Film and television productions add a sense of vitality, vibrancy and excitement to Toronto streets. The city has been reimagined for series such as The Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods, Suits, Orphan Black, Penny Dreadful and Designated Survivor; and for films including The Shape of Water, Molly’s Game, Downsizing, Suicide Squad, Spotlight and Pacific Rim. The film industry has contributed more than $1 billion annually since 1999 into the local economy and supports more than 30,000 Toronto jobs.
The following are points to note and ask about when a production company requests permission to film on-location at your property. This is a general guideline for location managers to provide as a handout to property owners/property managers.
Filming dates: What are the actual shooting days with cast and crew?
Dress dates: Are additional dates required to prepare the location for the shoot in advance of the filming dates?
Strike/clean dates: Are additional dates required to wrap and clean-up and restore the location to its original condition after shooting has completed?
Personnel & Vehicles
Personnel: How many film production personnel will be involved?
- Crew – actual shoot crew
- Cast – actors
- Extras – background performers
Vehicles: How many vehicles will require parking?
- How many production trucks
- How many crew and extra vehicles
- note location filming permits do not provide parking for crew/extras
Sets, Insurance, Fees
Set Dressing: What modifications or changes to the site will be required? Will any restoration be needed?
Insurance: Ask for your site to be named as the additional insured on the production company’s insurance policy. A cross liability clause should be included. Ask for a copy of the certificate prior to commencement of filming.
Fees: Ask for the fee to be paid in advance.
A damage deposit (by certified cheque, to be held – not cashed) should be issued to the location and held until all film related activity is completed. Once a satisfactory inspection by the location contact and location manager is done, the certified cheque is then returned to the production company.
Staff & Security
Staffing: It is advised that you have a representative of your site “on set” or available during filming, preparation and strike. The cost of this person can be charged back to the production company. Your site representative should be knowledgeable about your site (i.e. alarms, sprinkler systems, electrical panels, etc.).
Security: Is security required “on set”?
Clean-up & Lunch
Clean-up: Do you want your site cleaners or the Production Company’s cleaners to perform this work?
Lunch: Will you be asked to supply a space for lunch? (usually the Production Company caters in lunch but will require space to seat crew/cast/extras).
Electrical & Special Effects
Electrical: Will the Production Company be using your power or their own? (usually the Production Company provides their own generators but if using your electricity, you should factor in cost recovery).
Special Effects: Will there be any special effects done on your site? (Fire, smoke, gunfire).
Communication: To avoid confusion, it is very important to maintain good lines of communication between the site representative and the location department.
Site visits: Prior to actually choosing the location, two or three site visits with minimum personnel:
- Production Designer and/or Art Director
- Location Manager
- Assistant Director
Other Important Points
- If your site is chosen, a technical survey will take place with often 20-25 people in attendance.
- Location fees will need to be agreed upon.
- Managerial/security costs will need to be outlined.
- Rules and regulations pertaining to your site need to be communicated to the Production Company.
- Designated site representative(s) need to be identified
If you are interested in having your house or any other property that you own used for filming you can register your property online with the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).
Call the OMDC directly at 416-314-6858 and ask to speak to the locations library.
Please note: The City of Toronto’s Film, Television and Digital Media Office (TFTDMO) cannot be involved in the decision to use your house for filming. We cannot recommend how much to charge the production company. This is strictly between you and the production company. However, we will be happy to confirm the legitimacy of the production, production company and location manager/assistants/scouts.