“We are looking for a dramatic, old townhouse with gravitas to film as part of our finale episode,” a location manager wrote in a brief to Location Department’s director, Kate Collings-Post. “In the show, the home belongs to a Russian oligarch, who intends to renovate the house once he’s purchased the neighboring buildings so as to aggregate them into a palace.”
Among the 230 townhouse possibilities on the company’s website is a “modern contemporary” Gramercy Park property with floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrace, and a recently renovated, 25-foot-wide Greek Revival townhouse in Cobble Hill with an open floor plan that “gives it the feel of a loft.” The third floor “boasts a dark and moody family room with a library wall and skylight.”
Just as certain parents overstate the intellectual, athletic or artistic capabilities of their children, certain homeowners may be a bit misguided about the desirability of their homes for a location shoot.
“They tell me how beautiful their backyard is,” said Debbie Regan, the owner of Debbie Regan Locations, which books properties for movies, television shows and special events. “They think that their koi pond is what a location scout is coming for.”
But it is true, Ms. Regan said, “that TV shows and movies aren’t necessarily looking for a wood-paneled library or the most beautiful kitchen. Sometimes they want a vintage kitchen where the appliances haven’t been changed since 1970.”
The big motivator for homeowners is the payout. “More often than not people like the money because rarely am I making the check out to a charity,” said Ms. Regan. But there are other lures: vanity, bragging rights and a great story to tell at cocktail parties. Some simply want to be part of a show they love. Mark Lake, of “Law & Order: SVU,” tells of being in the residence of a “very high-net-worth individual. He told me that he and his family were big fans of the show and he thought his kids would get a big kick out of having us shoot there.”
For Ian Reisner, a real estate developer whose Central Park South penthouse has been seen on “Law & Order: SVU,” ” Billions,” “Elementary” and “Blue Bloods,” the attraction, at least in part, is seeing the many ways his apartment can be transformed. “They’ve brought in new furniture. They’ve painted the white walls brown,” said Mr. Reisner whose side career started when a friend introduced him to an associate producer on “30 Rock.” “It makes your home more dynamic.”