A “filming permit” is a document generated by a governmental agency that gives you permission to film in that city or area. The permit is different from a Location Agreement, which is signed by a specific property owner giving you permission to use their property. Generally, you need both documents.
Pepperdine requires all student productions be “permitted”. Failure to obtain permits will be considered a violation of our policy. In locales that don’t require permits, proper documentation that notes this exemption is required.
Be aware that there are legal ramifications to getting caught filming without a permit. In Los Angeles, the LAPD can confiscate the filmmaker’s equipment and charge them with misdemeanor violations.
Los Angeles Film Permits - FILM LA, INC
A film permit issued by FILM LA, INC is required to legally film or tape within unincorporated Los Angeles County and / or the cities of Los Angeles, Diamond Bar, Culver City, Santa Monica and South Gate.
**Yes, you need a permit to film in your own living room or backyard.
Students who contact Film LA are assigned a full-time Student Production Coordinator, whose main objective is the help students navigate the local film permitting process. In order to be eligible for a student permit, applicants must be enrolled in a film production class or production co-curricular and will need a “Student Certification Letter” signed and issued by a professor.
If you use Film LA, submit requests at least two weeks in advance for processing. Permit/certifications should be provided to the location representative at least one week in advance to ensure they do not require additional information. If you need help navigating Film LA, ask your professor or Production Operations.
Here is a link which explains the steps for students to obtain a permit through FilmLA
FILM LA, INC may exempt your project from the film permit requirement – if your crew does not exceed three people; if there are few cast or other participants and if there is no extensive use of props and equipment. This is on a case by case basis.
You must have the “exemption” document in your possession while on location and must present it for inspection when requested by the Permit Authority, its authorized representatives, or the public.
FILMING IN OTHER AREAS
If your shoot location falls outside of the FILM LA, INC jurisdiction, you will have to determine which city or county government agency issues permits for that area. Almost every city, county, or state has a film permit office. Not all of them require students to get permits. If you shoot in a community that doesn’t issue filming permits, request an email stating so.
There are a few locations students are not allowed to shoot at, and the Safety Manual details those specifically. In some cases, special permission can be granted to film in these locations as long as the proper safety measures are in place and the proper insurance riders have been processed.
Examples of locations that might be approved for filming but are generally not encouraged:
In or under water
Any location that requires special rigging for the crew or the cast
Examples of locations that are disallowed for filming of any Pepperdine project:
Near, in, or on any helicopter, whether operational or non-operational
Near, in, or on any fixed wing aircraft, whether operational or non-operational
Near, in, or on any train or train tracks, whether operational or non-operational
Any location that requires car mounts or tow-shots for vehicles
(“near” is defined as within 100 yards of the disallowed object)
CITY OF MALIBU
Students filming within the city limits of Malibu are not required to obtain permits from the City of Malibu. However, there are State-owned and County properties within the city of Malibu that require permits which are issued by the California Film Commission and/or FilmLA. (See below for further details)
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA PERMIT OFFICE
California Film Commission 21
7080 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 900
Hollywood, CA, 90028
They do not charge any application or permit fees, however, you will be required to pay the wages of any State employees required on your set.
The State of California issues permits for all State-owned/operated facilities including the following:
-California State Parks
-Point Dume Headlands
-State Beaches (i.e. La Piedra Beach, El Pescador Beach, El Matador Beach)
Permits for Los Angeles County Parks are handled by FilmLA, Inc.
Permits for California State Parks are handled by the California Film Commission.
Permits for National Parks:
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Office of Special Park Uses
401 W. Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA, 91360
Angeles National Forest
If you want to film in a park located in a city or area other than those listed above contact the permit office of the city in which the park is located.
Most beaches are handled by FilmLA, Inc. If anyone is in the water, or if you have a large-scale production they will require a Lifeguard be present. Here is a link which further details the LA County Beach permitting process. https://beaches.lacounty.gov/film-photo-permit/
State beaches are handled by the California Film Commission.