When signing your house up to a location agency, there is always a major risk. Will other people like your house as much you do? Even if they like your house, will clients actually want to book it? Will your house be better than other houses in the industry? These are the questions that run through the minds of many location owners who hire their properties out for shoots. So when your house gets selected to feature in a brand new, hot-off-the-press television programme, you are naturally going to be rather elated, right?
Many of the location owners that we represent have been lucky enough to experience the thrill of seeing their own home on the big (or small) screen over the years. Most recently, our beautiful property ‘Crystal’ was hired to feature in one of the most popular ITV dramas of the moment, Marcella.
Click to see more photographs of Crystal
We have also had ‘The Water Tower’ featured in the BBC drama Collateral, ‘The Factory’ featured in Lucky Man, ‘Vertigo’ in BBC series Silent Witness and ‘Studio East’ in Channel 4’s Faces of Four, to name a few.
This trend to film large-scale shoots in real houses, rather than on built-up sets specifically manufactured for filming, is one which is becoming more and more popular. Not only is it cheaper to hire a house, it also makes the shoot appear to be more authentic.
Of course, not every location on our books gets selected for larger-scale shoots like these. It takes a certain architectural build, and a certain aesthetic. Filming crews can vary in size, but generally they consist of around forty to fifty people. Consequently, one of the main features that film companies prioritise when scouting for locations is a house with a lot of space, and preferably high ceilings to allow them to manoeuvre their props easily.
They also tend to look for houses with a distinct look; your property could be a manor house in rural Surrey, or a pokey council flat in the Dalston, but if there is something which sets it apart from other properties in the industry, there is more of a chance that it will be chosen for these types of shoots.
There are certain properties that we represent which are particularly popular amongst film company scouts. Our beautiful Blake House in Battersea is a property which has been selected for these types of shoots, primarily because it is so spacious, with an open plan downstairs area and exceptionally high ceilings. There are also tall windows all around the house, ensuring that lots of natural daylight seeps into the rooms, another major appeal for film companies. The aesthetic is fresh and crisp, with a predominantly monochrome palette which is perfect for those looking for something more modern.
Click to see more photographs of Blake House
At the other end of the spectrum, another location which is also popular for film shoots is our Hackney house, Burlotti. This property is much smaller than Blake House and doesn’t accommodate quite the same large-scale crew potential, but it simply oozes character. It celebrates a mix between high-end and shabby chic, between contemporary and antique, whilst maintaining a feeling of seamless unity from room to room. The property is cute and dainty but incredibly unique and this is the fundamental attraction.
Click to see more images of Burlotti
If you think your property has got what it takes to appear on the big or small screen, you need to take these factors into account. And it isn’t just houses that film companies look for. They are also interested in warehouses, studios, or even more general spaces which exhibit a very specific aesthetic and can create a very specific atmosphere in order to keep the ‘story’ alive.