is more than just a dream - as long as
they are prepared to accept scores of other people also trailing through their homes
on a location shoot. Ginetta Vedrickas takes out her clapperboard
Dave Bates did have Naomi round as a house guest but - sadly - he wasn't the attraction: his Chiswick house was. For Bates lives in a Norman Shaw designed home built in 1878.
Since registering his property with Lavish Locations his home has been used as a backdrop for commercials, television dramas and photo shoots. Production companies particularly like his 40ft by 20ft room at the top of the house which is more like a city loft.
Bates is proud of his home but claims to be unimpressed by stars: "I'm in the music business and know people like that anyway."
Mr and Mrs average may be more starstruck but would anyone want to film inside their home? Luke Jackson of Location Works says they would. "We look for anything from a smart kitchen for an Oxo ad to a bog standard one for Bold. It depends what we need. We're looking for a flat with a rubbish chute coming out of it but haven't found one yet."
Margaret at the Location Company echoes the notion that an ordinary property can be as sought-after as a stately home but admits: "We do like large, aspirational properties with clean lines, wooden floors and preferably within the M25, but it's not just yuppie flats, we need boring little semis with privet hedges as well."
She warns that whatever type of home you have, space is vital. Film crews, photographic equipment and possibly caterers need room to manoeuvre. All agencies are loath to accept anywhere that appears cluttered.
But using your house as a location may not win you neighbour of the year award. Jackson cautions: "We tell clients to speak to their neighbours before filming starts. Otherwise people wake up at 7am to a street full of trucks, lights and a generator going and think, 'What the bloody hell's that?'"
Miles Ridley, who lives opposite the Greenwich house where the Mrs Merton gas board ad was filmed recently, was incensed to find lights and a crew outside his window as he tried to eat lunch. "No, I wasn't deeply honoured by the whole experience. In fact I was tempted to go out and have, as Mrs Merton would say, a heated debate."
Because of past problems, the London Borough of Greenwich employs a film locations officer who liaises between anyone wanting to film and residents. Harvey Edgington took up his post after filming of The Krays caused inhabitants of a tiny street in a conservation area immense difficulties with night shooting and severe parking congestion.
"Some people thought it was the best thing ever, others weren't too impressed at finding their front doors painted a different colour when they got home. Film crews now speak directly to me if they want the street lights off or bins collected that day."
In Greenwich, residents approach the borough direct. Officers take photos of your home for a database which film companies can look at. Edgington negotiates fees, including one for the borough, and draws up the contract between the company and the resident.
Most agencies ask people interested in having their homes used for locations to ring before sending in photos. When an agency accepts photos of your home, details go on to a database for production companies to choose from. It's free to register but agencies charge between 10 and 15 per cent commission if your home is used.
Sadly there are no perks for neighbours but for those whose homes are used the financial rewards can be great if you don't mind disruption. Major film companies can pay up to pounds 2,000 a day to film inside your home.
Agencies give guidelines but it's up to you what to accept. For stills photography the fees are less but so is the disruption. Bates finds this a more attractive option: "I was offered pounds 5,000 for a crew to film for five days but it meant 70 people trailing through my house daily. I know what film crews are like and the damage to walls and carpets it would mean so I said 'No way'."
All agencies admit that damage is common. Lights get dropped on carpets and furniture is dented.
Agencies should make sure that the company filming in your home has adequate public liability insurance. If things go horribly wrong they must be able to compensate homeowners fully .
For most people things don't go wrong and nearly all are keen to loan their homes again. If you live in a large "aspirational" loft space in London you could find yourself very popular. But if the only remarkable feature of your home is a rubbish chute you may be luckier than you think.
Location Works 0171-494 0888; The Location Company 0171-637 7766; Lavish Locations 0181-742 2992; Location Wise 0171-603 5454; LB Greenwich Film Locations 0181-312 5662Reuse content