How to Rent Your Home for Movies

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Today I am sharing how our home got involved in filming movies, tv shows, and commercials. I am also sharing how to rent your home for movies.

Filming a Movie at Our Home

It’s a new year and it’s still time to set some goals for the year. There is something that we have done for twenty years that has been fun, entertaining, lucrative, and unusual. I think you might want to learn how to rent your home for the movies.

We have filmed movies, commercials, and tv shows at our home for almost twenty years. We filmed a commercial in September and a movie with Ben Affleck a year ago. Although the filming was less in 2020 due to the virus, please know that the film industry is backed up and slowly starting to film again. When the flood gates open, there will be a huge amount of filming.  This means that now is the time to get your home registered with location companies.

Ever since we moved into our home in 1998, filming has been a big part of our lives. 

How to Rent your Home for the Movies

First, let me share how we got started renting our home for movies. 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 neighborhood? I had seen movie trucks all of the time in South Pasadena so I thought we might be able to do it.

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 that 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

A Typical Filming Day

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 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, the 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 shows we 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 The Way Back (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.

The Way Back

The Way Back movie filmed at our home

In December of 2018, we filmed a Ben Affleck movie at our home called The Way Back. It was released on March 6, 2020. The photo above was filmed upstairs in our home! And it’s on pay per view if you want to see it. The scene filmed in our home actually appears in the first five minutes of the movie.

This scene in the movie is Ben arriving at our home.

Ben Affleck at our Home

This is what our kitchen looked like while they were filming. See those lights they put in? Yikes.

And look closely at how they raised the height of the center stool. 

Filming a movie in the Kitchen

Look who needed to appear taller!

Filming in Our Kitchen

In the movie, there is a Thanksgiving scene that takes place on our back porch.

Thanksgiving Scene

I took this photo when the art department was setting up this scene.

This is a scene upstairs in our Master Bedroom.

Ben Afffleck in Our Bedroom

This is what our bedroom normally looks like.

Master Bedroom

This is what the back of our living room looked like on the first day of filming. I am pretty sure this was the where the Director of Photography hung out. Yikes!

Look whose chair I found! It was sitting right outside of my craft room.

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 movie. In the movie Father of the Bride (which was not filmed at our home even though everyone thinks it was), 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!

Mad Men

Look how funny 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

This is what this room usually looks like! Can you believe the difference?

Entryway

A Mighty Wind

Our family room (which a dining room in this scene) is normally painted a beautiful gray-green color. Look what color they painted it for the movie “A Mighty Wind”. It is Electric blue!

how-to-rent-your-home-for-movies-

I like the room painted this color a lot more.

The Home Depot Commercial

And look at the deck The 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. And the tree is fake!

how-to-rent-your-home-for-movies-commercials

The Home Depot photo looks a lot different from what our house normally looks like.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream

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

how-to-rent-your-home-for-movies-and-commercials

I like the door better without the doggy door. Our dog Sport likes our home better without the blue bunnies.

Esurance Commercial

We filmed this commercial last year for Esurance with Dennis Quaid. Do you recognize our home?

How to Film Movies in Your Home

something-you-want-commercial

They used almost all of our furniture for this commercial. That’s our dining table, chairs, vase and flowers. You can also see my vintage windows hanging on the right wall. 

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 Hyatt or 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.

Click here to see some behind the scenes footage from when we were filming at our home.

how-to-rent-your-home-for-movies

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!

Raising Helen

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 

how-to-rent-your-home-for-movies

How to Rent Your Home for Movies

The first question you need to ask yourself is “Do you really want to rent your home 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.

How-to-Rent-your-Home-for-the-Movies

But it’s also very invasive. If you look closely at these photos, 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 have 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. On the few occasions where something has happened, the filming company has paid for all repairs.

how-to-rent-your-home-for-movies

Reach Out to Your Local Film Commission

Once you are sure you want to rent your home for movies 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/

Sag Indie

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 of 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 if you want to rent your home for movies.

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

Pin the image below to any of your boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

How Much do You Get Paid to Rent Your Home for Movies?

This is the most common question I get asked. It is hard to answer because the payment varies by a lot.

I have heard some people getting paid as low as $500 per day and as high at $10,000 a day.

I think the average is about $4000 per day. We get paid more than that.

These rates are for filming days. Prep days (where they set up your home) and Strike Days (where they put it back together and clean it) typically pay half of the filming rate.

The rate varies on how much filming a  company can do in your home. If they can film multiple scenes (and not need to use another home) then you can likely get a higher rate.

If this sounds interesting to you, I would suggest you find the Filming Commission in your area and at least submit your home to be considered. An an opportunity may present itself and be very exciting.

You always get to decide if you want to do it or not.

How to Rent Your Home for Movies

How-to-Get-Your-Home-in-the-Movies

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17 Comments

  1. This is really interesting! I am thinking of looking into it for our house after reading your post. Do you have to have special insurance for this or do the film companies have all that covered?

  2. Leslie! We have had TV and movie shoots in our home here in Westchester, NY, since 2017. We have a feature film company coming this month to shoot for (2) days, plus (2) set dress days. I am retired and started film acting as a lark in 2013. Suddenly, you find yourself in the mix! Just was wondering about CoVid and anything you may know about precautions during this time. I managed to join SAG-AFTRA in 7/19, and we do have protocols about testing, craft services, etc. Any current info you have would be very much appreciated!

    1. Congratulations Hilary on filming in your home! I am not aware of any specific Covid precautions for filming. We have had some scouts look at the house and they all have had their own Covid protocols for both scouting and filming. California protocols are probably pretty different from NY 😊

  3. Hey Leslie! Great write-up and gorgeous home!
    My partner and I just finished renovating a classic Craftsman bungalow in Pasadena – you know the one…wide porch, double eaves, pop of color door…So many people have said it looks like a “tv house” that we have decided to lean in and go for it! Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s giving us confidence to go for it! Cheers! JD

    1. We have an ugly house on 5 acres don’t care about paint can always repaint. May even have ghost. The whole thing sounds interesting.

  4. Came across your blog post because we have just landed an opportunity to rent our home for a movie! We’re pumped however, we’re a bit lost.
    Do you happen to have a list of “go-to” questions to ask, and things to consider before saying yes to an opportunity like this?
    Thank you!

  5. Hello Leslie,

    Are you able to stay in your home while filming? I assume you would have to be out of the house during shooting hours, but are you able to come back to the house or do you stay elsewhere?

    Thank you.

  6. good afternoon

    just trying to get some info on where to start with this process, I live in Hollywood, FL

  7. Hi Leslie, thank you for the great blog. Is there a compensation difference between using your house for commercials v.s. movies ?

  8. My house is in Long Island 305 Shore Rd Bellmore NY 11701 300ft from the canal. I have rights for the canal. I would like to rent my house for movie shoots etc.

  9. HELLO LESLIE,
    Thank you for the great info! My Story is long, bur bottom line is igave my life to raising kids , others kids so they did not have to go to daycare. I feed the sick… at the time we had money so it was my gift to help others. Fast forward, we have our dream house in Temecula wine country. i’ve always have had an open house for people all around the world for free! I love it! So about 1 1/2 yrs ago my husband was hit with stage 4 prostate cancer that went to the bone. he can no longer work. my idea was vacation rental. but after reading your post here,,, I’m like hmmm I have had about 3 commercials filmed here and 1000’s of videos done here. [the moto cross community] you can youtube KFC Super Bowl commercial with freestyle rider Bryce Hudson. So here’s the deal. I am totally computer illiterate. I never charged the boys making the commercials. I have just been the mom to many and that is all i know how to do. Now i am in need of bringing in money. Yes , I am in a prime area to do vaca rentals but this seems like a better way for me. my question for you is, is it worth it to pay out the percentage to these companies who handle everything? or should I hire someone to run it if I am listing it with many companies? I have no problem with neighbors. I have 5 acres and plenty of parking and rv hook up. Also we built in 2002 when the look was Tuscan/Mediterranean-ish. Do I update it or leave it? I hope I haven’t asked too much? thank you for your time. Kathy

  10. We have a piece of property in Yorktown, VA. It’s tucked away and is all but abandon by my husband. As we get older he stopped caring for the home and the land. It sets right on the York river. It would make for a wonderful horror movie setting. There is plenty of ground on the front for parking and around to the other side that faces the river the land is clear and open. The property is down from a historic civil war mansion used as a hospital during that time. Below that area of land is where General Cornwallis hid in a tunnel managed by the Yorktown historical society. I’d love to see if there are any movie companies interested in a place that secluded and with that much history.

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