Filming a Rock Video at My House

How I Made Money Renting our Home for a Music Video

In the spring of 2007 my wife got a suspicious phone call from a supposed music video producer asking if he could check out our house for a possible filming. We were both suspicious, because how often do you get asked to host a music video production in your home??

We agreed to let him stop over with his assistant to check the place out and do a little walk through sketch of the video for us. As it turns out, our house was a perfect fit for a college radio band out of California, called Limbeck.

The band would be in Minneapolis in a couple of weeks for a few shows and figured to film a video to promote their new album while in town. The question I had was how the heck did our house wind up as a candidate for the shoot?

So, how the heck did our house get picked?

We learned later that the previous owners had taken some pretty nice interior shots of our house to enter into an Ikea grand opening contest, whereby the winner gets a fully furnished home courtesy of Ikea. I wondered if Ikea would’ve done the joyous assembly for winners…

At any rate, unbeknownst to us, a collection of interior shots of our house remained on a public server accessible to film on-location production companies. How about that, little house? You won the beauty prize.

After the initial walk-through of the video we sat down with the producer and his camera man to talk details. I was still skeptical of the entire operation: “You need the house for the full day, on a Saturday, huh?” and “How many people will be showing up for this thing, trouncing through our house?”

To make sure we were at least somewhat protected, we asked for a contract to ensure any damages would be covered. “That drummer is going to break that lamp, I just know it!!!”

Don’t damage the curtains, please!

The contract offered to pay us $200 for the day. In more mainstream video productions, you can land upwards of $1,000 to $5,000 per day. I figured these guys were pretty new to this. The main production guy looked just out of high school, and the video was for a band I’d never heard of (and I listen to college radio.)

So we negotiated up to $400 for the day and figured that a fair amount for the amusement of watching this elaborate production unfold in our home and neighborhood.

On the big day, a steady stream of production hands, extras, and eventually the band themselves showed up, all around 7AM, which is when I’m typically still sleeping. This whole event was well before we had kids, keep in mind…

Making it a block party

We got a kick out of seeing our neighbors checking out the action from their front lawns. Our street had to be blocked off by the police since the shoot required a parade scene of all things. Lesson learned: be a better neighbor by giving some advanced notice of a VIDEO SHOOT.

It was a very foggy morning, but got nice and sunny for the shoot later in the day.

Ultimately, the shoot came off without a hitch. The crew was great to work with, and the band was super nice.

Nothing got trashed. Whew! All the removed doors and windows got put back into place, as did the furniture in our living room. I have to admit I was pretty impressed with how the production team transformed our bedroom into a Thai restaurant.

Notice the extra in the background getting ready for her restaurant scene.

Watch this quality music video on YouTube!

Would we have done this again? Absolutely.

We felt pretty good about the arrangements leading up to the shoot. And, negotiations on the $400 fee were super easy. The video came out roughly three weeks later, and we strolled to the premier screening at a campus short film showcase.

If you’re interested in watching the video, and spying on my house in the process *click me*

Also, for more information on renting out your home as a production location, check out this handy site.

Rock on!

Comments 6

  1. Woah, this is so neat! I had no idea you could actually do this. When we bought our home, one of the rooms was painted lime green from floor to ceiling (yes, it had a green ceiling). We joked that we shouldn’t paint it and we could just rent it out to film students. Now I kinda regret painting it…

  2. I think if out of the blue I had some folks wanting to use my house as a setting for a “film production” I’d be leery of just what kind of a production they were talking about. It sounds like it worked out pretty well in your case though – it sounds like a lot of fun – and hey $400!

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