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By: Dan Harary | September 21, 2012


"Grey's Anatomy" TV series turns to Real to Reel Locations to remain in LA when storyline calls for "famous out of state" medical clinic setting.

When the Location Department from the hit TV series "Grey's Anatomy" called Real to Reel Locations (RTR) in July, the challenge was for RTR to find the show a medical facility in L.A. that could stand in as a "Famous Out of State Medical Clinic" for multiple episodes. Because RTR represents many medical facilities in the L.A. area, RTR offered several potential options for "Grey's Anatomy" consideration. The TV show's Location Department ultimately selected LA-based House Research Institute, a non-profit hearing health facility, with its ultra-modern looking setting.

Gary Onyshko, RTR's president and CEO, said, "The great thing about this, is that the "Grey's Anatomy" cast and crew had their famous out of state medical clinic without the hassle of them having to travel and leave Los Angeles. They therefore enjoyed a substantial money savings for these multiple episodes for that reason alone."

"I've been using Real to Reel for more years than I can even count!" jokes George Larson, "Grey's Anatomy" Key Location Manager. "When we needed a venue to replicate 'The Clinic,' we went to Real to Reel and they hooked us up with the House Research Institute, and that worked out really well. Our set design team dressed the facility with fake snow there, to give the place a 'Minnesota feel,' since the Clinic was meant to be located in a Northern state during winter. The House people were really accommodating and we have a nice relationship with them now. We shot there four different times in the past month, for four episodes that will be airing during the new season of the show, since one of the characters moved away." Regarding his long-standing relationship with Real to Reel, he adds, "They treated us really well. They always do!"

Adds Marilee Potthoff, director of community education and outreach for the House Research Institute, "The production team from "Grey's Anatomy" worked closely with us, and everything ran very smoothly during the times they were shooting here. It was a lot of fun to host them. We began hosting productions here about three years ago, through Real to Reel, obviously to help us boost our income, which our relationship with RTR has done. We are looking forward to watching the four episodes in which the House Research Institute will be starring on network television, when they air this fall!"

Since its founding 30 years ago (in 1982,) Real to Reel Locations has been helping location departments for TV shows, feature films, commercials and other productions, find exactly what they need by representing an ever changing portfolio of L.A. properties anxious to host productions for a fee. As a location agency, RTR essentially serves as a talent agent for locations. RTR takes most of the work load associated with hosting a production off of the shoulders of location owners by doing all the advance planning for the property, and all the prep, shoot and strike-day on-site management.

RTR constantly seeks out properties suitable for filming, then markets those properties to the entertainment industry, setting up policies and procedures for the coordinated use of the property as a location. All of this advance work minimizes the impact from filming to the ongoing operations of the location. RTR's work for a property is at no direct cost to the property owner, since they work off of a commission from successfully booking a shoot, much the same way a real estate company would for finding a tenant to lease space in a building.

RTR is a California Real Estate Brokerage Corporation. Most of the time RTR uses short term licenses to facilitate the use of the buildings for a few days at a time. On occasion, RTR handles longer term deals with a show for one of the large empty facilities they represent. In those cases a show takes over a closed facility as their production center.

Onyshko said, "Overall, we save location departments time, and therefore money, by representing properties that welcome filming and preparing those properties to accept the challenges of on-location filming. RTR's procedures keep everything running smoothly, so a property will continue to make itself available to filmmakers for the long run by avoiding a bad experience with any one shoot."

Many property owners have retained RTR's services for ten years or longer. "What our company contributes to the creative side of filmmaking in L.A. cannot be underestimated either. We make properties available to filmmakers that might not otherwise make themselves available as a location since they might not want to bother without us doing most of the leg work for them. Also, we've often taken closed properties that had very little rental value potential for the owner since they were waiting to be re-purposed or sold, and delivered some revenue during that time by their hosting productions."

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