Local Real Estate Agent Helps Property Owners Rent Their Homes As Filming Locations

Published on Dec 13, 2022

Apart from being renowned as a technological and science hub, Pasadena is a very popular destination for filming movies and TV shows, according to a local real estate agent who helps owners rent out their properties for filming locations. 

“Pasadena has an edge because of the fact it’s an older city, a lot of the housing was built around the 1900s and onwards. And it’s not strictly a California style look,” Ariel Penn, owner of FilmLocationProperties.com, said. “You have properties that range from Colonials to Tudors to Craftsmen, and they can be anywhere in the USA. So it gives the filmmakers a lot of options in shooting in Southern California, but having it look like Boston or Massachusetts or Ohio.”

Penn has worked as the film liaison for the City of Pasadena for over 24 years, and for West Hollywood for two years. 

In both jobs, she promoted thousands of properties in both cities as potential film locations as part of her marketing responsibilities. During her film liaison career, Penn served as a liaison for the industry, the City and property owners in over 10,000 productions.

“I was getting calls from property owners who were interested in running their properties out for filming rentals or film locations, Penn said about how she started her business. “They were calling me because I blogged a bit about film locations and they also knew that I ran the Pasadena Film Office for over 24 years. So they knew that I was well-informed about film location rentals and working with productions and earning extra tax-free income.”

Penn works with both film production companies who are constantly on the lookout for rentable filming locations, and with property owners who need her advice on promoting their homes as a possible film location. When property owners book a rental, they also look up to Penn’s team to coordinate filming.

Her experience in the film and TV production industry definitely gives her an edge over other real estate agents.

“I have extra insight than the average realtor in terms of what would make great income property, especially for filming,” she said. “But also when I’m evaluating properties for filming, I often find that they make great Airbnb rentals as well, and there’s a lot of cross-pollination in that area. I will frequently meet Airbnb hosts and they’re also interested in doing filming as well. That’s like two income sources potentially for a buyer that I’m savvy to.”

When it comes to film locations, Penn lists not only homes and residential properties for rent, but possible school campus sites, cafe and restaurant locations, and even courtroom matches and country home and ranch locations. In Pasadena, some of the listing on the Film Location Properties website include a 1920s Tudor mansion and a modern Craftsman home.

The global pandemic has somehow dampened interest in film location search, which producers filming more on stage rather than on location. The after-effects of COVID is still a challenge even with restrictions easing up, Penn said.

“With production, they’re very vulnerable to the effects because if any of the actors get sick, they have to halt production and go into quarantine for a period of time and they can lose millions of dollars,” she said.

But being in Los Angeles is definitely an advantage for Penn’s business.

“If you’re going to live anywhere and have a desire to rent your property for filming, this is the place to be,” she said.

Penn was a two-time Los Angeles area Emmy nominee, in 1993 and again 2014, for producing in the Public, Municipal and Operator Produced Cable category. The 2014 film, “Pasadena: Crown City,” showcased Pasadena as a hub of scientific and technical innovation. 

As executive producer of the 1993 film “Times Have Changed,” her dream of a camera that could “fly” in order to showcase Pasadena’s filming properties predated drone photography. She was awarded a commemorative LA Emmy from the TV Academy for Creative, Technical Crafts after her cinematographer, innovator Gordon Brown achieved this feat with a 35mm film camera.

Penn is a licensed real estate agent with eXp Realty, an international and virtually networked brokerage. She’s also certified by the National Association of Realtors as a Luxury Homes Specialist. She serves on the local government committee for the Pasadena-Foothill Realtors.

For more information about possible film locations, visit www.FilmLocationProperties.com

Make a Comment

  • (not be published)