Pre-Production: Understanding Location Permits and Fees

Finding locations is a key part of the pre-production process. Though you may find the perfect shooting location, you will still need to take steps beyond merely reaching an agreement.


Though this is an expensive cost, most rental houses will not give you equipment and most locations will not let you bring a shoot onto their property without insurance. You can try to make an arrangement regardless, but you will definitely not be able to get a permit from the city.


In order to shoot on location, you need to disclose this intention with the city. If you are shooting on the street, you will need to get a street permit. Even if you are shooting inside and are only putting lights on the street, you will still need permission for this. Public parks have additional levels of bureaucracy to traverse. Each city is different, but if you choose to ignore them, they can easily shut you down.


Locations will want some compensation. Film sets are destructive and intrusive, so such a request is understandable. The one advantage to you is that an exchange of funds reduces the chances of a last minute cancellation on the part of the location.

Location shooting can be a hassle. Prepare early to ensure a smooth shoot.

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