How to Rent Your Home for Movies

how to rent your home for movies

Today I am going to share with you some thoughts about how I think you can rent your home for movies. We have filmed movies, commercials and tv shows at our home for almost twenty years. I guess you could say that our home is famous. Ever since we moved into our home in 1998, filming has been a big part of our lives. 

First, let me share how we got started filming. Shortly after we bought our home in 1998, someone left a flyer in our mailbox asking if we would be interested in filming a movie called “Thirteen Days” with Kevin Costner. Unfortunately, we were out of town and by the time I saw the flyer, it was too late. But it got me thinking. Could we make additional income filming in our neighboorhood? I had seen movie trucks all of the time in South Pasadena so I thought we might be able to do it.

We have done a lot of remodeling in our home. Once we were done, I talked to some of my friends who had done filming and they suggested I reach out to location scouts and rep companies who basically represent your home to anyone interested in filming. I printed up a flier and mailed out two hundred fliers to a list of location scouts which the Los Angeles Film Commission provided to me.

And I guess you could say, from there it was history.

The History of Filming in Our Home

Things got kind of crazy in the first few years. When a new home becomes available in the filming market, everybody wants to film at the new location. So we filmed a lot in the early years. And it we have filmed every year since.

We have filmed mostly commercials at our home for companies such as: Esurance, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Skittles, Ballpark Franks, Home Depot, Williams-Sonoma, Schwab, Donato Pizza, Gogurt, Osteo BiFlex, Pillsbury, Nestle, Bank of America, Bounty Paper towels, Leap Frog, Clorox, Lands End, Wells Fargo, Sunny Delight, Linens & Things, Visa, Kelloggs, Safeway and many more.

Some of the TV shoes we have have filmed include Mad Men, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, CSI Cyber, Back When We Were Grownups, American Dreams, Judging Amy and the pilot for Disney’s Andi Mack.

Movies filmed here include Torrance (with Ben Affleck), Raising Helen (with Kate Hudson, Joan Cusak and Felicity Huffman), A Mighty Wind (with Eugene Levy and Katherine O’Hara) and Fired Up.

To be honest, I have probably forgotten half of what we have filmed here. But the thing you have to remember is that in the film industry, they do crazy things. They often use more than one home to film a home in a movie. In the movie Father of the Bride (which was not filmed at our home), I have been told they used three different homes. One for the front, one inside and one for the backyard. I have included links in this post to a lot of commercials we have filmed. In some cases, you might not even recognize our home! They build strange things, add fake walls, paint strange colors and add all of their own furniture. Sometimes it makes me wonder why they picked out home in the first place!

Look how ugly our living room looks in this scene from Mad Men (season 5, episode 8). Those curtains!

how to rent your home for movies mad men

Our family room is painted a beautiful gray-green color. Look what color they painted it for the movie “A Mighty Wind”. Electric blue!

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And look at the deck Home Depot added to the back of our home. They had to replace the back doors with shorter doors to accommodate the height of the deck.

how to rent your home for movies commercials

I think these animated blue bunnies running around in our kitchen are pretty cute! Not to mention, the fake doggy-door!

how to rent your home for movies and commercials

We have only moved out of our home a few times while they were filming. We try really hard to stay upstairs or on the third floor if they aren’t using the entire home. As glamorous as it sounds to stay a the Ritz-Carlton, just imagine trying to get your car out of the valet to take your kids to school, four athletic practices and play practice. It is not fun. Not at all.

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Links to Movies, TV Shows, and Commercials Filmed in our Home

The photo above was filmed on a hot October day. In fact, it was eighty-six degrees!

Here is a link from the movie Raising Helen which was filmed all throughout our home. This scene is in our living room and the room behind the french doors (with the curtains) is my craft room!

My favorite commercial they ever filmed at our home was the Paper Airplane Commercial. I laughed so hard when I just watched this because I had forgotten they had used our sectional. The one with the ugly flowered slipcover!

In 2017, Skittles aired a commercial during the Super Bowl that was filmed at our home. You will recognize the outside of our home right away!

Here are some links to more commercials filmed at our home.

Esurance

Blue Bunny Ice-cream 

Home Depot 

Osteo bi flex 

Pillsbury 

Hallmark (different exterior) 

JC Penny 

Bank of America 

 

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So how can you get your home in the movies?

The first question you need to ask yourself is “Do you really want to rent your house out for filming?”. Sure, it’s glamorous. Allowing your house to be used for filming is a chance to meet production crews and famous actors, and get a unique behind-the-scenes view of movie-making magic. Plus it’s very lucrative.

But it’s also very invasive. If you saw my stories when we filmed the Ben Affleck movie last month, then you know how invasive filming can be. A crew comes in your house, covers the floors, removes a lot of your furniture, adds their own furniture, paints your walls, brings in a ton of filming equipment and about one hundred people. All of this happens with your permission but it’s still nerve-wracking. If you are the least bit nervous about one hundred strangers coming into your home, then you probably shouldn’t do it. Until you have filmed a few times, and seen with your own eyes that they can and will return your home back to the way it was before they showed up, it’s hard. But once you know the drill and realize it will be fine, it is actually fun and exciting.

The good news is filming companies do a great job putting your house back together. They take photos of every angle of your home and use those photos to put everything back in place. But things do happen. Items can get broken. Dents and scratches can appear. Over the last twenty years, we have rarely experienced any damage. In the few occasions where something has happened, the filming company has paid for all repairs.

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Reach Out to Your Local Film Commission

Once you are sure you want to rent your home for filming you need to track down your local Film Commission. I did some research and found these resources and lists of all of the Filming Commissions in the United States.

https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/free-film-commission-list-for-film-and-video-productions/

https://theartistsandinventorslegalclinic.com/specific-industries/movie/us-film-commissions/

Contact your local film commission and ask if they have any lists of location scouts or location companies in your area. Location companies and scouts keep a database of homes available for filming. These location companies are contacted by film companies whenever a commercial, movie or tv show needs a location. Our home is listed with multiple location companies and scouts. 

When I first wanted to get into filming I contacted the California Film Commission. They sent me a list of location scouts and location companies in Southern California. I put together a flier (with color photos of our home) and mailed it to about 300 location contacts. This was the start to our filming multiple times a year for over twenty years.

I could go on and on but I promise I won’t. We have really enjoyed the filming we have been able to do at our home. And it’s not that hard to get your home in the movies. Because, it might just work for you and your home.

Keep your eyes open. Someday you just might see my hundred-year-old home on your TV!

28 thoughts on “How to Rent Your Home for Movies

  1. This is so interesting! As soon as you said they filmed Raising Helen, I immediately knew the scene, my favorite from the movie! Thanks for sharing.

  2. You don’t mention what kind of compensation you get? It definitely has to make it worth the wear and tear and the inconveniences it brings.

  3. I would love to know the range of compensation. Can you share a few examples? We also live in an older and very unique special home here in Florida (152 years old!).

  4. Your rude…..calling a deck hideous!!!! Really…do you know how many people have decks like that to save a favorite tree or for space restrictions? I enjoy your blog but no more.

    1. I didn’t mean to be rude and I should have clarified that I didn’t dislike the deck. Rather, I thought it looked ridiculous because the deck was two feet higher than the entire back of our house. Even though they replaced our doors with shorter ones I thought it looked fake. That’s all. And sorry if I offended you.

  5. So interesting! Something a person never even thinks of in the day to day when watching TV! It got me thinking, what if you actually LIKE the changes they make? Can you ask them to just leave it??

    1. It was so funny how they just added it to the back of the house when the doors couldn’t open. So they put fake doors on the house too!

  6. Thanks so much for sharing! Looking back, do you think you could have started filming before your remodels? We are living in and remodeling our entire home one room at a time – but I wonder if our original 1920s kitchen (with cracked tiles) might be of interest to someone before I remodel? Maybe it could help fund the remodel!! 🙌🏼😂

  7. The CA film industry prefers what they call a “studio zone” which means they like to stay, if possible within 30 miles from a studio, but they also shoot all over the country. It is an interesting process to watch. They do a lot of preproduction work, permits, getting neighbor permission, parking plans, changing the seasons with movie magic, Even neighbors who accommodate the crews with cables across their lawns get paid! My neighborhood has many shoots and we always love watching. (I live in a historic district in CA) We have had some damage, (lighting that was too hot and burned a window seat in my 1915 Craftsman) but they are quick to repair and my neighbor even was gifted a new VW bug with custom plates after “Big Mama’s House” was shot at her house. Her home is now known as “Big Mama’s house” to locals. There is a magazine dedicated to film locations in CA :https://issuu.com/lionsdailynews/docs/location_california_2017new_1
    Hint: whenever you see a yellow sign with black bold lettering and an arrow stapled to a telephone pole or lamp post- it means there is a location nearby. The sign will read some cryptic word, which is code for whatever show or movie they are filming. CA is a fun place to live! Leslie-your home is such a joy to see-congratulations on all of your success!

  8. That was a fascinating read and so fun to watch all your links!!! I have to admit, I kind of liked that sectional with the floral slipcover. This isn’t something I’ll ever do, but I loved learning about it. Thanks!

  9. I’m so happy that you shared photos of your home on TV. Your home is beautiful even in 1960s! Lol! I always look forward to your Blog and IG posts. Thank you!

  10. Sounds interesting! Any knowledge of resources in Canada for shooting films? Or would it be a lot of the same as the us uses?

  11. I didn’t find your comment about the deck offensive at all. Wow people get upset over the strangest things! Love your blog

  12. I found it very interesting, my favorite the commercials was Blue Bunny. I would consider listing my home if I was approached. It would be a nice to have extra income since both my husband and I are retired. We’ve lived in our home for 36 years, it sits on a little more than half an acre, with an Nature Preserve leading to the river. Sometimes, especially in the summer the sounds from the woods sounds like something out of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. 🙂

  13. I have been contacted this week about renting my home to production crew/cast for a film being made in our area. They need it for housing since I live in a high tourist area & lodging has been booked for year. I was wondering if you have any advice, or are there any specific request I should make. They will be staying 8 weeks & I will move to a family condo & be out of the country part of the time. Excited & scared😊.

  14. This has to be the most interesting blog post I have read ever! I always thought how neat it is that you do this but didnt want to seem “noisy ” & ask for details. So glad you did share!
    Jennifer

  15. I enjoy your blog and your IG feed and stories! I did notice the JC Penny commercial is no longer working though. 🙁 I’ve been thinking about offering my house for filming, I live in Texas though so not sure how lucrative it would be here. It would definitely help pay off the house so that’s appealing! Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

  16. Love this blog post! We just remodeled a farm house on our flower farm in Temecula. I think the studios might really like the house, barn and flower farm for movies!!!🤗
    Thank you!!!

  17. Fabulous post and house!
    I live 20 minutes from NYC and there are film trucks in town for major movies several times a year ( that l know of ) . One big movie that was filmed in parts of town (Madison) was The Family Stone. The big mistake that they made was that the train running through the “New England Town” had NJ Transet in huge letting on the sign LOL.
    My brother lives outside of Keene, NH. Many of his friends were approached bc they wanted to put up major actors in their homes while filming Jumangee ( spelling)~ of course they would have to move out. The pay that they were offered was a pittance to nothing .. just the bragging rights that Robin Williams stayed there. The hotel situation at that time in Keene, NH was very slim pickings. They all declined the studio’s offer and Robin Williams and cast apparently stayed in the less than luxurious chain hotel.
    I want to redo my kitchen and spend more money than my husband wants to ~ now l’m thinking that my idea might pay off ~ if l could get a few commercials filmed in it !?!
    Now you have many of us thinking!
    Thank you so much

  18. I would love to do this, but I bet in canton S.D. the weather would be to cold! I’d be honored to have my 100 yr d Brick house on tv!

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