Isaac and his wife Esther managed to earn an extra $7,000 in one year just by renting out their flat and his parents’ flat for film shoots. 

They did it by listing their four-room flat and Isaac’s parent’s executive flat, both in Tampines, on Filmplace, a website that connects homeowners with film crew scouring for shoot locations. Think of it as the Airbnb for filming locations — hosts put up pictures and information of their space, both residential and commercial, and production crew scouting for filming locations can easily find them in one place.

Location listings on the site currently run the gamut from flats with the “classic HDB look and feel”, as Esther and Isaac state in their listing, to fancy condominium units in Sentosa Cove. Restaurants, bars and other commercial properties are also listed on the site.

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Isaac and Esther’s listing on Filmplace.

“The platform helps venue owners monetise their existing space which provides them an additional source of passive income,” says Filmplace CEO and filmmaker Lincoln Lin, who also runs a production company.

Rates for Esther and Isaac’s flat start at $38 per hour, while Isaac’s parents’ executive flat can be rented for $65 per hour. Filmplace charges regular hosts a service fee of 12 per cent.

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What the listing for Isaac’s parents’ flat looks like.

Besides prices and photos of the space, the host can list house rules, recce fees, and other information via the Filmplace listing as well. The platform has an inbuilt dispute management system to protect hosts and solve issues such as things getting damaged during the shoot, according to the press release.

Renting out their homes on Filmplace for shoots is by no means a full-time gig for Isaac, a 31-year-old regional business manager, and Esther, a 28-year-old volunteer manager. But it is a decent amount of extra cash to earn as a side hustle.

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Esther and Isaac’s living room.

So far, a total of 12 shoots have taken place at both flats. The biggest shoot to date is for a short film about Covid-19. For the three-day shoot, which happened after the circuit breaker, they raked in about $1,300.

What homeowners should expect when they rent their space for shoots

Of course, renting out your home for a shoot doesn’t come without some slight inconveniences. “One day before the shoot, I lock up my valuable, fragile items, as well as the rooms that are not used for the shoot,” Esther says. “I also take pictures of my house as reference so that when the film crew restores the furniture after the shoot wraps, it would be back to as it was before.”

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Kitchen in Esther and Isaac's home.

“On the shoot day, I communicate the do’s and don’ts — usually to the producer — before entrusting my house to them. I would arrange to be out of the house for most of the day since my house will be occupied. Should they have questions, they can contact me. I usually return home when they have wrapped the shoot or are at the last scene to supervise the restoration and cleaning.”

Should the shoot stretch beyond a day and the crew need to store their equipment at their place overnight, an additional fee is charged.

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Filming in progress.

What advice would she give to homeowners thinking of listing their home on Filmplace? “When you secure a film project, be prepared to entrust your home to the crew after communicating the [house rules],” Esther reveals. “Letting go feels and works much better since we know from experience that all will be restored at the end of the shoot.”

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