Turning your period property into a film location

The chances are that if people appear to be a little envious of your home or go out of their way to compliment your style/room sizes/how light the rooms are then you might like to consider registering your pride and joy with a film location agency.

Many owners enjoy the occasional disruption whilst others pursue a repeated experience by ensuring they have secured their details with several agencies. Either way, there are a number of reasons why opening your doors to a film or photographic crew might work for you.

Aside from the financial gain (hire fees range from around £750 per day to several thousand pounds for a high profile feature film or television commercial) there can be other advantages. Making your property pay for itself is sensible and it can be very satisfying to see the house pay back some of its repairing and upkeep costs. You’ll generally be hosting quite an interesting bunch of people and to top it all you will be able to see your own home appear on a page, television set or big screen at the cinema.  

Some owners are also seeing location work as an advantage when they come to sell their homes. It can bring a terrific piece of additional marketing for the estate agent when they can say in the details that Roseberry House appeared on screen in…

The most effective way to seek a piece of film location action is to register with a film location agency. They will invariably also provide properties for photoshoots, corporate filming, press calls and events too. You will need to get together a comprehensive set of images of your home – showing all rooms – downstairs, upstairs and beyond. You may also have cellars, outhouses, extensive grounds, an ice house, ha-ha, etc and all of these areas should be pictured too. The images will need to be posted along with a completed location questionnaire. You’ll then be told if your property is suitable and should be registered as a potential location within a few weeks.

From there, the agency will set to work putting you forward for location briefs. Additionally, as your property will be viewable online you may well receive an enquiry as a direct result of your property’s promotional page being viewed. The addresses of the properties are never published online and within the images, house numbers and car registration details should also be disguised by the agency.

Once interest is received, the agent should vet the company, find out more about the proposed project and how it will affect you and then meetings are arranged. If the production company wish to confirm use of your home the agency should then ensure the owner is supplied with sufficient information about the shoot prior to their arrival with you. The production company will be asked to provide their current Public Liability insurance in force and a filming agreement will be drafted between yourself and the production company.  

Facility fee payments should be prompt and a there should be a walk through of the property both prior to the filming starting and at the end with the production company representative to check that they haven’t caused any damage. The potential of damage is off-putting and it is a rarity but with sufficient prior planning the occurrences can be greatly minimised.

If you think you might want to look into providing your home as a potential location then here are some pointers:-

* Are you located within London/M25/Home Counties? This is an immediate plus point as 80% of the filming takes place here

* If you’re beyond the above areas then is your home either reasonably substantial in size or has something either very unusual? Perhaps the style is quirky or ultra contemporary or is a fantastic example of a certain period of architecture

* (Georgian properties are always very popular)

* If the above is looking good for you other plus points include access to good parking as close as possible to the property

* Getting on with all your neighbours will also be helpful especially if the crew are likely to be noticeable and spend time making telephone calls outside your house. The majority of shoots will invariably have no more than around 5-12 people on site but when you’re involved with a major production then these numbers can easily reach 50-80 people

* Get interested in the creative process. The crew are invariably an interesting bunch and the event can be very exciting. They will need a little hand holding however, and will need to be given firm parameters on where and when they can use the areas of the house

If you would like to read more detail about hosting a shoot, you can find further information here.

More information about the facility fees paid

Sarah Eastel owns Sarah Eastel Locations and has been providing properties to the film and television industry for 15 years. Clients include English Heritage, The Landmark Trust and Living Architecture. They also represent over 1500 privately-owned properties and estates across the UK.


Sarah Eastel Locations is a member of ProjectBook which has been created to help owners of listed or period properties understand how their buildings work and to help them find appropriate craftsmen, products and specialist information. The online Heritage Register contains over 540 registered businesses, the largest directory of its type in the UK. For more information, visit www.projectbook.co.uk and follow projectbook on Twitter.