House Guests

Ken Levine recently wrote a post about Eliza Dushku not swimming in his pool.  A location scout from Dollhouse wanted to shoot at his place, but Levine turned them down.

His initial reaction is pretty much the standard for anyone working in the business. If you’ve ever shot on location, you know you don’t want a film crew anywhere near your house.

However long the location manager says they’ll be there, they’ll be there longer.  They promise the crew to be extra-careful, but your priceless collection of ancient,  Mesopotamian pots will be broken.  (This actually happened.)  They swear they won’t disturb your neighbors, but the catering truck will run over somebody’s mailbox.

It is absolutely never worth having a film crew at your house, no matter how much you’re being paid, and everybody knows it.

Except, of course, for the set decorator who rented his house out to our crew last week.

This guy was shocked, shocked!, at how many people were going in and out of his house.  He couldn’t believe we wanted to move his furniture.  He had no idea how noisy we were going to be.

If someone is unfamiliar with the business, I would understand.  It sounds glamorous and fun to have a movie or TV show made at your house.  Of course, it’s not, but this is just one of those life lessons, you know?

But this guy is an set decorator.  He should know better. It’s his job to go into stranger’s houses and screw them up.  How did he not expect the same from us?

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4 Responses

  1. Well, there is a smart way to do it.

    When I worked on commercials in L.A. we would shoot often at three particular houses. And like you say, no matter how careful something always gets broken.

    Well anyway, the location scout was on the set one day, so I asked him, “doesn’t these owners get pissed over how much their house gets trashed?”

    He smiled and said, “the owners bought these houses specifically to be used as locations. It’s a lot faster to pay off the house that way”.

    Apparently, this guy had been doing this “movie location, flipping for years”. Then when he pays off the house, he adds a little sparkle to the sales pitch by saying, “such and such movie star shot here or this or that movie used this house as a location”.

    From what I understand, this guy made a mint.

    I wonder if he survived the subprime crash?

  2. I’m a bit surprised by this as well since I do Set Decoration and I too would never lend out my abode.

    I had a Costume Designer recently offer up her house to production and then have as much shock as in your case when too many people were in the house and moving stuff.

    The only reasoning I can come up with is that the Set Decorator is rarely on set, they are usually working on the next set so they may have forgotten about the logistics of being on a functioning set. I guarantee, you will never see an on-set dresser offer up their home. They know better.

    As for the Costume Designer I think she was told it would be a quick couple set-ups but of course it wasn’t and because she spends most of her time with clothing in the wardrobe room/office I think she also didn’t realize the damage that would/could be caused.

  3. Hey, everyone should know that after watching The Simpsons episode where they pay Homer $50 to shoot some of the Radioactive Man movie in the house.

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