Putting Your Property In The Frame

Here is a warning - before long this blog morphs into a shameless plug for a new publication, with a topical link to the The King's Speech glorious Oscar successes. Until that point, here is at least the veneer of something less self-serving.

Some years ago Savills and Strutt & Parker had 'location experts', trained surveyors and estate agents working in the usual way for 95% of their time, but occasionally helping a home owner whose property was to be used in a film. Typically the help was negotiating a fee and ensuring production crews did not take liberties with the fabric of the property.

In those days, the houses used were large period ones and requests from production companies were rare because camera equipment was clunky, TV plays were often costume dramas, and only fiction programmes were ever shot on location.

Now things are very different. Cameras are tiny so can be used in small rooms in ordinary homes. Period dramas are not the only show in town - despite the success of The King's Speech - so grittier dramas are more likely to use council flats and suburban semis than country piles. Factual TV programmes now also use locations, and hundreds of newspapers and magazines use residential property for photo-shoots.

It's hardly an everyday event but these days thousands of homes each year are used by production companies with home owners earning anything from £250 to £5,000 a day for obliging.

Yet bizarrely those estate agency 'location experts' have gone. The individuals have retired and have not been replaced - selling properties at today's prices, I guess, can be so lucrative that negotiating with a production team on an owner's behalf is simply not cost-efficient.

It would never be a big earner, but it's a missed opportunity for estate agents. However, for any home owner considering using their property in this way, or any estate agency or developer wanting to diversify into this field, there is now the first ever guide to the subject.

'Putting Your Picture In The Frame' explains what homes may be selected and sets out pros and cons of using location agents to bring properties to the attention of photographers, TV and film production teams. It explains the fees you could earn, talks you through how to negotiate with production companies, and explains exactly what happens when the cameras, the catering trucks, the Best Boys and the Key Grips arrive.

There's a forward by the locations manager of The King's Speech (and sumptuous illustrations of the sets used in the film) and the entire publication draws on the experience of Sarah Eastel, Britain's leading locations agent. I have written it with Sarah, and it has been turned into a downloadable PDF, available just in time for the Oscars. Details of how to buy it are here or you can click on the link at the top right of this home page.

There, I told you this blog would become a plug. And I warned you it would be shameless, too.

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