Your Home Ought To Be In Pictures

movie filming at a home
movie filming at a home (EN Tracy)

When Mark Poirier and Alyssa Shah opened their Los Angeles furniture store four months ago, they offered deep discounts. They still are - yet some weeks they don't make a single dollar, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.

"A lot of people are uncertain and that uncertainty has carried right in here," said Poirier, of Design Mix Furniture.

It's also followed them home. They began to worry about paying their $4,600 per month mortgage.

"Anywhere we can make money on the side, I just feel we've got to grab at it," Shah said.

So now it's lights, camera … dollars. To keep their house, they're renting it out to local film crews. Their bathroom is now a makeup room and the backyard a setting for a murder mystery. They are getting paid $1,000.

"It was really quick and easy way to bring in extra income and take advantage of our house," said Shah.

Shoots at a typical home can pay between $3,000 and $5,000 a day, and more and more, struggling homeowners want a piece of the action.

In 2007, top location agencies received five to 10 submissions per week from homeowners looking to rent out their homes. Now they are getting as many as 50 - a 900 percent increase.

But the chances of getting picked for a shoot in Los Angeles are getting slimmer. There's more competition, and because of the economy, overall production of TV, movies and commercials is at a record low.

Like the characters in the comedy spoof "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," Jerry Mendoza decided to increase his opportunities. He considered a friend's suggestion: rent out the house to the adult film industry.

"And I said, 'You mean like porn?' And he said 'Yes.' And I said, 'Wow, I have to think about that,'" Mendoza said.

But paying two mortgages and unable to sell this house in a down market, Mendoza made his case to his wife.

"I basically said, 'Honey we're in a recession. I've got to do what I have to do to keep this family afloat,'" Mendoza said.

And it's good for Hollywood, too. Paying to rent homes for a shoot costs much less than building a set.

"About 85 percent of all filming - commercials and all different types of shoots - are done on location at someone's residence or someone's business," said Randy Orth, the CEO of

Mark Pagniano's house starred in a Subway commercial. He was paid $3,000. But a nine-day shoot for the Cartoon Network exposed the downside of the business - the mess.

"My wife was just in shock," Pagniano said. "I mean, things were just everywhere."

But …

"We got $15,000 - so that was great," Pagniano said.

In this economy, that's a scene many homeowners would like to be in.

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    Ben Tracy is a CBS News White House correspondent based in Washington, D.C.