Frequently Asked Questions

Filmmakers FAQ

In many cases you will not require a permit to film on private property. However, there are exceptions and it is best to confirm details on your shoot in advance to determine if a permit is required.
The letter or door hanger notification is your first resource for filming information. The notification will give you a generalized idea of what to expect and who to contact. If you have specific questions about the filming taking place you may call the Film Office or the Location Manager. The Location Manager is the best point of contact if you’ve got questions related to the specifics of filming, including parking questions.
If you have concerns related to filming it is best to call the Film Office and/or speak directly with the Location Manager for the particular project. Most issues can be resolved over the phone. However, if you’d like to submit a formal letter, you may submit it to the Film Office. All concerns, whether shared on the phone or in writing, will be addressed to the best of our abilities. We will do what we can to resolve any issues and are committed to helping prevent future reoccurrences. Please remember that it is difficult to address concerns if we are not made aware of them.
Location management companies actively promote filming at the locations their company represents. A list of local locations are listed under the Locations section of our website. To add your location, Click “Submit Your Location” and follow the simple instructions. It is highly recommended that you include photos of your location.
The Film Office offers an easy way to list your business for free on our website under the Resources section. Click ‘Add Your Resource” and follow the simple instructions.
If you would like to delete or change any information you have provided for our web site, please send us an e-mail to detailing the title of the listing and the requested changes. A member of our staff will make the changes in a timely manner and inform you of the revised listing.
For safety and security reasons Film Office staff cannot release specific information about where productions are filming. Any information that we can provide is posted on the Credits section of our web site.
Sometimes productions contact the Film Office for assistance with identifying extras. When that happens, we post the information on the Events section of our website. However most of the time extras are already selected by the time the production is shooting. Many productions use casting companies for the hiring of extras.
The Film Office does not obtain specific listings relative to available area entertainment industry positions. The California Film Commission lists several resources for finding entertainment industry related jobs on their website. Many of the studios have job posting boards on their individual web pages.
In most cases production companies close sets when shooting on location. Crowds of on-lookers can create potential hazards for the production and the neighborhood in which they are working. However, some productions may be open to viewers, but production may limit viewing to specific areas. When in doubt, always check with a location crew member if you’re interested in observing. However, be sure to wait until all filming has stopped before approaching crew, and as a general consideration, remember to be quiet and respectful while filming is in progress.
Our office does not charge a fee, however there are many jurisdictions in the area that do charge for commercial productions filming on location. The fees vary based on amount of time location is needed, number of people on location, and many factors. However, we do have a lot of offerings that are very low to no cost. Once you have identified the type of location you need we will do our best to find a location that meets your production's budgetary needs. Student and non-profit productions often receive a fee waiver.
Yes, insurance is required for ALL productions, no matter how small.
You can find a list of Insurance Companies for Low Budget Productions HERE. Sometimes homeowners’ policies can add this to an existing policy.
Once all paperwork is received, processing time can be anywhere from three (3) business days to sixty (60) business days depending on jurisdiction. If the production is needing ITC, parking, neighborhood notification, street closures or larger scale coordination more time may be required.
For productions requesting use of police vehicles, staff, etc. the film commission is your liaison with the local police departments. Please be as specific as possible including dates, times, and details of the request on the appropriate permit application. Additionally, more notice may be needing to allow for staffing accommodation. A current fee schedule is available by contacting the film commissioner.
Notification is required if filming includes one of more of the following:
    1. Street Closure: 2 block radius
    2. Amplified Sound: 2 block radius
    3. Simulated Violence: 2 block radius
    4. Pyrotechnics: 2 block radius
    5. Intermittent Traffic Control: 1 block
Film notices must be distributed 72 hours before the shoot date/time. Hand out the film notice during the day between 8am-8pm and by 6pm for businesses. For apartment buildings, leave a film notice near the call button using blue painter’s tape only. For businesses, go inside the business and leave the film notice with the on-site manager. For homes, roll up the film notice and leave it on the door handle, under the door mat, or tape with blue painter’s tape near the mailbox (if mailbox is near the front door). Do not place film notices into the mailboxes of residences or businesses. Do not tape or staple film notices onto poles along the sidewalks within the neighborhood. Notification must include phone numbers of the production and the Upstate California Film Commission. Links to Necessary Documents: Sample Notification
Information about California’s $330 million annual Film & Television Tax Credit Program is available from the California Film Commission, which manages this program. More information can be found on the California Film Commission website.
Give us a call at (530) 690-1776 or email us at We’re here to help you, whether you have questions about the permit process, need location assistance, would like to share your concerns regarding filming or anything else filming related.

The following are not endorsements or recommendations. This information is provided to assist in the search for insurance companies and brokers who specialize in providing coverage to low budgets, one-time only productions, limited duration films, etc. Minimally you should inquire about rates for general liability, excess liability, workmen’s comp (including working with minors), hired auto, and if relevant, fire and marine coverage, Errors and Omissions. Other types of coverage may be required if performing stunts, aircraft, pyrotechnics. Information is subject to change without notice.

Always request a copy of the Endorsement Page from your insurance carrier listing all of your locations for your records. If the location is not physically added to the Endorsement Page those locations are not actually covered on the policy should you make a claim. Have the Endorsement Page along with the Certificate of Liability sent to property owners and agencies requiring proof of insurance.

Arts & Entertainment Insurance Brokerage
P O Box 1048
Marblehead, MA 01945
Work with budgets of all sizes

Film Emporium
1890 Palmer Ave; #403 Larchmont, NY 10538
Provides production insurance for annuals, short term, features, E&O

HUB International Insurance Services Inc.
3636 American River Drive Ste 200, Sacramento

Hammond, Martin, & Walsh Insurance—San Rafael
Provides coverage to small independents

The Liberty Company

Insure All
Provides coverage to small independents. Film Student Package. Feature, short and TV package.

InterWest Insurance Services
8950 Cal Center Drive, Sacramento
Sacramento, CA 95864
916.979.7992 Fax
Provides coverage to small independents

Truman Van Dyke Entertainment Insurance
6767 Forest Lawn, Ste 301 Los Angeles, CA 90068
One of the big entertainment insurance brokers for features but also has rates for one day productions.

Western Sentry Insurance Brokers

Updated 8/2019