Money latest: My employer rejected my request for flexible work after maternity leave – what are my rights? | UK News


By Brad Young, Money team

Earning up to £60,000 a year for letting Stormzy film a music video in your kitchen or Paloma Faith play with Lego in the living room might sound farfetched to homeowners unfamiliar with the shoot locations industry. 

But every star, studio or big brand that wants to film in a residential property needs someone willing to offer up their home for the day – and they’ll pay between £700 and £3,000 for the privilege.

Homeowners and shooting agencies have spoken with the Money team about the promises and pitfalls of working with the likes of Disney, Netflix and ITV to take advantage of this niche income stream. 

Among them was Ed Reeve, a photographer from Hackney, who has had stars such as David Attenborough, Stormzy and Jim Broadbent walk through his doors in the 17 years he’s been renting out his home. 

“It has been a really positive experience on the whole for us. Generally, the shoot crews are really lovely people and they’re very respectful of your home,” said Mr Reeve, who is registered with location agency 1st Option.

He hosts between 12 and 20 productions a year. Most bring in £1,000 for a one-day shoot, but some earn him up to £3,000 per day or last multiple days.

“We’ve met lots of interesting people,” said Mr Reeve, including Gillian Anderson, who stars in Sex Education, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Claire Foy (The Crown).

After Stormzy filmed a music video, Mr Reeves said that “every grime artist wanted to shoot here”.

David Attenborough once turned up early for a BBC shoot, resulting in the pair sitting down for a cup of tea and Mr Reeve introducing his three-day old daughter to the presenter.

“He held her and looked at her with delight… it was a really special moment,” said Mr Reeve. 

Shoots can result in scratches around the interior, but Mr Reeve said he uses some of the money to redecorate – or in one case, let a Delux advert do it for him. 

‘It’s never free money’

Less enthusiastic about the industry was Emer Stamp, 48, a children’s author from London, who has hosted for two years.

“You think, ‘Oh yeah, my house is going to be rocking’, and everyone comes round and goes ‘Your house will be perfect’, but for whatever reason, it’s not.

“My takeout is it’s not as easy to make money as you think.”

Ms Stamp said her home had been chosen for three productions, including a Dell shoot and a Lego advert starring Paloma Faith, earning her approximately £6,000. 

Hosting also puts your schedule at the mercy of production companies – and sometimes they may not show up, said Ms Stamp.

“Like anything, you think it’s free money but it’s never free money.”

So what does make a location popular? 

Becky Butler, managing director at agency Location Collective, said there is demand for average-sized family homes with a 60s/70s vibe and unusual features. 

And while a lot of the homes listed by location agencies look expensive, that was far from a deal-breaker. 

“All the practical side of things are as important, if not more so, than the aesthetics of the location,” said Ms Butler.

Parking, easy-going neighbours and having one large room for equipment goes a long way with clients.

Getting the combination right can create “a fantastic additional income stream”, said Jennifer Marshall, of Shootfactory, which has connected homeowners with everyone from Little Mix to Killing Eve. 

“We have properties that through our company have earned anywhere between £20,000 and £60,000 a year.”

Much of the industry is based in London but, between them, the three agencies contacted by the Money team have organised filming in Manchester, Birmingham, the Midlands, the Home Counties and coastal areas.

Both Ms Marshall and the team at Location Collective said having a neighbour willing to get in on the action can be a real selling point.

This might mean a second house on the same street for a TV show, or simply somewhere to house the production team.

“Being able to let them pretty much take over is quite key. Sometimes they might have demands like painting or moving furniture,” said Lily Gonnissen, head of business development at Location Collective. 

Being quick to respond to questions, contactable during the working day, and able to accommodate viewings at short notice was a top priority, said Ms Gonnissen. 

“Be friendly and welcoming – brands remember a good owner,” said a spokesperson for 1st Option: “And make sure the house is clean and clutter free before any shoots.”


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