A Shooting in the ‘Hood

Every once in a while, a homeowner will turn to me in the middle of a production and ask, “Is this shoot okay with my neighbors?”

That’s a tough one to answer because, a) I am not a mind-reader and b) it depends on who your neighbors are. I meet many neighbors ahead of time while going door-t0-door with “Shoot Day” information and most are perfectly fine with professional production crews. Because so many crew people have very specific tasks, they are often hanging out in their trucks or standing on the street quietly chatting between rolling sound, setting up lights or reviewing a take. Children playing ball in the street are certain to be noisier, but the sheer number of crew people coming and going can be off-putting to homeowners who view the street and sidewalk in front of their property as …. well, their property. It isn’t theirs, but they have an attachment:-)

How can you help them feel more comfortable about your guests? Use Alameda on Location, of course. We will reach out to everyone near you, corner to corner so that all are aware of your upcoming event. We contact the Alameda Police and city permit centers to ensure that stakeholders are also aware in order to ‘over-prepare’ for an unlikely occurrence. We hang out the day of your event so that concerned neighbors can ask us questions and express concerns. We do this because we know that production companies will shoot somewhere else if they don’t shoot here…and we don’t want to turn them away and shoot ourselves in the foot!



Why dogs are a production’s Best Friend

Like many people in Alameda, I like dogs. People who know me know that if my miniature poodle and my husband were both in need of extraction from quicksand, its anybody’s bet who’d be pulled out first. But, did you know that Man’s Best Friend is also a friend to all productions? Here’s why:

90% of the homes and locations listed with Alameda on Location sport a dog as their family member. In fact, the ratio is so large, that one of my first questions when locations are referred to our website is “Great! Does the property owner have a dog?”

Dog owners are chill. Maybe its the midnight barking, or the scratched floors, or the bunnies gathering dust in the corner of the dining room. You just can’t be too precious with a home or business when your dog saunters over the carpet after a long, hard day of digging.

So, no need to sit up and beg for attention! If you have a dog, we’ve got your treat right here, and we want to hear from you. Contact us today by sending in a few photos of your location. After we review them, we will schedule a meeting …. and maybe AoL will adopt your home/business for it’s next shoot!

Why Say “No”?

We were recently contacted by a location manager with whom we’ve worked dozens of shoots. A director had seen a home in Alameda that looked promising; did we know the owner? We did. Would they be agreeable to a very small shoot with one van and a hand-held camera for a few hours in front of the home. We thought they would but surprise! They said “No”.

They declined the shoot because they didn’t really need the money and were concerned about the impact this might have on the residents around them. It felt at once respectful and polite … putting others needs before one’s own goes way back to kindergarten.

BUT Alameda has many needy charities that are supported by its generous residents and hundreds of dollars were offered for this small shoot, no more invasive than a tea party. What would the neighbors think about that, I wondered?

Just something to consider: a few more cars on your street for a day might mean a new home for a lost puppy or food for a hungry Alamedan.

So please, if you are lucky to have a home that is enticing enough for a commercial director to make an offer,  just say “YES”! Sheltering in place can take on a whole meaning when we do it together!

The most coveted room in the house …

I’ve had too many parties in my kitchen to count, including hosting a number of productions that got started the minute the director laid eyes on my marble island. Because production companies seek to imitate real life and real life these days takes place mostly in the kitchen, it should not come as a surprise that lots of light, lots of space, and updated counter tops/appliances are almost always what production companies seek. Sure, you can make an argument for those durable metal cabinets (sometimes retro is a sought-after look), but if you’ve been inkling to redo your kitchen, show your significant other this blog and take a look at our FAQs page.

Who knows? Once you let that Viking bust through your kitchen door, a production company might be right behind, ready to help pay for the damage.

How much clutter is TOO much clutter?

In the last post I touched on the issue of clutter and today I just want to sprinkle the topic with a few more thoughts that I hope will help you in making your decision whether or not to contact Alameda on Location.

Somewhere between an episode of Hoarders and a room of paintings in a museum lies the ideal interior location for media production.  Just where does your property rest along this spectrum? Let’s find out because a home can be freshly scrubbed top to bottom and still be camera-shy.

  1. Is floor space compromised with stacks of papers, boxes, and objects d’art scattered here and there?
  2. Would 15-20 people in the room feel tight and a little too intimate?
  3. Are your walls covered with posters, paintings, plaques, ceramic objects and mirrors that leave barely enough room for your drapes to hang?
  4. Are the surfaces in your home or place of work covered with papers and other items?
  5. When dusting a surface, do you have to pick up many objects to dust under them?

If you answered YES to ANY of the questions above, then your location is not a director’s dream. And that doesn’t matter if it looks just the way you enjoy it!!


Is your home suited for a commercial production?

Before we go too far down the yellow brick production road, it’s important to understand that while you may love your home and think it’s wonderful, and while it may be beautifully decorated both outside and inside, it still may NOT be a home well-suited for a commercial production. Ditto for business owners. Not all spaces work, despite their charming qualities. So, let’s discuss because the Wizard can’t help you here, but I can:

  1. Do you have large rooms? You need them! You need a few of them, in fact, because even if the crew is only using one room for filming, they need another for wardrobe, another for ‘video village’, and another for perhaps staging their art stuff and equipment. It’s nice to have room for the actors, too!
  2. Do your rooms flow freely together with ample doorway space to allow for lights, camera and lots of action by the crew members moving through them? Cameras love kitchen areas that open to a family room or other space because they can put their lights in that space and still have plenty of viewing room for the ‘action’ they are shooting.
  3. Do you collect stuff? Endearing items like vases, beer mugs, crystal decor, and garden gnomes are precious to you but to an art director, just more stuff that they’ve got to move. Nothing turns away a location scout faster than a cluttered room so unless you are willing to pack away and do that deep cleaning you’ve been meaning to do for the last 20 years, pass on this opportunity.

I will discuss clutter in the next post but until then, take a look at the photos here. Sure, there may be no place like home, but you still need a place for the camera.