The Garden Route Film Commission (GRFC) has a key objective to promote the district as a favourable destination for film productions, increase investment in film, attract foreign producers and promote the unique characteristics of the Garden Route Film industry.
The GRFC will be embarking on a road trip around the district to inform businesses, home owners and suppliers on the benefits of working with the film industry and also the safeguards that are in place in the industry to make it easier to do business with filmmakers. The GRFC is creating a series of self-help topics available to the public via their website FAQ section.
List your property for free with the GRFC
The GRFC website was founded with the idea of streamlining and simplifying the location booking process by creating a central point for the Garden Route for filmmakers to find locations, homes, businesses and suppliers to supply their productions. Registration is free on the site and GRFC can assist you with the enquiry. Simply follow the steps on the FAQ section of our website or send the following to us:
– 4-8 photographs of your home, location or activity
– Main contact Email and number (Number will not be published unless you want it to)
– 100 words about the property/location/activity for example how many bedrooms.
– Location coordinates (Google Maps is fine) and which Municipality you are in.
Enquiries will come directly to you and the film commission will assist you in what to charge and expectations including the correct industry standard location contracts which differ from normal rental agreements. Email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
“The GRFC has a database of over 20 000 industry/business and supplier contacts to which we promote and market the region for film locally, nationally and internationally giving unprecedented exposure on a film/tourism level to our members.”
The majority of film shoots are not restricted to one area and nor should your location only be promoted on one platform. Ours is an emerging industry with fewer enquiries so you need to spread your location across a number of sites.
Agents for Film Locations
There are dedicated agents who deal with film locations, but always ensure they are known in the industry and understand the scope of film genres and impact a film crew will have on your property. List with a few agents including some in Cape Town, JHB and KZN to widen the spread and include the link to your profile on the GRFC site.
There are key questions about the enquiry you should know. For example what country is it coming from and the name of the production which you should keep confidential, but then you can at least research and ensure it’s the type of production you want in your home.
Contracting with an agent is very important also. The GRFC recommends strongly not giving exclusivity as the industry is still growing in the Garden Route District and it will curb your ability to obtain work as enquires can come from various sources. This is again why the GRFC has created a dedicated portal for producers to source from which is marketed to industry ongoing steering enquiries to the site.
Agents for film locations will charge a fee. This fee can be a finder’s fee or a booking fee. This fee should only apply if they secure the booking for your property. This is usually a % of the booking. There are agents charging as high as 20%-30% and should be avoided. The Garden Route Film Industry is starting to grow but we are always mindful of out pricing ourselves against major cities like Cape Town.
You as the property owner need to get out what you are comfortable with and an excessive Agency markup on top of that, could price your location out and lose the production to the region.
The GRFC recommends for the interim growth period an agency fee of no more than 5%- 10% depending on the scale and duration of the production.
Always remember you have the option of going through an agent if more comfortable with that or once introduced through an agent dealing directly after that with the client. It is also important that an agent come to you with every offer and not screen offers if they feel they are not high enough. There are times when financially work of even a small amount would be beneficial.
This is again where an agent needs to understand the scope and type of productions and their budgets to maximise your rentals. Fixed pricing on a location does not work with the film industry. There is a strong tendency for agents to inflate pricing which does long term damage to the area.
Location Scout or Production person may approach you direct
This is very standard in the industry as location scouts move around an area looking for properties that fit the brief they have been given. A location scout who is directly attached to a production, will not charge a commission to you if your property is selected and will negotiate directly with you on the price. This is normal and they are paid directly by production for sourcing the locations.
The GRFC is here to assist if you need assistance with these negotiations. Some location scouts work independently and build a portfolio of relationships directly with locations. In this instances the location scouts agree a finder’s fee with locations they represent and again we advise this not being higher than 5%-10% depending on duration and size of the booking.
“It is vital that an emerging film industry not out price themselves against other established film destinations. Pricing and Value is key to increasing production and growing the sector”
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS AROUND THE PROCESS
Locations are abundant for film, but it’s the script or format that dictates what a production is looking for.
Booking Inquiry and Recce
Many locations are initially selected on-line as a Wishlist to present to a director. Thereafter you may expect a scout or representative of the production to come and photograph the location.
Agents who represent film understand how to photograph a location and information required to fast track the process. Touristic pictures don’t necessarily work as there are often other technical or environmental factors to consider.
Should your property be short listed then the next step would be a “Recce” which in film speak involves production coming to your property to see if it is suitable. It is very rare that a property be booked solely online unless the production has used it before.
As owners you should be equipped to ask questions relevant to the booking. GRFC can assist with this.
Booking your location
This is the critical stage where understanding and knowledge of how the industry works are vital to ensure you are covered and not left with outstanding payments. In addition it is important to understand the different types of productions in order to correctly manage your expectations on price and ensure your property becomes known to the industry as ‘film friendly’.
The GRFC will be embarking on a roadshow in this quarter to address locations with local suppliers, please keep an eye on our social media.
Preparing the Location
In most instances the production contact will give you information on what you may need to do in the days prior to the shoot taking place. Pack away valuables, remove items of furniture discussed with you, paintings off walls etc. It is essential to get these instructions in writing and also insist that a pre- inspection be done together with photographs and a post inspection after the shoot.
A copy of the productions insurance should be given to you so that you are confident damage can be covered for all instances.
Shooting at your Location
In most instances you will need to leave your home for the day or the duration. You cannot be prevented from returning to your property during filming but for both parties it is less stressful if production is able to work in isolation. At any point however you can and should contact your production contact, film scout or agent should you identify something not agreed or are uncomfortable with something.
Production has a vested interest in addressing any concerns you may have immediately so that they can continue filming.
Completion of Shooting
Once the shoot is completed and you have concluded your post inspection and agreed to any loss or damage as per the contract, production will restore your home to its original state that they found it in. It is their responsibility to remove all waste and make repairs if required.
The GRFC is here to assist. It is important to us that locations be dealt with and compensated fairly to avoid any reputation damage to an industry that has already brought much needed economic spend into the area.
As the public we also rely on you to inform us if there is filming happening in your area so that we can ensure the correct permits are in place to maintain responsible filming in the region in line with the Draft Film Policy approved by the Garden Route District Municipality.
There are bylaws in place and clauses in the policy especially designed to protect the region and give guidance to what are the standard and correct procedures for film.