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!

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.