You Can Be A Star. Well, Your House Can, Anyway.

Sure, jobs are fleeing Connecticut like fans at a Bengals game. It seems the only work left here is in a hedge fund, consulting or (who knows?) perhaps Nordstrom, when the new Norwalk mall opens (whenever).

But there is one growth industry in the Land of Steady Habits: TV and movies.

Specifically, renting out your house (or organization) for a television or film shoot.

The state Office of Film, TV & Digital Media — part of the Department of Economic and Community Activity — acts as a liaison between production companies, towns, local crews and vendors.

Part of its function is to help find appropriate locations for TV networks, movie studios and commercial producers. In other words: If you need a nice suburban home, bustling city, beach, farm, railroad station or other scene for your show, film or ad, they’ll find it for you.

Scene from a movie recently filmed in Connecticut. No, there was never a “New York and New Orleans” railroad.

Presumably, they can also find a crumbling highway, dilapidated apartment or abandoned corporate headquarters too.

Locally, a variety of sites have told the office they’re eager to be used. Saugatuck Congregational Church, the Saugatuck senior housing complex, Westport Museum for History & Culture (nee Westport Historical Society), Westport Little League and Sherwood Island State Park have all chimed in.

So has Main Street (probably the Downtown Merchants Association) and the Saugatuck River (no clue).

A number of homeowners also offered their houses for filming. Styles range from Colonial and contemporary to shingle cottage and (somewhat immodestly, but hey, it’s the movies) “Perfect New England Home.”

The self-described “Perfect New England home.”

According to a recent New York Times story, compensation ranges from $1,500 to $50,000 for use of a home. At least, those are city prices.

Westport is no stranger to filming. “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” “The Swimmer,” “The Stepford Wives” — all were shot, in part, right here.

So was “Manny’s Orphans” — Sean Cunningham’s unforgettable film about a hapless soccer team.

Hey, it was unforgettable to me. I was in it.

I have no idea how much Greens Farms Academy was paid for the use of their facilities.

But whatever Sean paid, it was worth it. We had a food fight of epic proportions right there in their beautiful, staid library.

And if that story doesn’t want to make you offer your home or business to the movies, nothing will.

(Click here for a direct link to the state of Connecticut’s “Locations” page. Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

11 responses to “You Can Be A Star. Well, Your House Can, Anyway.

  1. I love to watch “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit”. It shows the RR Station and Bridge St / Compo Rd prior to the Connecticut Turnpike.

  2. Our house or rather swimming pool was used in the swimmer. I have no idea what my parents were paid for the use. As teenagers we played being the swimmer. Going from one spot in town by going swimming pool by swimming pool to get to our destination It was pure fun Of course the parents had other games which were fun for them and some became sig parts of movies As in key parties

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  3. Westport Country Playhouse was used for several exterior and interior scenes in “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, part 2.” Despite changing the name on our building to a fictional theater in Vermont, the exterior posters for The Winter’s Tale were so convincing that several folks attempted to buy tickets for the show. The production company took over the Playhouse, it’s parking lot, and the lot behind the Congregational Church for several days.

  4. So were my two sons in Mannys Orphans and Here come the Tigers remember

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  5. Not positive because we declined at first request, but I think our house on Hillandale Road was under consideration for “Revolutionary Road”. It was a very typical Colonial, dark gray with white trim and red shutters and door. It had a long vista from the street to the house.

    • The house across the street from me in Greenfield Hill, Fairfield was filmed for “Revolutionary Road.” The interior was redone, and the landscaping torn out and replaced. The day and evening of the filming dozens of neighbors came to watch. Of course, we all went to see the film, but the scenes with the house were cut! I’m sure the homeowners were nicely compensated, but they were very disappointed that their house didn’t have its fifteen minutes of fame! Actually, we all were.

  6. Chip Stephens SHS73

    Kentucky Fried Movie. Last House on the Left and Rosemary’s Baby

  7. I was an extra in” The Swimmer”. Met Burt Lancaster. Had to throw a banana skin at him while he was attempting to cross The Sherwood Island Connector. Wonderful experience. Can tell you more if you like.

  8. Hi Dan Woog – thanks for the article. Having your home used on film projects is fun and profitable. For those interested in
    having their home, barn or property considered as a location for film, television, photography, commercials – contact this native Westporter (now living in Fairfield) via my website thelocations.com.
    I have brought many projects to peoples homes in Fairfield County in the last 12 years; and continue to work closely with the CT Office of Film & Television.
    Some of the projects I’ve been lucky enough to bring right to Fairfield/Westport:
    The Interrogator – series for Discovery AI
    Hallmark Christmas Movie
    Lindsay Sterling Music Video for Stephen Covey Foundation
    Commercials for: Lego, Connecticare, Aquaphor, CT Access Health
    As well as many other projects, big & small around our state.
    You can get more information about what is involved at
    https://www.thelocations.com/faq

  9. Peter Gambaccini

    One of Sean Cunningham’s earliest films, “Together,” had many scenes shot outside at Stony Point. It was meant to look like a sociological documentary about getting in touch with one’s feelings (pretty literally), but it was fictional and starred several Westport teens and early 20somethings from the era, including Marilyn Briggs (Chambers). “Together” was playing at the only theater near LA Airport when I had to stay in a terminal overnight there in 1972, so I went to see it. The poster for the film gave little real sense of what it was about, but when the “documentary” began, I had to restrain from yelling to the other movie patrons, “this is nonsense, I know all these people.” The movie is virtually impossible to find today.

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