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!
Our family room is painted a beautiful gray-green color. Look what color they painted it for the movie “A Mighty Wind”. Electric blue!
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.
I think these animated blue bunnies running around in our kitchen are pretty cute! Not to mention, the fake doggy-door!
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.
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.
Osteo bi flex
Hallmark (different exterior)
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.
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.
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!