I am Rafael Rivera, Locations Manager / Scout for all media entertainment. Everything from photo shoots, documentaries, commercials etc. I hope this page helps those who are new to the process or to help educate those who have gone through the process but a new medium is inquiring about entering the space. 


For most people this is a great thing! As long is everything is done by the book and we have the cities cooperation then filming in New York City is amazing. This guide does not limit New York City or surrounding areas. I have Managed locations around the country for various projects and each place is different. Hopefully I answer all your questions but if not, please email me @ , I would be happy to answer your questions even if I am not renting your space. 

What is a space? 

Well frankly anywhere a film maker wants to film. Rules and regulations change depending where you are and it is the responsibility of the locations manager to find out how to properly permit the space and how to best avoid disturbing the community. If you own any form of property or even renting, you can lend your space out to a filmmaker as long as you get permission from the proper channels. WE USUALLY HANDLE THIS, meaning that if you want to rent your apartment, it is our responsibility to get permission from the building. 

How much will I make? 

Depends on the project and various factors. No two projects are the same, they are all different in some form or another. Talk to your locations manager about the project and what they hope to accomplish with the space. Ask questions, we are here to help you and want to pay you top dollar that we can afford! I tell my clients, even though I work for them I also work for you. My job is to make sure that you are comfortable with the process and if anything goes wrong, the first person you speak to is me. My whole job is surrounding by the fact that I am managing the space and will properly protect BOTH parties.  Each budget is different so if they put in an offer, let them know what you are comfortable with. It has to make sense for both parties, be wary of deals that seem to good to be true; They probably are. 

What should I do to protect myself? 

Good questions me! Again all projects vary but here are a few things you should ask or have been asked of me.

  1. What is the size of the crew? How many people are going to be in the space? 
  2. Do you have insurance and what are your limits? Many business ask for proof of workers comp. 
  3. If something gets damaged who is my point of contact? 
  4. I am not comfortable with ________. Ask for details on what the creative team hopes to accomplish for the project! Everything they ask for is a wish list, if you're uncomfortable with something let them know! It saves headaches on both sides and waiting until you have 75 people in the house surrounding your priceless antique coffee table is not such a good idea. Let them know your concerns. 
  5. How much should I ask for? Depends on the job, some big jobs have small locations budgets and some small jobs have big locations budgets. You want to be fair but usually measuring risk vs impact is a good way to decide if its worth their offer. 
  6. Can I get a picture with so and so? Usually No. Sometimes if you cut them a deal and the actor is up for it, its OK. Remember our work office changes day to day, would you want someone walking up to you asking if you can stop everything to take a picture with them? Most will and some say no because they never have a moment to breathe.  Just ask before hand if that's your intention.
  7. I have damage at my house! I did not see it the day of and now the crew is gone, what do I do..... Well.... Don't panic, call your locations manager. Sometimes at the end of a shoot its too late and/or you're not home to do a final walk through of the location. We understand and are always going to look out for you. A locations manager that ignores you after the job, are horrible people who should not work in this business. If you have a valid concern 99% of the people I worked with would go above and beyond to make sure you are taken care of within reason. Just do me a favor and do not go overboard with requests. If we moved your plant from the kitchen window to the bedroom window, that's just an honest mistake. I've had people threaten to sue over sneakers being put in the wrong place. Please be less crazy. 
  8. Should I clean the home before hand? Depends on the job, sometimes we love clutter and real lived in apartments. Ask your location manager, they will ask the production designer. 
  9. I want to list my home on a database for filming where can I do it? Well this is tricky. Some manager hate giving out their locations book because when a rookie messes up a locations or what we call "burning" a location, we will lose that place forever! One bad experience ruins it for all filmmakers. I have been screamed at for even asking if a space has had filming before. 9 times out of 10 they let a friend film and left the place a mess for no pay. No worries! If my crew makes a mess, Ill charge the company for a cleaner or come in myself and clean the place. 

What kind of projects want to use my space? 

We want every type of space. Homes, buildings, back yards, libraries, offices etc anything and everything can be used and for reasons you may have never thought of! Contact a locations manager and let them know your space is available, you never know! Here are just an example of projects that look for locations. 

  • Reality Shows
  • Documentaries
  • Independent films
  • Studio Films
  • Television series
  • Photography shoots
  • commercials
  • Industrials ( Company shoots mostly for company based reasons) 
  • Re-Enactment shows
  • Art pop up spaces 
  • Game shows
  • Student Films 
  • Short Films
  • Live Sports Events
  • Music videos
  • and many many more 

The Film business is out to get me! Who can I talk to about this? 

ME! Feel free to drop me an email if you have any problems or questions that might need to be answered. The city of New York is the best resource for anything serious but if its a question I could help with by all means email me @ . I am not an attorney, but simply someone that can advise you on the best recourse of actions for anything location related. I have seen many thing and hope to see more! Thanks a million for reading!