Advice on hiring out property for filming

Many productions film in actual locations rather than studios, as they often look more realistic on screen.

Film companies can require anything ranging from a run down unsecure property or a modest home to a mansion house. They are often seeking a variety of locations.

For a major project, considerable time and effort will be invested in finding the right location, so the first visit by the Production company may be no more than an initial recce of several possible sites. At this stage there is no certainty that they will definitely use your location. Location Managers will often knock on the door of properties that they would like to use and speak to you directly. If you are in any doubt at all over the validity of the project, please contact the Isle of Man Film office for confirmation.

Your point of contact at the Production Company will be the Location Manager.

Questions that you may want to ask the Location Manager when your property is being considered by a Production include:

  • the proposed dates filming
  • the duration of filming
  • what modifications/dressing needs to be made
  • how unit parking will be handled
  • the production company name
  • names of the key contact
  • names of the cast, director
  • the type of film (horror, drama, comedy)

Please be aware that shooting dates are often subject to change at the very last minute and can sometimes be at night; also note that the average shooting day can be up to 14 hours long.

You should establish with the company which parts of the property they would like to use and whether they are going to have to set dress (scaffolding may be attached to external parts of the house if this is the case.)

There are several factors to be taken into account when offering your property as a location. When a production company uses your location, you can expect to be paid a fee. This fee is dependent on the size of the production budget, the type of property you have, how disruptive the filming will be, whether modifications are desired, and how long the production company will need your property. It is usually calculated on a per day basis. If your property is exceptionally unusual, you can expect a higher fee. The production company will deal directly with you to negotiate this fee although we can offer help and guidance.

You will also be asked to sign a contract with the production company. The key points that the contract should contain are:

• Terms
• Fee
• Details of scenes to be shot on property
• Undertaking that property is returned to its original state after completion of filming
• Your consent
• Use of property for re-shoots
• Compensation for loss or damage to the property

Check that they will insure your home for filming. You should also notify your own insurance company.

Filming can be disruptive and it’s best to try and get an accurate idea of just how disruptive before you sign any contracts or agree any fees. Remember that a film crew consists of 50 – 100 people with equipment, vehicles, actors/extras etc. Most of the larger pieces of equipment and catering facilities will be kept at the Unit base which will be situated close to, but away from, your property.

The Location manager will be the main point of contact with the production company and will generally be the crew member with responsibility for policing and safeguarding the property. Check with them exactly which areas will be used and how long they will be required. Identify which areas are ‘off-limits’ and set rules regarding smoking, water, electricity etc. Establish clean up requirements (i.e. who is responsible and when it is to be completed).

The Location Manager will usually inform neighbours and local authorities that the area is to be used for filming.

You should be prepared for the possibility of the location being required both in advance of the expected period, and after.

Upon completion of filming the Location Manager should present you the Location Release Form. You should sign this form only once you are fully satisfied with all and any reinstatements, claims or payments.

Whilst Isle of Man Film are available throughout to give help and guidance, the agreement is between you and the production company; Isle of Man Film does not represent either party or act as agent for any agreement made between the two parties (the production company and the owner of the property).

If you have any further questions, please contact us.