going to want a classy home. If the film requires something grungy, then that's the type of home they're going to want. Film and televisions projects are diverse, so is their choice of locations - any dwelling is a possible location to shoot.

What the professionals look for in the film location

Television shows, commercials and films all use location scouts to find just the right places for their film. Location scout Chris Mayer runs Australian Film Locations and has around 600 properties listed with his service for when the TV and film crews come calling.

Mayer explains that,

  • 'Generally we're looking for all types of homes, mainly family homes and homes with character or unique architectural elements.'

Daniella Watson, Location Manager for location scouts Scene It, says that location scouts

  • 'Look for all kinds of houses, apartments and warehouses buildings, garages and gardens etc. as each brief is different.'

'The houses play a part in showing the demographic and character traits (of the shoot), so we never look for the same thing,'

How do I know if my home is the right fit?

Homes which are typically Australian, federation style or renovated bungalows are popular for a number of shoots and properties with a retro theme or character as a period home are also in demand. Inside the property there will need to be big windows and a lot of natural light surrounded by large rooms which can accommodate crews, actors and equipment, while still leaving room for the desired shot.

Watson says, 'We do look for larger places as it allows us to bring in things like filming equipment and still be able to get back far enough to film the required frames.'

'We also favour places in "film friendly" councils and places with ample parking as it makes things much easier logistically and more affordable,' she continues. 'Depending on the project we might stay away from a place directly under the flight path or next to a highway because of sound.'

Parking in and around the property is also an important consideration. Television and film crews start work early, usually before 8am and if the street is full with people yet to leave for work, transporting all the equipment to a place where there is no parking makes little sense. For instance, a television commercial shoot requires parking for approx. eight trucks and ten or twenty vans and utes. While the crew will liaise with the local council to obtain permits and road closures if necessary, the space has to be there to begin with.

Key Consideration Points

  • Big windows and natural light
  • Large rooms to accomadate film crew
  • Large property or block
  • Plenty of parking

How to register your home for filming

Daniella Watson runs us through what someone needs to do to register their home with Scene It Locations.

Step 1 - Register your interest

Interested parties can register their home and their interest through the Scene It website (or one of the other location scout websites listed below).

Watson says, 'If they have existing photos it's always good to send these in with the expression of interest as we will immediately have the property in mind if a suitable job comes up. For instance, if I receive images of a home with a nice pool and then I receive a job asking for a nice pool - they are straight in the mix.'

Step 2 - Inspecting the property

If the property shows potential, the location scout will come and inspect the property and add images to the location database.

'After I have received the expression of interest, I then make time to come out and photograph the property for the database. I would also make an appointment like this for people without images,' Watson says.

Once the images have been added to the database, the dwelling is kept on file for suitable future projects.

Step 3 - The contract

If a dwelling has been selected as a shoot location, a location agreement must be drawn up and signed. This contract protects the interests of both the property owner and the production company. The contract will state that the production company has access to your property, the company owns any footage shot at your home and the contract will detail payment amounts and methods, including the responsibility of the production company to repair any damage done by their team. The production company will also be responsible for any public liability insurance.

Watson says, 'This is usually a generic agreement that covers the homeowner with insurances, and outlines the payment, hours of the shoot and other considerations for the owner of the property. It also covers the production company,' she continues. 'It gives them ownership over the footage recorded and the right to bring crew, propers and equipment onto the property. A copy of the production companies public liability insurance is also sent to the owner for their records.'

Professional Tip

Watson says, 'This is usually a generic agreement that covers the homeowner with insurances, and outlines the payment, hours of the shoot and other considerations for the owner of the property. It also covers the production company,' she continues. 'It gives them ownership over the footage recorded and the right to bring crew, propers and equipment onto the property. A copy of the production companies public liability insurance is also sent to the owner for their records.'

Remember

  • The poduction company has access to your property
  • The company owns any footage shot at your home
  • The the contract will detail payment amounts and methods
  • The production company are responsible for any public liability insurance.

Step 4 - The job

If you're home is selected as a shoot location, you can expect a full day's use of your home while the production company is filming. Watson says, 'A standard day for filming is 10 hours of shooting. This usually means that the duration of a day is 11-12 hours in and out.'

During this time, location managers are generally present to liaise with the property owner and allay any fears of property damage on larger shoots.

Watson says that mats and drop sheets are used to protect the locations and the crews she has worked with are very trustworthy and professional.

'We do this everyday and rely on the ability to do so. The aim is to leave property owners with a good experience so that we can come back again the next time,' she says.

Step 5 - Getting paid

Watson's projected earnings from fliming in your property:

Type of shootWhat you'll get paid per day
Photoshoot$800 - $1,500
TV Commercial$1,500 - $2,500
Film & TV Series$1,000 - $2,000

Step 6 - Prep Days and Strike Days

There will be days when the film crew needs access to your home, but won't actually be filming. Prep days are generally considered to be the days right before filming starts and you'll still be paid for these, although it will be at a lower rate than the filming rate in your contract. Strike days are generally the days immediately following filming, in which the crew work to put the house back into its original condition. In most cases, these days only occur during larger productions where lots of work needs to be carried out in the home to get it looking the way they want it.

Remember these homes?

When the home makes the movie

Australia: Strickland House

Strickland house

Blade Runner: Ennis House

This concrete and granite acted as Deckard's home in the 1982 classic film, Blade Runner.

Blade Runner Ennis House

Mission Impossible 2: Sean Ambrose's Sydney Harbour House

Truth be told, this isn't actually a real home, but rather, it's made of polystyrene. It's hard to believe that is was floated across the harbour and assembled on location complete with private jetty and manicured lawns.
Mission Impossible 2 house

American Psycho: Patrick Bateman's apartment

Much like the character of Patrick Bateman, the apartment is cool, stylish and has a clean aesthetic. The views of the city from the Bateman's apartment are to die for.

Patrick bateman's apartment

Home Alone 1

The house where Macaulay Culkin's character makes a stand against the would-be robbers is as much a character of the movie as the actors.

home-alone-house

Marc Terrano

A passionate publisher who loves to tell a story. Learning and teaching personal finance is his main lot at finder.com.au. Talk to him to find out more about home loans.

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8 Responses to How to make your home a star

  1. Default Gravatar
    Elaine | February 16, 2016

    Hi I live in Camden, NSW, just wondering what I have to do to list my property? I live on acreage in a large home.

    • Staff
      Marc | February 17, 2016

      Hi Elaine,
      there’s a list of sites at the bottom of this page for each state, I would recommend contacting them and seeing what requirements they have.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  2. Default Gravatar
    nadine | February 27, 2015

    we live on the great ocean road at moonlight head our house looks out to sea and along the coast with the gable cliff only 1km away. it is a 5 bedroom mount Gambier stone home. I think it would make a great film or TV location

    • Staff
      Shirley | February 27, 2015

      Hi Nadine,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you’d like to express your interest, please see our section above ‘how to register your home for filming’.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  3. Default Gravatar
    karyne | February 19, 2014

    Hello I have a house 5000 square feet in canada.on a farm and i was wondering if it s only australia that post house for fim renting or it s all over the world ?

    • Staff
      Marc | February 19, 2014

      Hi Karyne,
      thanks for the question.

      Unfortunately we don’t actually work to help property owners use their property for filming. This article is meant only as a guide. I suggest searching for Canadian film location companies on the internet and then pitching your property to them.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  4. Default Gravatar
    Dee | January 6, 2014

    Please use my home for filming.

  5. Default Gravatar
    Clara | November 26, 2013

    I live in the Niagara Region and back onto a vineyard. Maybe a perfect setting for a commercial or movie film….

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