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Fame is Where the Home is: How to Get Your Place in a Movie

(Photo: Curbed)

Brooklyn is quite the celebrity ‘hood: Season 2 of HBO’s Girls took over Fort Greene, Golden Boy is shooting in Williamsburg, and Mila Kunis and Robin Williams were spied in Cobble Hill filming The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. Many people know what it takes to be a star but what about landing your digs a role on TV or in a film? Here’s the low-down on how to make your pad famous and cash in on it.

Many location scouts will choose your space because it’s convenient, well-furnished and clean. They will need many photos of a given apartment depending on the scene, so take photos of your space from various angles. They sort through thousands of photos with a particular type of kitchen or bedroom in mind and those that make the cut are given to the director. Usually, the more unique your space, the better the opportunity to make your place a star.

While there are many location service companies available online for listing your space, only The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting has contacts at three reputable NYC real estate offices and explains the steps for promoting your space. Many people in the industry consider the Zagat of the entertainment world, and a section of its site is dedicated to location services and scouts. Although mainly for production companies, property owners may use the information for contacting various location services directly.

Several location service companies such as Reel-Scout and claim to get your place seen for a fee. Others, such as AKA Locations and, allow you to submit a photo and description of your space for free; however, they will only contact you if your listing is approved. Location services that do not charge require a percentage of the earnings received —often negotiable— for using a property found on their site. David Navarre, who studied film at the University of Miami and has worked for a production company in Los Angeles, advises against using Craigslist, which attracts many lower budget films and instead “find location scouts on IMDB Pro and reach out to them.”

Once your place has been cast, payment depends on the budget, project needs and duration of shoot. Chad Rohan, a former production assistant and producer, estimates that the rate could be “$100 a day for a low-budget student film or as high as $10,000 for more high-end flicks.” He adds, “Production companies should reimburse relocation costs, meals and transportation.” Make sure you get everything in writing and that the production company has production insurance. “You must be very careful,” Chad cautions, “I’ve seen people have their apartments destroyed and they signed an agreement without really reading the fine print or having someone who understands legal jargon read over the document.” Keep in mind that there will be more than just a camera operator in your space, but also additional members of the film crew, equipment and any necessary props coming and going. Actors can be involved and some of your belongings may be rearranged or temporarily stored. Make sure your property is listed as additionally insured on the insurance certificate and keep a copy for any claims you may need to file. And remember, before you even sign anything, verify the company’s credentials by calling the Mayor's Office at 212-489-6710.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have the most glamorous home on the block. That’s a wrap!

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October 25, 2014

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