Los Angeles is home to the world’s most talented filmmakers. Need proof? Consider the thousands of students who come to Los Angeles each year to enroll at one of our prestigious local film schools.
FilmL.A. knows just how important student filmmakers are to local filming. Student films make up about seven percent of all permitted film production days (PPD) logged in the Los Angeles region, and in some quarters, we receive just as many days of student filming as we do PPD for full-length features. Student filmmakers are also the next generation of Hitchcocks, Chaplains, Scorseses, and Spielbergs, so we know it’s important that their first experience filming in L.A. is a good one.
FilmL.A. allows students enrolled in accredited, college-level film education programs to apply for film permits at discount rates. A small team of dedicated student coordinators is also available to help students with their permitting needs. From lane closures to street closures, filming at a park or the beach, students can do it all, and our staff members are here to help them with production planning questions and walk them through the film permit process.
The process for obtaining a student permit is a little different for students than it is for other FilmL.A. customers. It starts with an in-person consultation at our office (appointments must be booked at least 72 hours before the first day of filming). Students must then obtain a student certification letter on school letterhead to verify the permit applicant is a current student in good standing. Letters cannot be more than 30 days old and must specify that the student film project is not for commercial purposes. A valid student ID is also required.
FilmL.A. has made things easier for advanced student filmmakers as well. Students working on graduate-level thesis projects no longer have to apply for permits in person. Students meeting this requirement can submit permit applications via FilmL.A.’s Online Permit System (OPS), which prior to September 2011 was reserved for use by film production companies and permit services. A student certification letter and other documentation are still needed, however.
We recently spoke with Ferdinand Ramml and George Ohan, graduates of the American Film Institute and Los Angeles Film School, respectively, and asked them to share their thoughts about student filming in Los Angeles. Ramml already works in Los Angeles as a film producer. Ohan plans to enroll in the University of California Los Angeles’ graduate program in producing.
Asked why he decided to continue working in Los Angeles after graduation, Ramml responded, “I decided to remain in Los Angeles because of the connections I made while I attended AFI.” Ramml went on to say, “Most people want to work in Los Angeles because almost any genre of film can be shot here. Whether it’s a documentary, a music video, a commercial, anything at all – it’s shot here every day.”
George Ohan served in the United States Army for eight years prior to enrolling at Los Angeles Film School. As a student, Ohan had the opportunity to work on professional projects to build his resume. George has visited FilmL.A. many times for film permits for student projects and on behalf of film companies. Ohan was also among the first group of students to use FilmL.A.’s Online Permit System (OPS) to submit permit applications.
“I like the experience of applying in person,” Ohan admits, “but the OPS system allows me to apply from anywhere, which saves me time and money because I have to pay to park when I come downtown.”
When asked for words of wisdom to share with current film students, Ramml advised that students should, “be nice to everyone. Never forget the people who helped you.”
Ohan advised being proactive about community relations. “Shoot responsibly,” Ohan said. “You have to earn trust and credibility and build a rapport with the people in the cities in which you wish to do business.”