When Jesse Eisenberg's and Claire Danes' characters traveled to their summer house in "Fleishman is in Trouble," they weren't on a Hollywood set. They were at Deborah Cohen's house in Sands Point.

Her stylish beachfront house with faded cedar and white shingles became a set for the eight-part television series, based on a book by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. The production prepared for two days, shot for another two and cleaned up in one day at the house, which doubled as a Hamptons home.

"It's fun to be involved," said Cohen, a 62-year-old retired physician. "You become friends with everybody. ... You get to speak with the actors and directors and get to know them."

Like Cohen, many Long Islanders have invited production companies — sometimes with upward of 100 employees, construction crews and A-list actors — into their homes to shoot TV shows, films, commercials, fashion shoots and print ads. While it may mean losing access to certain rooms during a shoot, occasional damage to the lawn or traffic issues, these Long Islanders can earn thousands of dollars a day for their home to play a starring role.

Why Long Island?

There are many reasons Long Island houses double as sets and go-to locations. In addition to Grumman Studios and Gold Coast Studios, production companies based at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria and Steiner Studios in Brooklyn aren’t far.

"Long Island is in demand, as are other surrounding suburban communities around New York City," said Joe Schramm, a Northport resident and director of the Town of Huntington’s office of film and television. "Long Island offers a diversity in architectural styles and easy access to New York City via the Long Island Expressway."

Debbie Regan, who owns Debbie Regan Locations and booked the Cohen’s house for "Fleishman is in Trouble," said variety and proximity to Manhattan make Long Island ideal.

"A lot of the productions are based in New York and they have the stages they’re working out of, so they go out from there," she said.

"No Hard Feelings," the romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence, last...

"No Hard Feelings," the romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence, last year used this home on the North Shore to film. Credit: Danielle Silverman

"No Hard Feelings," the romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence, last year used residences in Montauk and in Town of Oyster Bay to create one house, and "Leave the World Behind" shot in a sleek, modern Old Westbury house.

"Houses have agents," said Cohen. "Sometimes, there’s a little flyer in your mailbox, saying, ‘We’re filming and we like your house and this neighborhood.’ But usually, the house has an agent."

How much can homeowners make?

While seeing one’s house on screen or in print can be exciting, residents only do it when the price is right.

Print shoots can start at $2,500 a day with higher fees paid in the $5,000 a day range for print advertising shoots with larger crew sizes, depending on the location, according to Jenny Landey, president and owner of Jenny Landey Productions and Locations. Factors like number of staffers, impact and whether the shoot is for film or print can increase those fees, she said.

For TV and film, based on a crew size of 100 people with a lot of gear, fees on the low end can start at $10,000 per day and exceed "well over $50,000 a day," depending on the location, needs of production and overall impact, Landey said. Regan said payment often ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 daily depending on the project.


"The payment is not only for the use of the image," Schramm said. "It’s for the use of your property and the inconvenience it causes the homeowner and the property owner."

Places like Oheka Castle and Coindre Hall, both in Huntington, are used regularly, Schramm added.

"It is a great way to offset your taxes," Cohen said. "You try to make the numbers, so it’s worth the effort, because it is a lot of effort."

Neighbors can sometimes get paid to help during shoots, often with parking, according to Schramm.

Getting the Hamptons look near NYC

Preferences are as different as the projects. Landey said location scouts, directors and others contact her with "location briefs" as vague as requiring sand, a barn and sky and as specific as photographs.

"I try to match their vision with what we have available," Landey said.

Regan, who represents more than 5,000 primarily residential properties in the tristate area including many on Long Island, said Nassau County is more desirable overall because of union crew zones and because it's closer to Manhattan. Often, she said, they have "cheated" by achieving the Hamptons look within a 25- to 30-mile radius of New York City.

Debbie Regan, owner of Debbie Regan locations, sits in the home where parts of “No Hard Feelings” was filmed. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Certain styles are also in demand for certain industries.

"The clean look works for beauty products and pharmaceuticals," where modernism is preferred, she said. Others prefer dated wallpaper and other vintage details, "like your grandmother’s kitchen."

Some fashion brands prefer the more traditional style, Regan added. A request could come in for a neighborhood home, an estate, a horse farm or an indoor or outdoor pool, an island cooktop for cooking shows. White kitchens are more popular than darker ones.

When it comes to filming for television or films, she said, "we match the character."

Landey said scouts often request "Hamptons homes" on the waterfront with access to beaches, water and docks.

"It’s been very much a modern home sensibility predominantly," Landey, who specializes in properties on the East End, said of TV and film. Thanks to changes in tastes and fashion, she said, preferences will "circle back to traditional homes."

Photographers and creative directors often look for unrenovated homes with more "authenticity" and grittiness or modernist properties, Landey added.

How are homes chosen for shoots?

The Netflix film "Leave the World Behind" was predominantly shot in an Old Westbury home. Credit: Netflix/JoJo Whilden

In addition to beautiful homes, Landey said the East End offers "amazing industrial spaces, beach shacks around since the '40s and big rocks that look like a lunar setting." She provided a farm house in Springs to include a psychiatrist’s office for Showtime’s drama series "The Affair."

"They came to me needing the feel of the farmhouse that could double as an office, which means wood paneling kind of stuck in time," Landey said. "Normally, those houses are on the smaller side, which wouldn’t work for them. I worked with one that’s bigger than most."

Regan said a real estate company recently requested a location where they could land a helicopter for an ad. A Super Bowl commercial wanted an older house and older kitchen.

Productions sometimes use several houses to create one location on screen. For "No Hard Feelings," Landey provided a Montauk house as the exterior, while Regan provided a Nassau house for interiors.

"We were like a team on that," Regan said. "In the business, we call it ‘cheating it.’ "

What kind of permits, permissions are required to film in a house?

Jenny Landey stands in an Amagansett home where multiple photoshoots have been booked. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Shoots often require approvals, varying on municipality. "They all require different levels of permitting," said Landey, who helps obtain permits. "They need to make sure town codes aren’t being violated, safety is enforced and you aren’t blocking traffic."

Schramm said "each community has its own requirements for permits," noting Huntington requires them only for town-owned property. It’s important, he added, to know whether you’re on a private or public road.

Shoots with trucks and many cars do best to notify local police and groups such as homeowners associations, he added. Productions or location management companies should have liability insurance. Landey requires a certificate of insurance covering the house.

Regan said if artwork isn’t "cleared" with permission to use, productions must use cleared artwork or get artists to sign off.

"I had art on the walls they were going to keep," Cohen said of the May 2022 shoot. "So they needed to get permission from the artists to have them in the film."

How do film, ad crews prepare a house for a shoot?

Productions do extensive preparation, then shoot and wrap. The crew prepped for two days and filmed for two at Cohen’s house in "Fleishman is in Trouble." "They set everything up, so when they film, they don’t need to move things in and out," Cohen said.

Productions set tables and otherwise furnish to fit projects. "They have to dress it for what they need to shoot," Regan said.

She added that a TV show fixed a homeowner’s pool and turned January trees into instant summer. "They attached green leaves to the branches," she said. "They made the bare tree look green."

Neighboring houses sometimes get into the act. Cohen said they used her pool, outdoors, bedroom, kitchen and living room and did a deal with neighbors to use their home as green rooms and to house catering.

"It’s a disruption," she said, noting about 80 people took part in the "Fleishman is in Trouble" shoot. "I like to make sure everything’s going according to plan."

Productions typically take at least a day to wrap and clean up. Because they ended shooting at Cohen’s house on a Friday, they hired a guard to watch overnight and over the weekend, paying for the holdover and cleaning up on Monday.

Is your property protected during filming, shooting?

Landey said big film shoots, including some with big crews, equipment and big rigs, need to make precautions a priority. "When I represent locations, my goal is no damage," she said, noting residents don’t want damage "even if it is fixed or paid for."

Regan said productions typically protect floors and walls with corrugated cardboard, swapping out furniture for fight scenes. They install candy glass or special breakable glass if they want to break a window.

"They do different things," Regan said. "It’s less common to have glass replaced."

In "No Hard Feelings," Jennifer Lawrence walks up a Montauk house’s beautiful, bluestone stairs wearing Rollerblades, which could damage a property.

"My role is to fulfill the creative vision of whoever needs the property, but it is also my job to protect this property," Landey said.

To get an agreement, the production agreed to build a hard exterior shell to cover the stairs.

"It looks beautiful and protects the steps," Landey said. "If you own a home, it’s helpful to know there are ways to take precautions. There wasn’t any damage."

Regan said lawn damage can occur, typically repaired by a homeowner’s landscaper. Generally, if the homeowner prefers their own landscaper for the repair, Regan said a production would get an estimate before hiringanyone for the repairs.

When a production removed a fake alarm box from wall, it took some paint off. "Their painter came in and fixed it and the production pays the bill," Regan said.

How do you get your house on Hollywood's radar?

Steve Lohlein, left, and Joe Schramm have had their patio...

Steve Lohlein, left, and Joe Schramm have had their patio featured in Cambridge Pavers commercials. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

While the money can be good, people who provide their houses say offering your house is a big decision.

"It’s a balance of how much effort you put into it and what you get out of it. You want to maximize pay and it’s somewhat fun," Cohen said. "There is work involved. I want to be there to make sure they do everything right."

Productions can make special requests. Jesse Eisenberg skinny dips in his "Fleishman is in Trouble" character’s summer house pool, a scene shot with only the production crew present. "It’s professionally done," Cohen said of how the production managed that process.

While the money can be good, and damage is possible, homeowners tend to be satisfied seeing their homes in print or on screen.

Schramm said his patio, used for a photo shoot by Cambridge Pavers years ago, still appears in catalogs and ads. "I had a good time," he said. "And I still get a kick out of seeing my backyard in ads."

Although many Long Island residences are already on lists of possible locations, companies that book them are constantly seeking more.

"I’m always looking for houses," Regan said. "I live and breathe this business seven days a week."

To submit your home for consideration, contact:

  • Email Debbie Regan, of Debbie Regan Locations, at drlnyc@gmail.com
  • Email Jenny Landey, of Jenny Landey Productions + Locations, at jlpinc10@aol.com

Latest Videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months