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A Guide to Renting Out Your Space As A Filming Location

Some productions may have unique needs. They should communicate them to you before renting your space. If you don’t feel like you can meet their needs, it’s easier for everyone to be clear about that upfront and refuse the booking.

How Do You Get Started Renting Your Space as a Filming Location?

If you know people who work in video or film production, your first step is as easy as telling them that your space is open for business. Even if you’re only looking to rent sporadically, making those contacts can help you fill out rental dates whenever they’re available.

Not everyone lives on the same block with someone who works in video production. In those cases, you can use a variety of online platforms to advertise your space:

When marketing your space, your photographs should be accurate and current. Production crews hate surprises, and although a good producer can roll with the punches, minimizing the unexpected will help your renters stay on time and within budget. (Which, in turn, will help you get excellent word-of-mouth reviews.)

Your city or state may also have a film commission that keeps a list of places available for rent as film locations. You can reach out to them to better understand how to get your space listed.

What Should You Do to Prepare Your Space?

As part of your booking process, there should be a written agreement between you and the film production that states the following:

  • How many days the shoot will be
  • How many hours they will shoot each day, and what time the crew will arrive
  • How many people will be on set
  • What areas of the space are off-limits
  • What activities are forbidden onsite
  • Whether there are extra fees for things like parking or cleaning
  • Whether there are insurance requirements and what they are

Gigster offers a location agreement template on their website that is helpful to read through and use to design your own agreement.

On top of all of this, you may also need to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Some productions may be for internal use and include proprietary information that isn’t fit for public consumption.

Once the agreement is written, vetted, and signed, the most significant part of the prep process is proactive communication in two directions: the production crew and anyone using the location who isn’t part of the production crew.

A typical example of that latter group would be employees at an office building where filming occurs. The employees should be aware of the times, dates, and location of filming and whether the production will impact the employees’ daily routine. They should also know what areas they should avoid and whether they need to work more quietly than usual.

Even if production tries to limit its footprint within the space, there will be disruptions to the people who usually work there. Setting these expectations beforehand should limit frustration, though.

Finally, there could also be legal requirements for using your space as a filming location. For example, you may need to be zoned for it, or you may need insurance to make sure you’re not held liable. You can reach out to your local zoning commission and insurance agent to check in about those requirements.

How Do You Ensure that Filming Goes Smoothly?

Once filming starts, your primary role is to fulfill your end of the agreement and be willing to work with the production should the unexpected occur. And it should be clear that the unexpected will happen because otherwise “unexpected” wouldn’t be a word.

A professional video production crew should be able to adjust and adapt. Having a knowledgeable partner associated with the rental location makes adaptation easier for everyone.

That partner doesn’t necessarily need to be you, but there should be someone who knows the property and is willing to offer creative solutions. That person should also be ready to step in when other people at that location who aren’t a part of production begin to affect the crew’s ability to shoot.

Should the reverse occur and the filming crew begins to go outside the agreement, the person representing you on-site should feel comfortable saying “no.” This video shoot is a partnership, as limited in time and space that partnership may be, and working together will always help keep things moving and prevent nerves from becoming frayed.

Where Can You Find Out More About Renting Spaces for Film Locations?

There is generally a low barrier to entry for turning a space into a rental for video productions. However, that low barrier and the promise of passive income shouldn’t hide that it does take some work to become a place film crews will appreciate.

To learn more about video filming locations from the POV of both the production and the person renting out the space, check out this episode of The Video Reformation podcast.