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130 7th Street, Suite 202
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 map it

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Tel: 412.261.2744
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So You Want to be in Pictures?

So You Want to Be in Pictures - Guidelines for Location Filming

Your home or property has caught the eye of the Location Scout or Location Manager. What do you do?


Make sure the company is legitimate.

Call your city or state's film office with your questions regarding the Film Company. Find out if they heard of the company, location scout or location manager? Use the Internet to find any information on the company.  YOU should never pay any fee to the film company, location scout or location manager for them to use your property!

Ask for references.

Don't be afraid to ask for the following: the producer or director's list of credits; a contact with the parent company; and proof of insurance.

Request references of property owners who have had experiences with the company. Be sure to ask the following questions: Did the Film Company honor their agreements? Did they damage the property? Did they promptly make repairs to the property?

Before you decide to grant permission to film, consider the impact filming will have on your neighbors, tenants or customers. Remember to take safety into consideration when making your decision.

Once you've found out the company is legitimate, what next?
The Location Scout or Location Manager, hired by the Film Company, will be your contact. Get their phone or pager numbers so you can reach them if you have any questions after the initial contact.

Walk the Location Manager or Location Scout through your property.  Find out how long the shoot will last, including preparation and wrap time.  You need to know where they plan to film on your property. Are they filming interiors, exteriors or both?

Find out how your location is going to be used. Make sure that you are comfortable with the subject matter of the project and your property's role in the overall picture.

Determine what areas are off-limits for filming. Know what areas on your property that filmmakers are not allowed to shoot.

Other important things to find out:
 How many people will be allowed "on set"?
 Where will the cast and crew eat their meals?
 How will you, as the property owner, be accommodated during filming?
 Will your living expenses be paid for?
 What is your policy regarding smoking, use of water, restrooms, and telephones?

Determine what personal property will be used during filming.  Know where items not used will be stored, and who will be responsible for packing and moving the items. Make the clean up requirements known. Find out who will clean-up your property and when they plan to do it.

Determine the parking arrangements for cast and crew. Make sure the film company knows where they can or can not park. Remember to consider the parking needs of your neighbors. Feature film crews can bring a lot of traffic to your neighborhood.

The Million Dollar Question, "How much do I charge?"
Location fees are negotiable. The owner should feel comfortable with the amount agreed upon. Small business owners should be compensated for lost business along with a location fee while the premises is closed for filming.

Property owners should consider the production budget, length of stay, and the use of interiors or exteriors when figuring location fees. Fees for brief, low-budget shoots should be less than longer, big-budget productions.

You can leave room to negotiate, but location managers will offer you a fair price; excessive haggling over fees may cost you the use of your property for filming.

Full or partial payment should be made prior to any filming. You may request and negotiate a security/damage deposit.

The Legal Issues.
Get the specifics in writing. Your concerns and demands regarding the use of your property should be put in writing and signed by a principle or agent of the film company. Be sure to include your location fees, clean-up requirements, and any other arrangements agreed upon with the film company.

You may want to include the following statement:

The applicant (film company) agrees to indemnify the owner and to be solely and absolutely liable upon any and all claims, suits and judgements against the owner and or the applicant for personal injuries and property damages arising out of or occurring during the activities of the applicant, its employees or otherwise. The agreement may be revoked at any time.

The owner must get a copy of the company's insurance policy covering third party rental, property damage and liability. Production companies should carry this policy, and you should receive a photocopy of the policy before any crew comes on the property.