Lights, camera, action! Is your Victoria home film-worthy?

Film commission offers homeowners tips on having your property used in a movie

Patricia Walter

Patricia Walter

Imagine your Saxe Point waterfront home or your funky Fernwood dwelling as the set for a murder mystery movie.

That dream could become a reality for property owners in Victoria, Esquimalt and around the Capital Region who want to register their home or business for use as a TV or film location.

Patricia Walter, who owns Gibson House, has rented out her heritage home to a few productions in the past. They include the 2004 made-for-TV movie I Want to Marry Ryan Banks, which starred Jason Priestley, Emma Caulfield and Bradley Cooper.

“It’s fun seeing your home transformed, and it’s particularly delightful seeing it in the movie,” Walter said.

The Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission is hosting a seminar Thursday (March 22) at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre on how to put forward your property for use in a film.

Film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert invites anyone with a unique home or business to attend and learn about the process of getting your property registered, including what to expect when location scouts visit your home, the process of having film crews on set, to the final wrap of production.

“This really is an educational seminar,” she said.

The film commission, which maintains a database of registered properties that includes thousands of photos, is looking for homes and businesses that are unique and different. Gilbert adds, however, that it doesn’t have to be pretty.

“Mostly producers and directors are looking for something different and unique that hasn’t been used a lot,” she said. “It can still be an average home – it’s just that there’s something about it that fits the character of the home in the script.”

A variety of property types are needed, from mansions to modest single-family homes, and even apartments.

The commission is always looking for new places to enter into its files, Gilbert said – the more variety, the more likely producers and directors will choose the area to film their projects.

Such sites as Royal Roads, Bastion Square, lower Yates and Johnson streets and Uplands are among the areas used most commonly, she said.

Gibson House, built in 1919 on York Place in Oak Bay, features a grand staircase, detailed mouldings, large windows and a large overall space, details that stand out in films.

Depending on the project, crews can be around for three to five days, Walter said.

“It’s a takeover, but you kind of like it because you know the end result (is) you see your house in the picture.”

She said it is common for producers to use some of the homeowner’s furnishings, but things like drapery and lighting are routinely brought in.

“One time they made our dining room a bedroom. They had to remove the dining room table and a piano. They really set it up differently.”

Compensation for renting out your property depends on the budget of the production and how unique your home is, Gilbert said.

“If (location scouts) can turn a corner and find the same house on the corner, you don’t have a lot of bargaining power,” she said. “Some houses go for $500 a day, some big huge mansions go for thousands a day.”

Gilbert encourages the public to attend the free seminar as a way to help the local film industry.

“We’re all about economic development, and certainly getting more films (in Victoria) increases that, and (it’s) money in people’s pockets, so it’s a way to augment your income,” she said.

reporter@vicnews.com

Movie magic in your home

• The seminar on how to put your home forward as a movie set takes place Thursday (March 22) from 5 to 6 p.m. in the senior’s centre at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser St.

• To register, call Jennifer at 250-386-3976 or email admin@filmvictoria.com.

Just Posted

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

North Saanich has started the design of a crosswalk at the intersection of Mills and Littlewood roads near Garden Child Care Centre, whose owner Tracey McCullough has been calling for such a sidewalk. As such, she has been echoing a previous appeal by the building’s owner, Heather and Cory Hastings, standing respectively with seven-year-old Jack Hastings and five-year-old Felix Hastings. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich moves ahead with crosswalk near child care centre

Crosswalk proposed for Littlewood and Mills roads parts of approved active transportation plan

Colwood city council did a last minute adjustment to this year’s budget, dropping the planned property increase to five per cent. Last year they didn’t increase taxes at all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood agrees to 5% tax increase for 2021, deferring some expenses to next year

Last-minute changes will save the typical Colwood homeowner $56

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read