In studio today with me is David Hatfield, who's job is to represent homes who want to be a star. CAST Locations is a family run business and has been providing great film locations since 1980. CAST Locations works with all major film studios, TV studios, commercial companies, and still photographers. They feature a wide range of locations. Many of them exclusive listings. I like that. I like exclusive listings. CAST Locations has just about any kind of property you can imagine. Their selection of private homes of all types and sizes is unparalleled. David Hatfield, thank you for joining us today to discuss real estate and the film business.
Thanks for having me.
Absolutely. Basically, if somebody wants to film in a house, what is their process? How do they pick out a home?
Well, a lot of them start with us because we have an inventory of pre-approved places, as opposed to knocking on a door, you don't know if somebody's going to be interested or not. So, I think they like to come to us, get a start, tell us what they need and from our library of over 2000 locations that we represent, we can really point them in the right direction, especially if they're in a hurry.
Because not everybody wants a film crew in their house, right?
Yeah, it's not for everybody. You got to have the personality for it. You got to be ready to have kind of an invasion, but when we're doing it, we have somebody there to monitor it. Everything's covered by insurance contracts, so you're really covered. And they put everything back the way they found it. That's what they do.
And the person that's there, they call that a site rep, right?
That's correct. Yes.
So they're there making sure no craziness is going on.
Yeah. They have to enforce the contract, make sure they're not anywhere they're supposed to not be, and that things don't get out of control.
Right. For example, if you're shooting in a two-story home, the upstairs might be off limits, right?
Yeah. We make deals sometimes. We'll give them a little better price point if they stay outside or downstairs.
So let me ask you this. What are some of the strangest things that you've had to ask a homeowner to allow be done at their property?
Well, actually, recently we've done a series of Food Lion commercials, and they bring a live lion [chuckles] into the homes. We've actually had four different homeowners who were like "Sure. Bring the lion." They're trained professionals [laughter].
Yeah, but they have big teeth [laughter].
This is true.
Oh my goodness. So wait, you've had like actual lions in people's homes?
Has anyone said no to that, or have they all been okay?
Yeah, a few people were not excited about it. So, yeah, definitely some people turn it down.
The homeowner comes home and they're like, "What are these claw marks on the wall [laughter]?" That wouldn't be good. You know, I did a little research and I found out that you recently had a car being driven inside of a house? What's that all about?
Yeah, that was another one we weren't too sure about. They wanted a mansion big enough to drive a car inside the house for a Fiat commercial. And to make matters worse, Charlie Sheen is driving the car [laughter].
I'm just trying to imagine the pitch here. So you tell the homeowner, "Okay, look, you have a beautiful house" - it's obviously a big house if you can drive a car in it - "we want to drive a car inside. But don't worry, don't worry, don't worry. It's just a Fiat, it's a little car. Oh, and we have somebody that's going to be driving that's very responsible - it's Charlie Sheen" [laughter].
Pretty much that's the way we had to go for it. But they fixed everything the day of. By the next morning you'd never know it happened.
I can just see Charlie Sheen doing donuts in the living room. Oh, my goodness. Well, that's kind of cool. Now, how much money can a homeowner expect to make by renting their home out for filming?
Well, anywhere from a couple thousand to as much as 10,000 a day. Sometimes, even more.
Wow. Obviously, it would be a mansion gets more money, a bungalow gets less--
Yeah, for the most part, but it also has to do with the size of the project. If it's a hundred person movie crew coming in versus a web series or infomercial, sometimes they're a lot less impact. So, sometimes you can get a larger property, it'll take a little less or a small property will get a bit more.
Well, that beats a home equity line of credit, right? You just rent your home out, get a few thousand bucks.
In fact, I don't know if you realize, but the first 14 days of rental are actually tax free.
Yeah. You have to report the income but it's not considered a business, unless it's more than 14 days a year.
Wow. Now, I would like to remind everyone listening we are not accountants, so do verify this with your accountant. So, you're telling me that it's tax free both federal and state?
I believe so.
Again, check with your accountant [laughter].
I'd use the same copy. Yeah, check with your accountant.
Do you guys have plenty of inventory, things to [redone?], you're looking for any types of properties right now?
We're always looking for more. I mean we have a big inventory, we're pretty selective, but we're always looking for more. Because after a while, people sell their homes, they move on, we need new ones, and not everybody that buys this house that filmed all the time will continue to film there. We lose some great character houses to demolition, because somebody wants to put up a bigger, nicer home even though it's a beautiful vintage home.
But now if somebody wants to rent out their home, how do they submit their home to you to take a look at? Do you receive emails? Do you have application website? What's the way to do it?
Yeah. The best way to do it is to go right to our website which is www.castlocations.com. There's a List Your Property button right on there. So we have an online submission form, where you can upload some photos so we can take a look at what you have or put up a link if you have them on a site somewhere, and some basic information. We want to know how big it is and how to contact you. And that's how we monitor all those. That's much better than getting direct emails that inevitably get lost than shuffling it.
How long does it usually take you to respond to those?
Within a week. Sometimes same day, just depends on how busy.
Perfect. And who knows, someone might be sending a property that you are looking for right then and there.
Absolutely. I've had people like, "This is perfect for what I'm looking for right now. Please get this back to me right away, we want to show the house." I've actually taken screenshots of pictures people have sent me and said, "If I can get this guy on board, can we do this?"
Wow! That's very cool. Now you've talked about a couple of animals, and there was another animal that you recently had for a California milk commercial, tell me about that.
We had a cow. We had [laughter] an actual cow inside somebody's house at Northridge, average family home, but it makes for good TV.
Wow, that's very funny. I've always wondered, especially for the mansions and people that-- you look at a mansion and you think they probably are set, they have enough money. Why would they let an entire film crew come into their house when they don't need the money?
Right. Well, you'd be surprised. I think it's hard for people sometimes to justify, maybe an extra vacation. Some people put it towards charity. A lot of people use it for their kids college funds, things like that, so there's always something. And probably the number one reason is to put money back into the house.
Yes, so do this and remodel the kitchen or...
Yeah, improve the landscaping, whatever it is.
New driveway, fix that leaking roof [laughter], whatever it may be. Wow, that's interesting. So, you find basically all different types of people. Because I watch Mad Men, for example. I know there's a famous street where they do a lot of Victorian homes. Do you represent anyone over there?
Probably over at Carroll Avenue. I think we have one or two over there, and we definitely have a lot of those Victorian, Craftsman homes. And that's always very popular.
Now, with the TV commercials, I know that they're always looking for a lot of space. So, if someone's submitting a property and it's just a 800-square-foot home, is that most likely not going to work? Or might it work for a good exterior? What do you think?
Well, it's pretty hard if it's quite that small. But if it's wide open, it might be considered because they do need all sizes. But if you do have a smaller home but lots of doorways and angles, maybe where you can shoot it a little bit larger, that can help.
Now you actually need to be the homeowner to rent out the home. You can't be leasing the property and then have it up for rental? Or how does that work?
Well, we have to have the permission of the owner and the tenant, both. So we have a lot of people who do that in fact, and they split usually around 50/50 depending on the situation. Sometimes it's a little more or less on each side, but that's a good situation.
That's nice. Basically, you rent out your house, you get maybe-- do they pay you for prep days to get to the commercial ratings, stuff like that?
Yeah. They don't pay as much. Generally, half price for prep days and strike days.
So let me get this straight, you have a house. Maybe it's $3,000, they need to do a prep day and a wrap day, so that's $6,000. That's like two or three monthly mortgages right there.
That's a fantastic thing. Look, if you are interested in submitting your home, if this sounds like something you'd like to do and be considered, give us that website again.
That's excellent. Thank you so much for all that info. David Hatfield with CAST Locations. You're listening to Real Estate Radio, Los Angeles, and I'm your host Todd Jones. You can find us here every Sunday at noon on the Patriot AM 1150, or ToddJonesRadio.com.