There’s no shortage of current filming locations in Ventura County, from hotels and resorts to historical sites and breathtaking beaches. But you may not be able to film in most public or private locations without written authorization.
Here are tips to secure your film permit or location release anywhere in the county.
- Contact the Ventura County Film Commission
Chances are that you’ll need an official permit to film in a public or historic location or building, even if you’re a student. You may contact the VC Film Commission to find out the jurisdiction of your preferred filming site. They will recommend the specific city authority or agency you should approach for the required commercial filming paperwork. Or maybe, for some reason, such as convenience or your film budget, you prefer to shoot on a private site. In that case, contact the property owner and request permission to use their facility. If you haven’t identified a site, you can check with the film commission for location-scouting assistance.
- Apply for Filming Permit in Time
You’ll want to start the process early because not all locations will be immediately available for shooting upon request. Expect strict policies if you’re looking to shoot on specific sites managed by government agencies, such as protected areas or state parks. Sometimes, you may need to apply for permission to film in a public facility several months before the filming date. To avoid delaying or stalling your film project, always sort out everything to do with film locations and permits in time.
- Check with the Local Government
There may be a film liaison office in the city where you intend to shoot your film. This organization may not necessarily be a government agency, but if they can’t issue the permits you need, they might refer you to a local authority that could. Local government officials can direct you to the appropriate office to get a permit for any current filming location in Ventura County.
- Consult Experienced Filmmakers
The permit process and requirements usually vary widely by jurisdiction. If you know someone in the local film industry that has used your preferred location, you can ask them how they went about it. Experienced filmmakers will know what’s required to complete your project by the book in specific locations that may interest you. Be sure to speak with legitimate film producers that followed due process rather than independent firms that may have gotten away with filming without the mandatory permits.
- Get a Written Filming Permit and Bring It to Set
Verbal authorization isn’t always enough to guarantee that you won’t run into legal trouble if you film in a specific location. This is why you should request valid documents indicating permission to shoot your film there. It can be a location release agreement or permit wherein the owner or managing agency authorizes you to use their site in writing. If you’re shooting on private property, insist on the owner providing a signed document indicating their permission to film and always have the required paperwork with you on set.
At Economic Development Collaborative, we’ve partnered with the Ventura County Film Commission to provide valuable resources and support to the local film industry. For guidance, please contact Film Liasion, Bill Bartels at the Ventura County Film Commission by email Info@VenturaCountyFilm.com or by calling 805.409.9947. Contact us today to learn more!