Los Angeles real estate broker Ben Bacal knows how to get a homebuyer’s attention. Instead of the usual photo listings consisting of kitchens, bathrooms and backyards, Bacal uses a novel approach that is garnering a lot of attention in the L.A. real estate market: mini movies that showcase the multimillion-dollar properties he lists. This new genre of listing homes is called property drama, according to a March 22 article on Bacal in the Hollywood Reporter.
“I went to film school, I worked in the film industry before I started selling real estate,” Bacal said in the article. “So I know that if you can entertain people with storytelling while showing a house, the more eyeballs you’re going to draw to that property, the more buzz you’re going to generate — and subsequently you get a sale.”
Bacal said he began dabbling in the medium about three years ago using drones to shoot homes and later began using models in his ads. Earlier this year, he produced his first “drama” for a $4.5 million home that featured real-life homeowners Ori and Nafisa Ayonmike. Here, Svetkey describes the opening scene:
“The camera focuses on a man in a blue blazer as he enters a stunning glass-box-style modern house. He heads straight into the sleek all-white kitchen and pours himself a tumbler of booze from a crystal decanter. Then he strolls onto the wrap-around terrace and stares moodily at the city lights for a bit until climbing upstairs to the spacious master bedroom, where he encounters his wife applying makeup in their enormous luxury bathroom. “I want a divorce,” he tells her, delivering the line so woodenly he’d have Keanu Reeves slapping his forehead.”
The Ayonmikes — who are not really divorcing — wrote the script for the 10-minute long movie, which cost $20,000 to make using a professional production company. Bacal also has shot another, livelier spot for a $48.5 million home in Bel Air that depicts two kids faking illness “Ferris Bueller-style,” according to Svetkey. That film shows the kids spending the day off in the infinity pool and watching movies in the home’s theater.
The mini-movies have increased Bacal’s business “a thousandfold,” Bacal told the Reporter, and have inspired him to help other realtors create similar films using a soon-to-be-released app called Roofshoot. The app would let agents shoot and edit their own mini-movies on an iPhone.