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Silver Threads: Dreaming of a house call

Bettye Anding

Bettye Anding

The other day a surprising message was left in our mailbox: It was from a representative of a movie company. She wanted to know whether we’d be agreeable to having the house inspected as a possible location for a film.

My daughter called the number on the flyer right away and about an hour later, the young woman doing the house scouting showed up.
She photographed our home from top to bottom, side to side, front yard to backyard, and then left, saying “they” would get back to us if “they” could use it.
When the door closed, I said excitedly to my daughter, “This could be the start of something big for us, Jill!”
“Hmmpf,” she responded, but I persevered.
“The director of the movie could take one look at me and realize that I’d be perfect for the role of the grandmother who sits by the fireplace and screams and screams and faints as the evil spirits come out!” The movie will be a spin on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. 
I pointed out that there might also be a better and bigger part for her, but all I got was another “hmmpf!”
Well, if you can’t be a star, at least maybe your house can.
In the meantime, I’ve visited the internet — source of all knowledge — and googled “renting your house for a movie production,” chose to click on the website “locations hub,” and learned something about what we might expect should our number on Red Oak Court come up.
— If you often wonder how much your home or place of business can earn you as a film production, the quick and general answer is between $1000 to $5000 per day. … The industry rate per day is generally your monthly mortgage payment. For example, if your monthly mortgage is $2000, then you rental income as a film location is $2,000 per day.
 — You don’t have to pay taxes on it at all. If the house you’re renting is your personal residence and you rent it for less than two weeks a year, you do not have to pay federal taxes on the additional income. In many states homeowners don’t have to pay state taxes either.
— Industry regulations demand that production companies treat your property with care. They should leave the rental site in the same condition as when they found it. If not the property owner should be properly reimbursed monetarily.
— When a production is filming in your house, you need another place to stay for the duration of the filming.  If there are no other viable alternatives, a hotel stay is often included in the rental contract.
— Once your property is used as a film location and the experience is a smooth one for all parties involved, it won’t be long until another production comes calling. If the crew and filmmakers like you, they most likely will recommend your place to other industry professionals.
All this sounds good even if you don’t wind up with a part in the movie. Bragging rights are worth something, aren’t they?
When it opens here, you may want to give a dinner party for about 30 and then take them on a chartered bus for a “premiere” at the Westbank AMC. The size of the shindig would depend on whether you got a part. Out of town family would naturally be in town in that case.
Hey, nothing is impossible when it comes to showbiz. I’ll bet Daisy the kitchen maid really inherited Downtown Abbey from her granddad.

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at bta7735@icloud.com.