ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The film industry is big business in New Mexico, and local residents are trying to get in on the act by renting out their property to filmmakers.
Most often, though, film crews say it happens by chance. Someone will unexpectedly knock on your door if they suspect your home fits the script.
In Corrales, it started with a note on the front gate.
A film crew interested in a home to shoot a dinner scene three years ago wanted to turn New Mexico into Mexico.
“Our house was supposed to be in Nogales,” said homeowner Lynn Mosher.
She said, at first, she wasn’t sure about it. It would mean dozens of people at her house, and equipment all over the neighborhood.
“We just moved in to the house too, and were like, I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Mosher said.
Filmmakers usually discover houses like Mosher’s that fit right into the storyline of their scripts through location scouts, like Cyndy McCrossen.
“It’s kind of a needle in a haystack, finding the particular spot that would work for a show,” McCrossen said.
She’s worked on hits like “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” and “In Plain Sight.”
“I cold call. I knock on doors. I leave little notes for people to find,” she said.
Because McCrossen grew up in Albuquerque, she said she thinks about places she’s familiar with, places with distinct characteristics.
When a production finds a house, they usually pay to use the space.
“I mean, I’ve seen as low as $500 a day to several thousand dollars a day,” McCrossen said.
She said commercials or independent, smaller projects will be on the lower-end, while big blockbuster movies could pay closer to $4,000 a day.
Plus, they’ll put you up in a hotel during the shoot.
The excitement and the money have people trying to increase their chances of getting noticed.
“Welcome to Casa de Siesta. This is my little vacation rental,” Richard Aragon said.
Aragon said he’s done some work as a background actor and heard about the site from a friend in the film industry.
“I don’t think a lot of people know about it,” Aragon said.
The database shows pictures and addresses of more than 6,000 locations throughout the state. It has homes, businesses and even cars.
“I haven’t heard anything yet to be honest with you. I’m still hoping that someone will give us a call,” Aragon said.
“T@gged,” a popular, murder-mystery web series that follows teens tagged in a disturbing online video, films all over Albuquerque.
KRQE News 13 went to see the crew in action while they filmed at a home in northeast Albuquerque for the series’ third season.
“What the house really had were these great wood built-in pieces,” line producer Melanie Kirk said.
Otherwise, she said, the T@gged crew had to bring in everything to tailor it to their script.
“All the furniture, pictures, everything,” Kirk said.
Lynn Mosher’s house in Corrales was full of equipment when she agreed in August 2014 to let the movie crew move in.
“They changed every single light bulb in this house,” she said.
All for the movie, “Sicario,” starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro.
“This hallway, they ended up filming down here and Benicio came out of this area and shot a man right there,” Mosher said as she walked through her home.
Because his scene was at her house, she did get to meet him briefly and even got an autograph.
Mosher learned what she initially thought would be a quick dinner scene was actually one of the most tense turning points at the end of the movie.
She said the crew was at her house for 2.5 weeks and then she had to wait about a year until she could see it on the big screen.
“Oh, we couldn’t wait to see it. We just couldn’t wait.”
She said the crew paid the homeowners association and neighbors to use their property and change the lighting, and they invited neighbors to eat from the food provided for the cast and crew.
“We had a fulltime coffee lady out in front. 24-hours a day, fulltime EMT,” she said.
Mosher said the crew made note of a few nicks on the wall and a crack in the tile, and they made sure it was fixed.
“So, it was a very good experience for us. It was a long two-and-a-half-weeks, not going to lie, but it was a lot of fun.”
Fun to see Hollywood at work right in our own backyard here in New Mexico.
Because it can be an inconvenience to open your home up like that, Mosher said she waited three years before doing it again. The last time was in August for the third episode of the television series, “The Brave.”
Of course, you also run the risk of a movie or TV show becoming a hit and attracting unwanted attention to your home, like Walter White’s house in “Breaking Bad.”
The homeowner there recently put up a fence around her house after having problems with people trespassing and throwing pizzas on her roof like Walter White does in a “Breaking Bad” scene.
“That’s a very rare thing. I think it’s unusual to be on a trolley tour,” location scout McCrossen said. “It does happen and nobody can predict it.”