Giggster’s Insider Interview series allows us to sit down with members of our production and host community to talk about their career path and what makes them successful at what they do.
In this week’s article, we had the chance to chat with husband and wife superhost duo – Ashley & Brett Nobles, hosts of the Sun-drenched Bi-Level Loft in DTLA. In addition to hosting over 300 productions at their various locations, Ashley & Brett have recently launched YourIncomeSpace.com, to teach people how to earn income with their unique properties by renting them out for events, productions, and more.
Reagan Cook: It’s awesome that you two work together as husband and wife in this industry. How do you think your qualities and characteristics complement each other to make you successful?
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Ashley & Brett Nobles: When you go into business with your significant other, you quickly learn just how opposite the two of you really are. But in our case, it’s the primary reason why we’ve become so successful. Brett is the definition of a left-brained, Type A personality – highly analytical, methodical, and always crunching numbers, building structure and focusing on the granular day-to-day tasks and deadlines that need to be addressed. Whereas Ashley is the quintessential right brain, Type B personality – highly creative, intuitive and idea-centric with a passion for product, customer and tendency to focus on the big picture and go at her own pace.
Each person’s strengths make up for the other’s weaknesses, so it’s been really interesting to watch those complements play out over the past three years. Of course being wired so differently can be hilariously frustrating at times, but it’s such a necessary part of growth, not just as a couple, but as business partners, too.
RC: In addition to being popular location hosts, you guys have also started a business to help others find success in this industry. What inspired you to start YourIncomeSpace?
BN & AN: We were inspired to create YourIncomeSpace not only because we saw an interest from other people wanting to learn how to do what we do and become successful at it, but a severe lack of information to refer them to on how to actually do it. We did a ton of research, but couldn’t find any substantial resources to direct people to, so we sort of took matters into our own hands.
Having friends, family and colleagues constantly bombard you with questions about what you do, definitely shows there’s an interest, but the actual need and demand for this information became evident once we started talking actual numbers. If there’s one thing that gets people’s attention, it’s money.
The conversation instantly shifted from curiosity and confusion about why we were okay with letting “strangers” use our apartment, to “Wow, that’s amazing! I want to do the exact same thing you guys do– where do I start and how do I do it well enough to create a business out of it?” That’s when we knew we had a huge opportunity to impact people in a major way.
“The conversation instantly shifted from curiosity and confusion about why we were okay with letting “strangers” use our apartment, to “Wow, that’s amazing! I want to do the exact same thing you guys do– where do I start and how do I do it well enough to create a business out of it?”
RC: What does a typical workday look like as a host?
BN & AN:While we’d love to say there even is such a thing as a “typical” host workday, what we’ve come to learn is that no two are the same. While your product (your space) usually remains a constant, your service as Hosts has to be flexible and adapt to the needs of each guest in a very customized way. There’s a general framework we follow for every guest, shoot, booking etc., but often their needs are so different.
Some days we’re up at 5am helping 90-person crews load in and get setup for a big budget commercial or feature film, which means managing tons of moving parts and people– trailers, grip, crafty, hair and makeup, talent–you name it. With the bigger projects, we’re usually on site the entire time, sometimes up to 14-16 hours depending on how long it takes to wrap, strike, and load out. Other days, we have a chill photoshoot with less than 10 people, where all we have to do is let them in, turn the lights on and let them to their thing while we grab lunch and hang out until they’re done. But that’s what we love the most about this business– no two days are ever the same.
RC: What is your favorite part about the production location industry?
BN & AN: We’ve rented our locations out for overnights, events, off-site meetings, pop-ups etc., but we’ve naturally gravitated more and more towards production because it works better for us in every category from a business perspective. For one, we’re renting our spaces out to professionals who do this all the time, versus events which can be such a mixed bag of good and less-than-savory situations that we’d just prefer not to deal with.
The payout also tends to be higher, which we’re never going to be mad at. And the best part is getting to work alongside so many talented creatives who have such passion for what they do. Being able to witness the formation of so much amazing content, literally behind the scenes, and having a “job” that plays a small role in that creative process, is very cool.
RC: Are there any favorite shoots (or especially memorable ones) that have taken place at one of your locations?
BN & AN: We’ve had so many cool projects come through our locations over the years, so it’s hard to pick just one. We’ve seen tons of amazing content get produced, and we’ve met some really remarkable people that we otherwise wouldn’t have had such direct access to had it not been for hosting them in our space, so that’s definitely a great aspect of it all.
But probably the most memorable shoot only became such after the fact while we were in an airport during a vacation in France. We were just casually walking by and almost tripped over each other because saw this massive billboard of a Hugo Boss campaign that was shot right in our living room. It was this super surreal, synchronistic moment where everything we’d worked so hard to build came full circle and confirmed every all the effort we’d made up to that point. It was so humbling, yet motivating at the same time.
RC: What would you tell someone that is trying to enter the production location industry? What are some of the first steps of getting started as a successful host?
BN & AN: The single most important piece of advice we could give someone who is trying to enter the production location industry is: be open. This business is not for the close-minded, inflexible or faint of heart. It takes a lot of strategy, flexibility and willingness to do what others won’t in order to stand out and give 5-star service to your clients. Your space is your product, and you, the Host, are the service. You cannot be successful if one of those is lacking. Take time to research your market, find out what types of space(s) perform well, and be the best possible option in that category. People will quickly take notice and pay top dollar for it.
“Autonomy is what the industry was lacking, and thanks to tools like Giggster, both sides now have the ability to list and search for spaces easily, efficiently and economically, which is necessary in an era where we’re producing content at a such a rapid pace.”
RC: How have you seen this industry change since your start in 2015?
BN & AN: While we’ve only been in the business a relatively short amount of time, we’ve see a huge shift in process more than anything. When people can find your location by doing a quick search, specifying exactly what they’re looking for in terms of type, size, decor, location, price etc., reach out to verify availability, book the location instantly, and scout the location later on that same day without having to waste time, coordinate messy logistics or pay egregious fees an agency, you’re in the midst of a massive industry shift. People who have been in the business for years are amazed at how convenient and streamlined the process has become, so we keep our eyes and ears open and learn as much as we can from them.
For the longest, if you wanted to rent out your space for film production, you had to be represented by an agency that typically locked you into an exclusive agreement and were charged very high commission fees for your space to only get booked a couple of times a year if you were lucky. And on the guest side, you had to rely on agencies to expensively source a limited supply of locations.
Now, with online marketplaces such as Giggster, it’s easier than ever to list your space as a location owner, but also to find spaces as a location scout or producer. Autonomy is what the industry was severely lacking, and now both sides have the ability to list and search for spaces easily, efficiently and economically, which is necessary in an era where we’re producing content at a such a rapid pace.
RC: How have online location platforms like Giggster changed your hosting experience?
BN & AN: Without online location platforms such as Giggster, our business wouldn’t be the success that it is. While we can’t say our business wouldn’t be possible without online location platforms, it would be significantly more challenging to get in front of our desired customer base, correspond with potential guests, manage transactions and ultimately build a reputation with comprehensive customer reviews. With any business, marketing your product/service offering is the lifeblood of how you get customers and ultimately make money. With platforms like Giggster, we can market our space effectively, correspond with customers very easily and manage our calendar and transactions all in one place. It’s almost too easy!
Want to see more what Brett and Ashley's listing looks like? Follow this link to view images, learn details, or book their stunning sun-drenched bi-level loft in DTLA.