How to turn your home into a star of the movies

Vacating your home for film crews while trying to gear up for Christmas may sound crazy. But, says Clare Garner, there is good money in this madness.

It is the equivalent of a winter Wimbledon. Just as owners of properties in SW19 cash in on the championships, people can magic a bonus by renting out their home to film companies and advertising agencies in the run-up to Christmas.

Getting your house on the books of a locations agency can be a nice little earner whatever the time of year, but for those willing to put up with the inconvenience of lights, cameras and action in December, it will wipe out any seasonal overdraft at a stroke.

There is, of course, a risk that your home won't look quite the same afterwards. Take Caroline Cooper, an interior designer, who let her house in Blackheath, south-east-London, to be used as a set for The Knock a year ago. "The carpet had to be relaid because fake blood was put all over it when Dennis Waterman was killed on our landing," she said. "Only this week a new carpet was fitted and it still does not look right."

But Mrs Cooper is not deterred. Last Friday she was called up by an agency looking for a location for a British Airways advertisement to be filmed this morning. She agreed - and is pounds 400 the richer as a result. "You have to put up with the hassle and inconvenience," she said. "That's what you get paid for ... It's nice to have a little bonus you weren't expecting."

Mrs Cooper's house is called Pagoda and looks very much like one. The Chinese features mean it is in demand about once a month, but there are no set rules about what film companies are looking for. James Lindsay, location manager at Location Works, said: "Requirements are very varied. We're not always looking for properties like Chatsworth ... Sometimes people come to us and say: `We're looking for a grotty little semi to shoot something that would be found in a a grotty little semi'. It would be no use sending them off to Buckingham Palace."

Size is often the main consideration and unique features - such as peculiar shaped windows, outrageous decor and impressive views - help, too. Fees vary according to the scale of the invasion and the length of time the job takes, but owners can earn up to pounds 1,500-a-day for a feature film. From the film company's point of view it works out far cheaper than hiring a studio and building a set, and the effect is more authentic.

Sometimes the location owners can end up with more than they bargained for. Tony Relph, a 35-year-old carpenter, registers his loft apartment in Clerkenwell, London, with an agency called Amazing Space. When an advertising agency came to check out his home for a Dulux commercial, it ended up filming not only the location but its owner.

Tiffany Parish, who owns Amazing Space, negotiated royalty and location hire fees for Mr Relph, who was flown to Spain for four days' filming, as well as acting in his own home. His girlfriend, Sharon, a make-up artist, was signed up to do the hair and make-up - turning what should have been a morning's filming into a triple whammy, totting up more than pounds 4,000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?