Using suburban homes for film shoots

The Daily Herald describes what happens when suburban homes are chosen for film shoots:

Directors of Hollywood movies, TV shows, commercials and national print ads regularly use suburban homes as locations for filming and photo shoots. Just a few weeks ago, scenes from the movie “Precious Mettle,” starring Paul Sorvino and Fiona Dourif, were shot at homes in Naperville and Aurora…They will add the photos to their online database and show them to prospective directors. Because they have thousands of homes in their database, the odds of being chosen are slim. But you never know what a director is looking for, and there’s growing demand for suburban-styled homes, said longtime location scout Oryna Schiffman, based in Elmhurst.

“Since the recession started, I’ve been getting less and less requests for your typical North Shore mansions. They say, ‘I want real people who live in real houses,'” said Schiffman, who accepts photos at “You never know what they’re going to ask for next.”…

However, there is a downside to offering up your home. Filming and photo shoots can disrupt your routine, your sleep, and possibly your neighborhood. Movie crews, especially, tend to completely take over an area with trailers and equipment. Homeowners usually get short notice about the shoots and need to hastily sign off on the legal paperwork.

While most film crews are respectful of people’s property (and often contractually obligated to return it to its original condition), paint sometimes gets chipped and things get broken or banged up. That’s why it’s important to get things in writing before the filming begins.

Of course, the article starts with a story of a family who was paid $12,000 for giving up their home for six days for a print advertisement shoot. There may be quite a few suburbanites who would relish such an opportunity.

The quote that directors are looking for “real homes” is interesting. The suggestion here is that with tighter economic times, people want to see more normal homes while during more economic prosperous times people like seeing bigger homes. When they arrive at a home, how much do they take the home as is or they change it up to suit their filming needs? Plus, how often is the tone of the commercial, TV show, film, or advertisement that the suburban home needs improving or there is something to critique? On one hand, there are a lot of critics of suburban tract homes but they are apparently useful for marketing and some artistic purposes.

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