Couple uses house to earn money from film shoots

The easiest money dentist Ron O' Neal ever made didn't come from pulling teeth.
He never imagined his kitchen and backyard could turn a profit by just loaning it out a few hours to production crews.
Most people don't.
Pat Gaggi, a location scout in the business for 25 years, said the Tampa Bay area is a hot market for commercials, infomercials and photo shoots.
"All of those take place some place in a home and part of the budget is paying the homeowner," Gaggi said.
The weather puts Florida on the top of many lists and Gaggi said that lists keeps growing.
"I would say in any given week, especially in the winter, there are multiple shoots going on," Gaggi said.
Depending on the job, a homeowner could make hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The O'Neal house has been tapped four times, including for a Publix commercial. It wasn't a huge inconvenience either. O'Neal was at work, his wife Blair kept busy running errands and the couple's four kids were at school during the filming.
"It was easy. It was a great experience," O'Neal said.
Any type of home can be considered, but bright open floor plans help. Sometimes companies just need a bedroom, living room or, as in the O'Neals’ case, their kitchen and backyard.
"Most of the time we want something that looks like anywhere USA," Gaggi said.
There's no right type of home, but there is the right type of homeowner.
"If you don't feel comfortable with a lot of strangers in your home, it's definitely not the thing to do,” Gaggi said. “But if you feel like you don't mind that and it is kind of like a party in your house, that you don't have to host, it's great thing to do," said Gaggi.
For the O'Neal family, it's perfect. With four kids ranging in age from 11 to 4, O'Neal said it's always controlled chaos in their home. A few crew members joining them is no big deal.
"My wife looks at it like free cash, and she uses it for redecorating. And when mama is happy, everyone is happy!"  O'Neal laughed.
If you’re interested in learning if your home can be used for a shoot, Gaggi suggested contacting the Tampa Hillsborough Film and Digital Commission. 
“They are trying to establish a database for good locations,” she said. “They will either ask them to send a few photos or get their contact information and that database will be available to all the scouts like myself."
For more information,  visit the Tampa Hillsborough Film and Digital Media Commission's website at .
A commission spokesperson said it’s currently building a database and online visitors can view a location library on the website.
Print this article Back to Top