How to get your property used as a TV or film location in Manchester

Story from I Love Manchester by Susan Griffin | 21 October, 2019


As the region’s film and TV industry continues to grow, there is a growing demand for places where productions can film.

That’s why the team at Screen Manchester, the city’s film office, is keen to hear from you.

They’re asking people to register their home, office or business on their locations database, so it can potentially be used in commercials, TV dramas and feature films.

It’s like an open audition minus the humiliation – and with a greater chance of a paid gig at the end of it,” says Bobby Cochrane, development manager at Screen Manchester.

The locations database is used as a bit of shop window as to what the city can offer, which can range from shops, pubs, empty offices, warehouses and street locations“.

We get asked if we’ve got locations for specific scenes or there might be an entertainment show coming up and they want a spot where the presenter can do a piece to camera. We need options for that, too.”

We do go out and leaflet drop around the city and to some residences, but we’re always on the lookout for new properties.”

Here, he answers some questions about registering your place and what to expect from the process.

How do I register?

The locations database is self-registering, and it’s completely free. Visit the website  and you’ll be asked to fill out your address, contact and ownership details, along with a description of the property and any details on potential storage and restrictions. You’ll need to upload images, too.

What happens once I’ve registered?

The location will sit on the front end for people to search but we also get asked to put bespoke brochures together where we’ll send a production a list of potential locations. That means the locations aren’t just waiting for someone to stumble across them, we’ll try and promote them through the private brochures and when we get storyboards in, we’ll try and match them and put the locations forward.

Are you just looking for places in the city centre?

No, we want more locations to register across the whole city because we look after the 32 wards in Manchester, including Didsbury, Chorlton, Whalley Range and Levenshulme. We want a range of locations in each ward so we can sell the whole city and what it can do.

What sort of properties are you looking for?

It can be anything because what you see on TV and film, every location, apart from a studio build, has had to be found and resourced. It could be an office, a corridor, someone’s kitchen, back garden, a shed. It doesn’t have to fit into a particular box, or that we’re only looking for certain types of locations. People might think ‘my property will never be of interest’ but you’d be surprised because productions are looking for a whole range of looks and creative styles. We react to the production and if we’ve got a range of locations on our database, it’s just giving them more options.

Would I need to move out?

Productions will obviously try and work around the owners because they understand it’s their property. If it’s something really big they’re looking to take over, then they’ll put them in alternative accommodation for a couple of weeks while they shoot but that’s quite rare. Usually, they’ll try and work around the owner, and just dress what they need to at the location.

How many people would likely turn up during filming?

We try and tell people just to be flexible because one minute you might have 10 crew with minimal equipment filming in your kitchen, the next thing you could have 60 crew coming into your property on something like Coronation Street, Scott and Bailey, or No Offence, and they’re taking over so to speak, but of course there is financial compensation for that.

How much can I expect to be paid?

We’ve steered away from a rate card. It might make a location unattainable to certain productions and the owner might not like it because there are different budgets depending on who the broadcaster is, when it’s on, how big the production is, so there are so many variables. Everything’s a negotiation, and there is that sweet spot where the owners are happy, the production company are happy, and the business is done.