How to have a movie or television show shot in your Georgia home

The historic Swan House in Buckhead doubles as President Snow’s mansion in the film.

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The historic Swan House in Buckhead doubles as President Snow’s mansion in the film.

It may not be California or New York, but Georgia has a budding film industry worth $1.7 billion in 2015. Over the last few years the number of movies and television shows shot in the Peach State has steadily climbed, making Atlanta and its surrounding areas the "Hollywood of the South."

According to Project Casting, Georgia had more than 40 TV shows and movies filming in the area during last August. Over the years the state has been home to "The Walking Dead," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," "Selma," "X-Men: First Class" and many more.

One way to get involved in this industry is to hold a film or TV shoot in your house.

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Movies need a variety of locations, especially different styles of residences. Even if you have an ordinary home, find something about your property that makes it special and capitalize on that. It may be the oddly specific thing producers are looking for, says Lee Cuthbert, a location specialist in Atlanta.

"Sometimes they are very specific – a farmhouse on a dirt road with trees behind it," she tells the AJC. "They could be looking for a very modern office interior, or a period '40s kitchen, or a convenience store. So if you're thinking 'They probably wouldn't want my whatever,' please think again! The greater the variety of locations in our database, the better. Sometimes one right house means the difference between a project coming to Georgia or going elsewhere."

The process starts by submitting your property to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Follow the detailed requirements listed on the site and fill out the online submission form.

When listing, the first and most important step is providing quality photographs of your home. You should submit multiple photos taken in clear weather so it's easy to see the property.

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Cuthbert recommends using a good camera to get these shots.

"If you don't have a decent digital camera or you don't take great pictures, get a friend to do it," Cuthbert says. "The photos may also need to be resized so that they are monitor-quality. Generally, shoot wide and not tight, and think of what you would highlight if you were selling your home."

Cuthbert says to focus on the good parts and less of the mundane minutiae.

"No close-ups of the items in your pantry, or your pets or grandchildren, or your unmade bed with a laundry basket on top of it," she says.

The perks of renting your home to film productions are plentiful. You might earn anything from tax-free income, home improvements provided by production, or of course proximity to Hollywood stars. Having a celebrity in your backyard makes exciting dinner conversation.

However, do your homework before listing. Look into contracting and educate yourself on insurance liability requirements. Ask hard questions like: How long could the filming take? How many people could be on my property? Is everything in the house they could break replaceable? Will my family's schedule be able to accomodate the film company's needs? Will my neighbors hate me for bringing a movie crew into the neighborhood?

If your home passes those tests, renting it to a film crew can be lucrative. One website listed the average compensation as one month's mortgage payment for every day the crew is there.

There's money to be made in Georgia's film industry. Just know what you're getting into first.

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