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Using your home for movies and TV is not only profitable but also destructive

Real estate broker New Yorker Mary Casey Lee, 60, said she and her husband, Billy Lee, 61, from East Village in 1998. Prospect Park SouthThe Brooklyn district, known for its single-family Victorian homes. At that time, it was considered calm by some of her friends.

“They paid $ 490,000 to Brooklyn’s house, aren’t they stupid?'” Said Sealy.

Their realtors assured them that they would make hay when the TV and movie location scouting arrived. “You’re going to make a lot of money,” Seery recalled her saying.

TV shows such as “Girls” and “Affair” were filmed at this Brooklyn home

Mary Kay Seery’s home has appeared in numerous films and television shows over the last two decades.

Mary Casey Lee and her son Quentin on the porch of a Brooklyn home featured in many movies and television shows.

The Wall Street Journal Taylor Smith



Seery was skeptical until the flyer from the scout began to appear in her mailbox. “I’m confident I’ve made more than $ 500,000 so far,” said Seery, adding that he earned $ 86,000 per person on two shows, HBO’s “Girls” and NBC’s police procedural “Mysteries of Laura.” I did. Showtime “Affair Season 3” I came next. Their home was a replacement for a New Jersey dwelling, and there were some sultry encounters that weren’t always done in the bedroom. “Neighbors will come,” recalls Sealy. Did you see what happened on the countertop in your kitchen? “”

State film commissions increasingly mediate relationships between real estate owners and filmmakers, and location agencies buy your property for a fee, but many, if not most, old-fashioned Do it in the way of. You can’t find them. They will find you.

Rian Akey, 49, who is in charge of risk consulting, and Shaun Kane, 41, who is in charge of marketing, found a flyer for the production company in their home mailslot. Chicago Far North Side June 2019. They met the scouts that month, but couldn’t hear anything during the summer.

Finally, in September, location manager Nick Rafati chose their home as the Smatney funeral hall in the FX crime drama “Fargo Season 4”. The setting was Kansas City in the 1950s, the home of Akey and Mrs. Kane. Built in 1885, Queen Anne, a four-story building, purchased in 2016 for $ 850,000.

“We were pretty surprised that they quickly turned our home into a funeral hall,” Kane said. The designers of the set added wallpaper to most rooms and then dyed the wallpaper with cigarettes to give it a yellow look. According to Kane, they installed a swing door between the dining room and the kitchen.

There was also a casket. “The living room has become a reception and viewing area for funeral halls,” says Kane. “The casket sat on one end with its organs on one side. Folding chairs lined up in the front, flower stands on both sides, and sideboards for coffee and tea service during the viewing. We almost avoided that area of ​​the house. “

The appearance of Akey / Kane home introduced in the FX drama “Fargo Season 4”.


The Wall Street Journal Kevin Selna

Shooting began in October 2019 and was scheduled to take six months. “I was there except for the shooting date,” Kane said. “They started early in the morning and filming took place in the evening or even overnight.”

Production stopped when Covid hit Kane said on March 11 that there were only one or two episodes left to shoot. They didn’t come back until August 29th, and the show didn’t wrap their home production until September 8th. Instead of six months, the show was at their home for 11 days.

Sean Kane outside the house.


The Wall Street Journal Kevin Selna

“We had a casket in the living room for almost a year,” Akey said. It took another month for the location crew to restore the house to its previous state, including the re-installation of the wrought-iron fence surrounding the property and the re-sowing of the lawn. Akey and Kane said they were happy with the price. “We certainly didn’t do that just for the sake of experience,” Kane said. We didn’t discuss the amount because of the non-disclosure agreement.

With the proliferation of social media, NDAs have become the norm, said location manager Rafferty. “Homeowners may hear secret conversations and be familiar with synopses and storylines,” he said. “The last thing the studio wants is an image of the show on social media while the shoot is taking place. They also don’t want their neighbors to know what they paid for the shoot.”

Location fees are related to union labor costs, from stars to set dressers. The size of the work also has an effect. “Which part of the house we are using, the size of the renovation, the length of the shoot, and whether the homeowner must be in the hotel,” Rafati said.

“When we make a deal, make sure that the homeowner understands that we are starting a journey and do not know what will happen in the end. I make all negotiations” I ” We want to be valuable between you. ” The producer hires me to understand what that means, “Rafati said.

The upper left scene taken in the kitchen of Mr. Kane and Mr. Akey, and the state when not serving as a location.


The Wall Street Journal Kevin Selna

Carol Berser remembers a “notebook” shot in South Carolina in 2002. This is a romantic drama by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams based on Nicholas Sparks’ 1996 novel. As Berser recalls, she was with her 4-year-old niece who fell in love with Gosling and was furious at the love scene with McAdams. When their lips met, she shouted, “Yeah!”

Another scene was shot at Sunnyside Plantation, a small guest cottage that acts as the home of the character played by Sam Shepard in the film. Located on Edist Island, a barrier island about 45 miles from Charleston, Sunnyside has been Bethler’s family since at least the early 1800s and consists of several buildings, including the remains of a cotton gin. Berser’s great-grandfather built a three-story 4,000-square-foot main building in 1875.

“My deceased father was filming LL Bean there before I owned the house,” said 68-year-old Berser.

Berser said he was paid $ 2,000 a day for the shoot. “They paid my dog, Labrador Retriever Gambo, $ 500 for the cover of one of the models. He was always a handsome demon,” she said. She was also paid $ 2,500 for a one-day shoot of the TV pilot “Short-term Rental” in May.

The location host is well paid, but the production company can occupy your home in a perplexing way. After agreeing to shoot only a specific part of the house, some production companies may want to shoot in the bedroom after agreeing to use only the kitchen.

“Make sure they agree to pay the extra fee first,” Seery said. “And make sure you have a good relationship with the location manager.”

Location manager Tom Jager said that if a home is featured, the appearance alone requires the homeowner to approve the location release. This usually includes location charges. If the house happens to appear in the shot or is in the background, the production usually doesn’t get a release or make a payment.

Seery’s neighbor, Cheryl McFeely, who has allowed her home to be used as a production site for 20 years, has seen the downsides of filming.

“They usually destroy your floor during filming,” she said, adding that the traffic of people and equipment can be sacrificed.

After shooting the “Notebook”, while shooting with Rachel McAdams, Sam Shepard, and Ryan Gosling, the front porch of the guest cottage at Sunnyside Plantation was on the left.


The Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Boyd; Melissa Mosley / Newline Productions

Makfi Lee, 64, who bought his home in Prospect Park South for $ 335,000 in 1994, started by hosting a commercial. That led to the filming of the 1998 movie A Price Above Rubies by Renée Zellweger and Juliana Margulis. She said Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps’s “Half Nelson” were also shot at her house. During the 2006 filming of Edward Burns’ The Groomsman, nearby homes also played a role in paying homeowners.

Makfi Lee’s last shoot was in 2015’s Great Gilly Hopkins, where Kathy Bates played an eccentric hoarding to hire a teenage daughter. Makfi Lee’s house was used for several months as the Bates character’s house. The shooting deducted $ 85,000 from McFeely.

“Money is great,” she said. “But after we changed the floor, we decided to stop shooting. We didn’t want to damage the new floor.”

Seery states that there were other damages to his home, but in almost all cases follow-up repairs resolved the problem.

She also softened the idea that filmmakers would defeat the road to your door just because your home was beautiful. “It doesn’t matter how familiar you are or how great your property is. It must be a place that can be part of the story. If it doesn’t work at the show, it won’t work as a place. . ”

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Using your home for movies and TV is not only profitable but also destructive

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