A challenge of all filmmakers is to find locations in which to shoot. Location Scouts are always looking for both commercial and residential properties to film a movie or TV show and they pay fantastic rates! The industry standard for a residential property is usually between $1000 to $5000 per day, as they use the monthly mortgage as a day rate!
If you have a property you know will be vacant for a time, you can work with the owner and a location scout to make a windfall while it sits empty. Plus, imagine the increased value of the property if you get to say something like, "This was Vince's childhood home in the series, Entourage" in your sales pitch? This will return it's value over and over as many times as you move that property. Earning income on a vacant property, or one that can be vacated for a few days, can buy homeowners and agents some extra time to keep the asking price of the home as high as possible. If the property is currently occupied, a hotel stay with meals and parking is often included in the rental contract.
Don't think all locations need to be high end homes with pools and fancy furniture. Filmmakers need basements for kidnapping victims and serial crimes, abandoned buildings, gas stations, storefronts, restaurants, offices and many other types of locations. Sometimes the worse shape a property is in, the better.
Film productions are highly respectful of the locations, are always insured and usually meticulous about how they leave the properties when they are done. Did you know that during a production, still photos are taken of every character mulitple times every day. The makeup artists and stylists do this so there remains continuity over the shooting schedule. The same is done for any location used, photos are taken of every nook and cranny so every time is put back in it's exact place and a production assistant's job is to get it exactly right!
How to Find Location Scouts
There are several ways for owners to register their properties with organizations and local film commissions.
- https://www.peerspace.com is like AirBnb for film locations. https://www.locationshub.com lists 1000s of residential and commercial properties available for shooting and https://giggster.com is a great place to search.
- Contact your local film commission - every US State has one, as do 1000s of towns and cities. The more tax incentives are in your zone for filmmakers, the more productions they attract. Governments love having films in their areas due to the "fame" value, increased jobs and economic boost, so they are always looking for ways to encourage more film production. Ask your local commission who the top location scouts are - they are sure to know.
As someone who works regularly with filmmakers, we always tell them to make the most of their location scouting in their film business plans.
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