How Scores of New Jerseyans Get Their Homes in Movies and TV Shows

Companies scout NJ homes for use in movies, TV series and commercials, then serve as go-betweens for the production teams and homeowners.

Film equipment and lighting outside a house in Montclair.
A commercial shoot brings lights, camera and action to a house in Montclair.

Ever wonder how the homes in movies and TV shows end up there? Ever wish your own house could be featured on the big screen? Well, here’s your chance!

With reinstated tax incentives leading to a boom in projects being filmed in New Jersey, production companies and homeowners both have more opportunities for work in the Garden State. The Scout Source, a Montclair-based company, serves as a go-between for both parties, representing more than 700 homes in the tri-state area for use in movies, television series and commercials. 

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With a detailed database, the Scout Source can fulfill the specific requests of producers—such as a precise kitchen setup—while saving companies the pain of cold scouting. The Scout Source negotiates on behalf of the homeowners and walks them through the filming process. “It’s a lot to open your home to 80-100 people,” says co-owner David Clark. 

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The Scout Source has worked on TV shows and movies—including Zach Braff’s new picture, A Good Person, which filmed in his native Essex County—but mostly does commercials, including major ads and even Super Bowl spots.

The company worked on an Amazon commercial with celebrity couple Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson, and a Hellmann’s ad with comedian Pete Davidson. When former Giants quarterback Eli Manning shot an ad with one of the Scout Source’s clients, he signed autographs and played catch with kids who lived at the shoot site, Clark recalls.

Not every shoot brings famous faces into people’s homes. Some feature animals, like the time a crew needed to get a donkey in a bathtub. Another shoot called for an elephant in a living room. That meant finding a location with “an above-average door,” Clark says.

Of course, homeowners get more than just unique encounters. Filming typically pays $5,000-$7,000 per day, Clark says. Prep days pay roughly $2,000. The Scout Source gets a cut. Production companies will pay for hotel rooms for homeowners, depending on shoot length and logistical concerns. 

People hoping to list their homes on the Scout Source should visit Co-owner Asa Miraglia says the company is interested in various styles of homes to accommodate a wide range of projects.

“We will speak to anyone that calls us,” she says. “It’s not like a like a high-end, fancy thing. We’re always open to people.”

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