By Sarah Eastel
Many articles appear within magazines about how to get your home on tv and indeed some houses seem to be used again and again to the point where some lucky owners now rely on the income as a regular part of their income. So, how do you ensure that property is considered?
The first thing to do is to register with a film location agency. You will need to arrange for some photographs to be taken (these should then ideally be ‘burned’ onto a CD and posted on along with a completed location questionnaire. When taking your images you should pretend that for just a day you are an estate agent and take a really fresh look at your home. Are there areas that look particularly atmospheric? Does the light fall well on a particular area at a specific time? It is also well worth photographing all areas – every rooms plus landings, corridors, bathrooms and bedrooms as well as all the main reception rooms, the kitchen and even the cellars.
You will also need to complete the location questionnaire to send off with the images. It may take a couple of weeks for your property to be registered and then its fingers crossed to you receiving your first enquiry.
It’s worth bearing in mind at this stage that because the majority of production companies are based within London, over 50% of filming and photo shoot productions tend to take place within London, M25 and the Home Counties. Therefore if you are sitting in a property away from these areas then it really does need to have something special about it – whether in it’s architecture or it’s interior design. For the ‘perfect’ location the production companies will travel!
Once you have sent off your application form you will be registered on the agency’s internal database and it also likely that being a member of the LPOC will mean that you will be strongly considered for promotion on the location agency’s website too. The agency will receive enquiries via the three routes
1. Via an enquiry directly from the agency’s website
2. The production company calling the agency with a specific brief for a location
3. Where a production company views a particular location on the website that looks perfect for their project
When interest is show you will be contacted by the agency who will discuss the project with you – dates, hours on site, what the production is for, how many people would need to be on site, what props and dressing they might like to introduce and wherever necessary the agency will request and read the script to in order to alert you to any potential sensitive issues.
Following this the next stage is called a recce visit where key members of the production team come and view your property to see if the rooms, the setting, etc will be right for their particular project. They will normally view at least three to four shortlisted properties at this stage.
If you property is the favourite your agent will come back to you and discuss the project further having gathered from the company more precise detail of how their attendance on site will affect you. You will have a good ideas of rooms/areas they would like to use, other rooms they might need to ‘borrow’ such as a green room (a waiting/rest room) and perhaps make-up/hair/changing areas.
They will outline their proposed time of arrival (generally a 8-10 hour day for a photoshoot) and a 12 hour day for bigger units such as a tv commercial; television drama or feature film – these can often work out even longer as the caterers will need to arrive outside as least two hours before the crew ‘call time’.
The next stage (and this could be following a few further meetings at your property especially for a large shoot) will be the negotiation of the filming agreement itself by the agency which should aim to list everything agreed between yourself and the production company as well as ensuring that the company has sufficient and current Public Liability insurance in place. All this is put in place for your consideration prior to the document being presented to the production team. Additionally it’s worth mentioning at this stage that if you already hold insurance with the LPOC new policies have additional coverage for property owners hosting film companies and photoshoots.
The next stage is the shoot itself – D Day has arrived!
Hopefully they will arrive on time and they will want to enter all the areas as previously agreed – well, that is the idea anyway. To be honest though there will have to be a little flexibility as you will be dealing with a group of creative people and they will have some new ideas themselves when the shoot arrives. You might have thought that your kitchen was going to be sanctuary for the day but then the director might suddenly want the lead actor to be filmed having breakfast. They might even ask to borrow your dog for a certain scene and will almost certainly make requests ranging from asking you to lend them an iron, provide a jumper or show someone in the team where the nearest power point is. Deep breaths, patience, being available to speak with them at all times are really the key here. No one said it was easy work!
Your filming agreement ensures that the protection of your property is of paramount importance and the crews themselves have to also work to safe working practices to ensure they retain cover of their production by their own insurers too.
At the end of the license period you will expect your property to be re-instated to it’s original state and it’s always best to walk the areas with a senior member of the production ensure you are both happy that the property has been left in the same state as when the production team entered.
Hopefully by this stage all will have run well, you will be tired but the experience will have been interesting to say the least.
If you still might be interested in taking this to the next stage we have some links to more information that may be of interest to you:
Sarah Eastel Locations provide film locations to the UK's film, television and photographic industries. The agency represents many of the UK's most iconic locations such as Stonehenge, Kenwood House & Tintagel Castle in addition to the thousands of private properties and estates nationwide.
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