Film and Your Venue Part 2: Hospitality in the Film Industry

In the first part of our series we talked about how to get your venue on the radar for film companies. Once you’ve booked your first client it’s time to play host.

The Process: 

  1. The film commission connects your venue with film companies and lists you as a possible location for a particular film.
  2. The director, set designer and tech scout come out and confirm whether they will use your venue or not.
  3. Once everyone gives the “okay,” it’s time to draft contracts and negotiate costs. It’s always wise to charge a reasonable amount. The current average rate is $4,000 per hour per location.

Once the paperwork is out of the way the fun begins. Set crews begin building, directors and actors begin filming and you, as the venue host, get to watch as your grounds transform into a different world.

Some things to keep in mind:

Reputation is everything

The film industry may span continents but word gets around fast, especially in Hollywood. Inland Empire Film Commission Director Sheri David advises, “It’s going to take awhile to build a good reputation [in film], but it only takes one bad filming experience to wreck you. People will talk.”

Location managers help others in their field. If you were accommodating and easy to work with, they will remember and spread the word.

Stay flexible

When it comes to filming, the only guarantee is change. From contracts to set-up to filming itself, flexibility is crucial to ensuring quality hospitality for your client. “Anticipate their needs,” Melissa advises. “Flexibility in time and location is essential.”

Film crews need to extend their hours, days and sometimes weeks. That is to your benefit as a venue. “That Thing You Do’s one-week contract turned into a three-week contract,” Melissa recalls. “It was an unexpected increase in our revenue.”

Market your amenities

Fairplex is home to the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel, restaurants, food trucks and owns Event Production Solutions (EPS), an event equipment company. When Melissa works with the directors and location managers, she mentions the on-site hotel, fitness center and sauna, food and beverage options and other resources like EPS are available for the crew at a discounted price. Doing so profits Fairplex and provides additional convenience for the client.

Know your role:

“Once they arrive and set up, I let them be,” Melissa said. “An event manager takes it from there and essentially let’s them do their own thing. They have their own crews and security. We provide as needed.”

That doesn’t mean you should completely shut down. “When the [crew] needs you to do something, they generally need you right then, right now. Be ready for that,” Melissa said.

It’s about the people:

Everything that has happened at Fairplex has stemmed through relationships,” Melissa says of her work with film. “We aren’t just talk—we consider these people our friends, not an inconvenience.”

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