Local Woman Brings the Film Industry to Long Island
By Denise D'Alessandro
Some might have seen Debbie Regan's Old Westbury home in person, but others might have seen it several times in movies and commercials. Regan started a private business, called Debbie Regan Locations, approximately two years ago, which links movie and television scouts with the perfect house for their shoot.
Alec Baldwin's people, from Paramount Pictures, will be filming a movie at Regan's guest cottage within the next few months and she has been involved with everything from ESPN to Kodak commercials in the past. People such as Busta Rhymes, Puff Daddy and Vince Carter, have been to her house to do a shoot.
Regan not only offers her own house, but, through her business, which she started based on word-of-mouth and referrals, she has over 400 clients throughout New York City, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey. Film scouts call Regan giving her the qualifications that they need for their next shoot, which could be a movie, music video or commercial. Regan then searches her files and finds a few homes that match the description given. Regan and the scouts then look at those mentioned homes, which can range from regular, neighborhood houses to mansions, and see if they fit filming qualifications. The homeowner is paid for their services if their house is used. Regan offers no limitations on the types of houses that she lists. "There is always a need for every type of house," said Regan.
Regan, a resident of Old Westbury, recently had a small, neglected house appear on the cover of Details magazine. "In that same week, I had a house in the October Vogue, which was a gorgeous home in Old Westbury on five acres," said Regan. "The qualifications are very broad and every house is worthy of being on the list."
Regan explained that in the industry, there is a section of land called the Studio Zone, which is the more desirable area. The Studio Zone includes all houses within 25 miles from Columbus Circle expanding from New York City through Hicksville. "That is an arc on Long Island, but hits Massapequa, Syosset, Old Westbury, the Brookvilles and Jericho - just to name a few," said Regan. Although those areas are most popular for the film industry, it is certainly not limited to those.
Once Regan has matched the scout with the homeowner, she remains onsite for the shoot to make sure that both the production crew and the homeowner are all happy. "I do not have to be there like that," said Regan. "I go beyond what is necessary and that is why I get referred so many times. Sometimes I've had up to four jobs going in one day."
The film industry, Regan explained, is the most non-toxic industry and it brings in over $70 million annually to Long Island. " With all of the recent fiscal problems in Nassau County, I think that the film industry is a godsend," said Regan. She wants to educate the people and different villages about the film industry and everything it has to offer.
Regan explains that the local businesses also profit from the film industry as the production companies use the local stores to purchase their supplies, food and props.
By turning a hobby into a profession, Regan has allowed herself to be flexible for her two children Tara, 12, and Michael, 8, who both attend school in the Jericho School District. "This job makes me so happy and makes me feel so good," said Regan. "I bring money to the area, the homeowner makes money and I am doing something that I love."
Anyone interested in adding his or her name to Regan's list, should call Debbie Regan at 516-626-1928. "Every house is worthy of being on the list," said Regan.