help me find a set for my film
September 22, 2011 3:50 PM   Subscribe

I am shooting a short film for my MFA in New York City in November. I need help finding a small studio apartment to rent very short term as the film's single set.

I’ll probably need the apartment for at least a week, a couple of days of shooting and then putting the set together, so it would be easiest for me to rent a place by the day or month if I can find a place that is cheapish (by NYC standards).

I’ve tried looking on craigslist under sublets/temp but I’m not finding many options for daily/weekly rentals and the options available are limited. They’re actually too nice looking and filled with pretty furniture. The set needs to be slightly dingy (though not downright dilapidated), and it would be easier if it were empty so I could fill it with my own furniture. It seems like it shouldn’t be that hard to find a dingy studio apartment in NY, so I’m not sure why I’m having difficulty finding leads on craigslist.

Maybe the best approach would be to go through some sort of real estate agency? I know very little about apartment hunting or how I’d go about searching for agents who would be able to give me leads that fit my specifications. I'm also afraid of getting scammed/ripped off given my lack of knowledge.

I believe there are location hunting services but my budget is small so I’m not sure if I could afford one. I only have friend in the city and their place won't work, so that's not an option.

Basically, I'm a little overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. Help me, hivemind.
posted by timsneezed to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do yourself a favor and contact the NY film office. They will work with a student filmmaker. You're going to need more than just a space to rent--you'll need enough available power to run lights, etc., and insurance, etc. You're probably better off looking for a largish raw space, not right in the city, so you can shift things around--even if you don't want to build flats, you're going to want the freedom to block and work out your camera placements without running into a corner or a poorly placed window. Shooting in a very small apt. will drive you insane.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:15 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a pal who works in the industry in NYC, is on like her 3rd or 4th major studio project, and deals almost exclusively with this sort of thing. She might have a line on something, or be able to hook you up with some space they aren't using day to day. Memail me the specifics, and I will pass them along. Can't guarantee anything, but nothing ventured, etc.
posted by timsteil at 5:16 PM on September 22, 2011

Film grad here: you need a producer to help you with this shoot. Not a bigshot producer, but someone who's done at least a handful of shorts before. This person could be a fellow student or someone fresh out of a BFA program. You should talk to your professor/advisor/whatever about your university's resources for hooking up with aspiring producers. At the very least, you need someone who has solved these kinds of problems before, who has leads on appropriate studio space.

I second the recommendation for talking to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:03 PM on September 22, 2011

Try the cheap artist's haven of Bushwick, particularly Morgan Ave off of the L train in Brooklyn. I definitely wouldn't recommend the area if you are bringing in thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment that wouldn't be covered under renter's insurance, but those buildings are milling about with creative types, the spaces are huge, the rent is super cheap (by NYC standards) and it'll definitely have that 'sort of' dingy look you want.

I would honestly just take a ride out there and start asking around in person.
posted by msk1985 at 6:33 PM on September 22, 2011

if you are bringing in thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment that wouldn't be covered under renter's insurance

MFA programs tend to provide insurance for shoots for class, although obviously the OP should check with his own program to check.

Bushwick is a good idea. Leafletting the arts studios around there would be a good idea.

There are also good studio spaces in Astoria.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:50 PM on September 22, 2011

I've seen a lot of craigslist ads in the Film/Video section looking for locations.

Where do you live? Is there a reason you can't just use your own apartment? All the student shorts I've worked on which took place in apartments were shot in the producer or director's own apartment.

What about the apartments of people you know? A friend of mine works in product marketing and always seems to be crowd sourcing locations for shoots.
posted by Sara C. at 6:43 PM on September 23, 2011

« Older Pottery is made in a pottery. What else is made in...   |   The Frank Zappa of canvas. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.