Benefits of Obtaining a Film Permit

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Benefits of Obtaining a Film Permit
Though it has its share of global competitors, Greater Los Angeles remains one of the most convenient destinations for filmmaking, due in no small part to the film industry's long and celebrated presence here. On any given day, upwards of 120 simultaneous productions are underway in Greater Los Angeles. Even with this volume, a recent FilmLA survey found that, by and large, filming is welcome in local neighborhoods. As the official film office of Greater Los Angeles, FilmLA maintains resources and relationships that ultimately save time, money, and effort for local filmmakers. As a result, applying for a film permit comes with numerous benefits. Read on to see how permit holders get the most from Los Angeles.

Clear the Way with Production Planning Support

Long before you apply for a film permit, FilmLA staff are active behind-the-scenes to make getting a permit as easy as possible. By promoting standardized film policies in client jurisdictions and throughout the region, FilmLA works on your behalf to keep approval timelines consistent and permit pricing more predictable. And because we know the planning process can be complex, FilmLA has a Production Planning team to help you navigate it. Using GIS-based location intelligence, our team can analyze filming locations, basecamp locations, and crew parking locations for improved conflict avoidance. When a suitable site is found, we can walk you through any possible safety requirements and give you an estimate on your permit costs. We can also make recommendations for free or low-cost municipal properties for filming or parking. So whether you are new to filming in LA or have unique or complicated production needs, FilmLA has your back with experience, relationships, and applied technology.

Keep It Legal to Reduce Liability & Risk

Because your film permit establishes your legal right to film at a specific location (public, private, or a mix of both), it serves as a form of protection for you and your crew. And consider insurance! Having insurance coverage and a film permit for your production go hand-in-hand. From a risk management standpoint, having your insurance policy verified in the permit process ensures it is legally adequate for the work you are doing. And while insurance policies and permits both cost money, they do not cost as much as injuries to persons and property or lawsuits over damages incurred during production. Even without the financial risk of an accident, being shut down for illegal filming can lead to government fines and equipment confiscation. So keep it legal and apply for a permit, and you will save yourself unnecessary risk and stress.

Display Professionalism to the Cast, Crew & Community

When you obtain a legal film permit, Notices of Filming from FilmLA will precede your arrival in a neighborhood — a crucial step to establishing a professional reputation for your cast and crew in the community. Having been notified of your presence and your reserved areas for filming, parking, and basecamps, the neighbors, local businesses, and local government will know your plans. This reduces the risk of hostile and time-wasting confrontations with members of the public and law enforcement. In addition, because some filmed scenes can be alarming and mistaken for real-life emergencies, providing notice of high-impact activity, such as gunfire, stunt-driving, or special effects will keep the public from calling for an unwarranted emergency response. Your credibility and reputation as a filmmaker are enhanced when your productions are known to be professional, safe, and legal, and your shoot will go more smoothly as well.

Save on Locations with a Legal Permit

What if the cost of a film permit came with thousand-dollar discounts on location fees? For filmmakers working at low-cost public properties or government facilities, it does! FilmLA's online location library, features over 1,200 government-owned locations. While scouting photos of these locations from the comfort of the couch, users can also browse property details, such as contact information and fees. Quickly make a list of contenders by temporarily "storing" locations to review  no log-in needed.

Ready to reserve a location? FilmLA’s reservations website is available 24/7 and gives real-time availability of bookable locations, including beaches and parks. At no charge, you can select a property and submit a request to hold it, even if the FilmLA office is closed.

Make Friends with the Neighbors

FilmLA's Outreach and Education team works to foster positive relationships with communities in the areas we serve. They educate the community on filmmakers' legal rights and responsibilities, receive feedback from popular filming areas, and work with government partners to mitigate filming impact. These efforts help keep Greater Los Angeles film friendly.

As a more immediately visible benefit, your production's permit will be engineered by our Permit Coordinators who seek to balance the rights and needs of production companies, film hosts, and the surrounding neighborhood.  Processing over 15,000 locations per year, they have foresight rooted in experience to help create smoother productions.

FilmLA also welcomes and tracks feedback from the community, allowing our team to address pattern problems on a high level and keep a neighborhood amenable to future productions.

Coming from every angle, FilmLA successfully minimizes objections to the presence of film productions, including yours. This proactive approach results in a friendlier filming environment. Of the tens of thousands of on-location Shoot Days logged by LA filmmakers each year, only around 5 percent generate complaints of any kind from the surrounding community. And that is a track record LA filmmakers can be proud of.

Need Help Applying For A Permit?

Contact Our Solution Services Team
Call: (213) 977-8600

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