Category: Movies & Film

On fire


I had written about my friends Jill and Tim, whose home was featured on the TV show “The Riches”.

This just in, horrifying photos taken from their patio of the hills and homes around their home, on fire.

Incredibly, their neighbor who is a firefighter, suggested that the best way to save their home would be to stay with it and try to fight it themselves with the garden hose. Which they did, successfully.

Location Scout

Zoo -- The Film

Every once in a while I’m contacted by location scouts searching for places to film around the Seattle area. They’ve usually seen something on Unusual Life or some artists home on Seattle Dream Homes and they need a house or vacant lot, other times they’re looking for entire streets.

I wrote about being contacted last year by a film crew looking for an idyllic farm to shoot that lovely tale of man/beast love, Zoo. They found a farm, a horse, a couple of actors, and the film was in the can in a couple of months. It premiered at Sundance and just opened up in Seattle last week to, uh…. rave reviews. You know, the classic love story of a man and his horse.

The Riches

Some L.A. friends Tim and Jill, were approached a few months ago by a location scout for the F/X show “The Riches”, a show created by Eddie Izzard and starring himself and Minnie Driver.

I’m not sure I would have watched it if it hadn’t have been filmed at my friends house, but now that I’ve started, it’s compelling. The plot surrounds a family of “travelers”, roaming gypsy-type criminals who through a twist of fate, end up in a dead families upscale suburban home. They take on their personas, jobs, clothing and education, and it’s an interesting glimpse into both lifestyles. It’s like hijacking the American Dream, in a nightmare suburb somewhere in the Southern United States.

Tim & Jill’s house belongs to the “next-door neighbor” sort of an eccentric artist-type of gal, and it’s featured in several shots.

Jill and Tim\'s Riches

Click HERE to view more interior photos.

Tonight is the last episode of this season, but it’s become so popular, F/X announced that it’s been picked up for a second season.

Should you rent your house out to a filming company? If you do, make sure you have an attorney to hammer out the details in case of inadvertant damage. You’ll want to make sure your home is restored to as good or better condition.

In my friends case, they’re replacing all the carpets and re-doing the flooring after the wrap. And that’s on top of the daily filming fee, so it’s not a bad trade-off for them.

Go for Filming – site to list your home suitable for location shooting

Films made in Seattle

Film in America — locations across the U.S.

Nothing to do with real estate


But interesting, nevertheless….

On April 16, 1970, a federal grand jury indicted the Seattle Liberation Front (SLF) leaders for conspiracy to riot in planning a February 17, 1970 demonstration in Seattle.

One of the members, Jeff Dowd, went on to be a big Hollywood agent. He goes by the name “The Dude”.

The Coen Brothers made a film about him called “The Big Lebowski”.

It become an underground hit. Now it has a cult following and a group of fans have festivals and film screenings and bowling and costume parties all based on the film.

The next “Lebowski Fest” is coming to Seattle March 9th.

And Jeff Dowd, the actual real live “Dude” and one of the original Seattle Seven, will be in attendance.

Grow-a-Brain loves The Big Lebowski

Are you ready for your close-up?

I\'m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

The siren song of fame and fortune causes many people to make decisions they would not normally make.

Who in their right mind would switch spouses with someone else? How about for the chance to be on TV and for $20,000.00? Wife Swap is looking for unusual families with unusual homes to be publicly humiliated on national TV.

What You Get For The Money on HGTV is looking for distinctive homes and outgoing homeowners to star in their show. If your home is one of the snappiest, most appealing, charming and/or hip homes in the country, then they want to know about it. When they find four delicious domiciles (priced between $150,000 to $1 million) in the same city, they’ll “come for a visit.” (You can view one of the episodes that I filmed for the show on November 19th. It will be airing on the Fine Living Channel at 11AM.)

Want your TV debut to highlight your homestyle rather than your lifestyle? Style Network’s My Celebrity Home wants to give your place a makeover. The Style Network is currently seeking fun folks from around the United States who want to participate in a design project with My Celebrity Home. Who says you have to be rich to live in the lap of luxury?

My Celebrity Home teaches regular Joes how, with just a little creative thinking and elbow grease, the good life can be had at a great price. After an exclusive tour of one star’s posh pad, host Peter Marr joins forces with a famous designer to help everyday people re-create the high-end look without the Hollywood price tag.

Is clutter your problem?? Call the Clean House Team to purge your home of all the junk. If your home is chosen, they’ll surprise you with a makeover that will amaze family and friends.

They’re also having a contest for the messiest home. Just send them a video of your nasty, trashy house and you could win a complete house make-over. That’s one contest I wouldn’t want to win.

Another show that’s casting is Hidden Potential. This program shows homebuyers what their dream home could look like before they buy it. In each episode, a homebuyer will look at three very different homes that need renovation. As they tour each home, a design expert will show the homebuyer computer-generated graphics that will showcase the home’s “hidden potential.” In the end, we’ll learn which house the homebuyer chose to turn into their dream home. Click here to apply.

Do you have a horrible kitchen, like with avocado appliances and harvest gold walls? The apply to be on “Save My Kitchen“. What about a crappy bathroom? Well then, you want to be on “Save My Bathroom”.

After all this fix up, you’ll want to find out what your home is worth. My House is Worth What? is a new series that began airing this summer on HGTV. Each show tells homeowners across the country what their current home is worth, where they should renovate if they are planning to or just how much equity is available to fulfill a life long dream. Appear on My House is Worth What? and get a free evaluation of your home by the experts. Find out its current worth, what renovations are worthwhile and what you need to do to increase your value. If you don’t make it on the show, and you live in the Seattle area, I’ll tell you all that stuff for free! (Wink)

A friend of mine, with 3 kids and overwhelmed with the thought of packing up her house and moving, answered an ad for a TV show that promised to pack up her stuff and move her for free if she allowed them to redecorate and arrange her furniture any way they wanted at her new house. It worked. The new house decor didn’t turn out that well, but it was easy to put things where they belonged when the camera crew left. She was mortified, of course, to see herself on TV, but she thought the momentary embarrassment was a small price to pay for being moved by a third party.

Real Estate Location Scout

Mr. Ed.

I received an unusual request recently to help find a location for a new film based on a local true story about a man and his horse. Well, not his horse, someone else’s horse. You may have read this lovely little story in one of our fine local newspapers….. Horse case made into movie (The Seattle Times).

What kind of place are they looking for?

Independent film production is seeking the following for a shoot in
late July and early August.

-LARGE estate house
-horse stables

The stables we are seeking should ideally be in a remote area. The
horse farm should be very green or magical in its setting, and have
large open fields lined with split-rail fencing and possibly a silo.

We are also seeking a SMALLER RANCH HOUSE (one story),
though not necessarily on the same property. Ideally,
it should be furnished and avaiable for some interior
shooting. The older and more lived in, the better.

A fee can be paid for the days of shooting. The production is fully
insured. Must have an appreciation for the arts. The director’s
last two films have played at the Sundance Film Festival.

The subject is controversial but the filmmakers are approaching
subject with great care and sensitivity.

If you are interested in more info, please contact me

Feel free to send photos as well.

I am so flattered that they thought of me and asked me to assist! What were the thought processes that went into that, I wonder?

Anyway, Elisa also sent a photo of the kind of property they were looking for, so if you know of anyone who owns a farm and wants it immortalized in film history forever, please contact us.

Perfect farm for horse sex

Here’s more press about our local story soon-to-be-made-into-a-major-motion-picture:

The Animal in You (Charles Mudede, The Stranger)

Senator sponsors ban (The Seattle Times)

Restraint (Nicole Brodeur)

Most clicked on article
(Danny Westneat)

Man enters plea (The Seattle Times)

Charges filed against man… (The Seattle Times)

Man Charged with Trespassing (Seattle P.I.)

Letter from The Horse (The Stranger)

Real Estate Movies

One of my favorite films is Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House, with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

In the film, Mr. and Mrs. Blandings build a lovely house in the Conneticut countryside. Blandings, an “adman” suspects his wife of having an affair with an old flame, who happens to be the architect for the house….

To compare the costs of building then, in the 1930’s to today, CNN did a story on Prices in Old Movies. Sometimes, money references in classic movies provide the jolt that reminds us of how inflation has changed what we pay for things. For instance, after adjusting for inflation, $25 in 1941 is the equivalent of $332 today.

Damon Darlin in the Walk-Through, the New York Times real estate blog, comments that the article misses one point about inflation. While renovations have kept pace with the general inflation trend basic real estate costs have skyrocketed.

I’ve always enjoyed “Mr. Blanding’s Builds His Dream House” but, believe it or not, I also liked the remake, The Money Pit with Tom Hanks & Shelley Long. Other favorites include Pacific Heights, about a young couple who buys a duplex in San Francisco and almost loses it to a very scary Michael Keaton, and Duplex with Ben Stiller & Drew Barrymore.

Other real estate films on my list:

Poltergeist (Craig T. Nelson plays a real estate agent)
War of the Roses (Divorcing couple fights over their beautiful house)
American Beauty (Kevin Spacey’s wife (Annette Bening) is a real estate agent)
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (One of the main characters is a real estate agent)
Glen Garry Glen Ross (scary film about selling real estate in the old days)
Open House – The Movie
Life As A House (Kevin Kline)
My Architect (Director Nathaniel Kahn searches to understand his father, noted architect Louis Kahn, who died bankrupt and alone in 1974)
The Fountainhead (Gary Cooper as architect Howard Roark)

Next in the works, a Real Estate Movie Film Festival!

Real Estate Movie Turns Video Game

Seattle Open House

Dan Mirvish’s film “Open House” will be made into a Web-based java game. The film is a musical comedy about the common act of finding a dream home. “Open House” a Real Estate Musical. The “open house” of the film is not typical by any means: there’s a jewel thief, a couple who likes to have sex during these Sunday afternoon events, and of course a real estate agent who’s not really a real estate agent. The game version of “Open House” will be available to play in a Web browser or downloadable version. Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition winners Joe Bourrie and Patrick Hackett will design the game. The duo is known for creating Rumble Box, which won this year’s award for innovation in programming. Slam Dance

By the end of the film, the moral of the story is simply that “finding a home should be something to sing about.” (and in fact, that’s the catch phrase that is used to promote the film in marketing materials)
“Open House” benefits to real estate agents

Since open houses are already sport for some home voyeurs, we’re interested to see what kind of following this picks up.

Be a Star — TV Filming Opportunities

There are several TV opportunities filming this summer. If you have an interesting home or cool project, you should contact them.

4 TV shows are filming, “ReZoned”, “Offbeat America”, “Small Space, Big Style”, and “Look What I Did!”. Click HERE for more details.

If you don’t live in Seattle, but have an unusual home, please send me photos too, so I can feature them on this blog. I can also feature you on Seattle Dream Homes, as I am setting up a special page to showcase unique and unusual homes across the United States. Unusual Homes, strange places and unique people will also be featured in Unusual Life..

Paul Alien

With the Seahawks win last week, Paul Allen is becoming quite the cultural icon, even outside of Seattle. He even rated a feature in the New York Times. Paul Allen / New York Times.

Have you heard about Alex Mayer’s film, Paul Alien? It’s a mockumentary film that proves the billionaire is collaborating with space aliens hell-bent on seizing control of earth. Ha ha ha ha….. Paul Alien – The Movie.

Unfortunately, Alex’s other endeaver, the blog “The Tattler” has ceased cyberspace publication. But you can read past entries here…..The Tattler. Scroll to the very beginning to read her biting remarks about the zillionth rerun of “Almost Live”. The funny thing is, you see the old stars of that show around town, and they’ve aged, but their TV-counterparts haven’t at all. Yikes!