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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Look who needed to appear taller!
In the movie, there is a Thanksgiving scene that takes place on our back porch.
I took this photo when the art department was setting up this scene.
This is a scene upstairs in our Master Bedroom.
This is what our bedroom normally looks like.
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!
Look how funny our living room looks in this scene from Mad Men (season 5, episode 8). Those curtains …
This is what this room usually looks like! Can you believe the difference?
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!
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!
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!
I like the door better without the doggy door. Our dog Sport likes our home better without the blue bunnies.
We filmed this commercial last year for Esurance with Dennis Quaid. Do you recognize our home?
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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