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I got a very interesting inquiry today. It is from a film student wanting to use my house for a film shoot. It’s a 20+ person crew for an all day shoot (he requested the night before and night of the shoot). He wants to tour the room in advance to see if it meets his needs (I don’t ever allow this) and wants to work out a special price, so at least he’s not trying to cheat me by only paying my nightly rate. There’s a lot of filming in my neighborhood, so I’ve thought about finding a website to list my home for film shoots, but don’t know how to handle this request through Airbnb.
My listing is for a private room in my house with shared bathroom, and their film is a “day in the life” film, so I assume they will be wanting to film in the common areas as well. I can’t imagine 20+ people coming and going in my house and it sounds like potential for a lot of damage (or at least the extra cleaning required), as well as the invasion into my space (I live here, will they want me gone for the day?), and I don’t have parking for 20 people. Obviously I would require them to have city film permits and commercial liability insurance, and pay a lot of money, but I don’t know what the going rate would be for something like this or if I should even consider it (not to mention, student films aren’t going to have the type of money that a studio would). If it all works out well, it could be a lot of money, but if there are issues, it could be a costly mistake. There seems to be too many variables and extra paperwork for this to work out on Airbnb, but I’m not going to risk my standing with Airbnb by communicating off platform. I think if it were a much smaller crew I’d be more open to the idea, but just curious what others think.
I know some of you have rented to film crews before; how did you manage all the logistics of extra paperwork, insurance, permits, etc? How did you determine the price?
I have had porn filmed at my cabin 3 times now, they have very respectful and always leave my place in perfect shape. I book them direct at 4X my rate, block the day before and let them have it until check out the day after.
We had a student from one of the local universities shoot her thesis film here last winter. She booked several days for each week during the slow season and left a review for each stay so it was a great deal for us.
She had a kickstarter (or something like that) campaign for the funding of the film and a certain budget for location already so I just made a special offer for her budget - it was equal to a our max occupancy booking or just a little less so about right. The deal we had with her is that no one was sleeping over and we didn’t have to clean prior to their shooting and they cleaned when they left. It’s clearly not a commercial enterprise so we didn’t require anything extra from her as far as insurance. I’ve lived and worked in L.A. and otherwise in the film/tv industry so I get where you’re coming from but a student-film is different.
They left the apartment and the common spaces better than they found them and were some of the most respectful guests that we’ve had. I did make sure that there weren’t any big fight scenes or anything that might cause dameage. I got invited to the showing and it was a great little film and a lot of fun to have some ‘youngsters’ in the house doing something creative.
I’ve had relatives rent out their homes for film shoots and I was technical support on a film shoot done at a home for a commercial.
In all cases these were professional productions, but the production company took care of all permits and paperwork themselves and left the property in better shape than when they started.
Helsi, you have some really good advice, thank you!! My biggest concern is the large crew in such a small space, especially when it’s only 2 actors–they assured me it was simple, but it sounds more than that with the 20+ crew. I’ll send a message and ask more about what their plans are for the things you suggested.
It’s true, we don’t really know much about this student or their production or even where in the world we are talking about. Student films can be a very different beast, depending on locality. I know that the student who filmed at our place was given no budget from her school and had to raise all of the money herself; however, the school did insure them so that was covered. Permits are not necessary in my locality for student or non-profit films so that was not an issue either. It does, however, vary quite a lot from city to city.
Student films often have big crews because they are all working on each other films - it’s probably the whole class You can set limitations though, it’s your place. Tell them they can’t park at your place, that they can only have the crucial crew, etc.
From experience, after having to take a film module (much against my wishes) during my BSc, the equipment and facilities are provided for filming plus pre/post production. That’s it.
You want a soundman/lighting guy/electrician/actors etc? Find other students and work out a quid pro quo, find willing friends or family etc.
If you need to pay for anything or anyone, find the money yourself.
This was where I learned a very valuable lesson in respect of Intellectual Property. The university had the right to use all submitted work, if it so wished, for whatever reason it wished; both internally or externally.
I did this early on when I first started hosting. It was a group of graduate students from a nearby university making a short film for their thesis project. I did not ask enough questions being a new host. They did request being allowed to checkin around 9:00 am so they could get setup, also requested a place for the actors to change. Two of the actors did have screen credits, I researched the students and actors to make sure it was legit. They arrived with a crew of about 20. They were filming in the great room/kitchen and some of the outdoor areas and moved almost all of the furniture either out of the house or up against the walls. They setup track lighting and rolling camera tracks (taped to the floors). The used pots and pans to simulate cooking. Used plates and glasses to set up a dinner scene. You get the idea. It was a very invasive, time consuming experience and lasted until almost 1:00 am. I was either in my bedroom or outside the entire time, and whenever the pugs barked (which was often with all the activity), they had to reshoot the scene. I don’t regret doing it but in hindsight, I would ask a lot more questions and would charge way more money and set boundaries. Which probably would have made it impossible for them to use my home. I did get ending credits for location and a copy of the film. Probably would not do it again, it was a good learning experience.
Absolutely this. My son was a film student. I let him, and some of his fellow students, film in my house for free. Dammit, he even made me play the ‘mum’ role in one of the films.
I can honestly say that several things in the house have never recovered. The black-out stuff they put on the windows has left permanent marks. There are indelible scuffs on the floor where they dragged equipment. They re-arranged so much shit, It took me two days to get the place back to normal.