About the Film Office
The Pasadena Film Office coordinates all on-location production (features, television series, commercials, student films, independent films, still fashion shoots, etc.) in the City of Pasadena. We also market our City to the entertainment industry as a potential filming location.
See Film Permit Processing Times to ensure yourself and the Film Office sufficient time to process and issue your film permit.
100 N. Garfield Ave 4th Floor
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: (626) 744-3964
Fax: (626) 396-7567
Services Provided by the Pasadena Film Office
- A Pasadena specific location (scouting) library — on the Internet
- Coordination of all city permits and logistics (police, file, public works staffing, etc.) for all productions coming to Pasadena
- Mediation of disputes between local residents/merchants and film crews
- Assistance to local residents/merchants in promoting their properties to the entertainment industry
- Safety review of all proposed on-location productions
New Film Office Hours
The Pasadena Film Office is opened Monday-Thursday from 8am to 5pm and Fridays from 8am to 4pm. The Film Office is closed on holidays and every other Friday due to a 9/80 work schedule.
There is no filming in Pasadena from December 20th to January 7th as City resources are committed to the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade and post parade activities. In addition, we may not be able to accommodate certain projects for filming on dates leading up to the moratorium and after the moratorium. Permits submitted for filming November 15th – December 19th will be reviewed and considered on a case by case basis especially if they involve street activities.
Permit applications will not be accepted during the office closure.
Welcome to the Pasadena Location Library
Please read the following disclaimer and if you agree, click on the “I Agree” button below to enter the Pasadena Location Library.
Thank you for taking the time to visit the City of Pasadena Film Office website and reviewing our Legal Disclaimer. The City provides this site as a service to the filming community. City personnel and the general public may use this system to review and retrieve publicly available municipal information. Anyone using this system expressly consents to administrative monitoring at all times. You are further advised that system administrators may provide evidence of possible criminal activity identified during such monitoring to appropriate law enforcement officials. If you do not wish to consent to monitoring, exit this system now.
Disclaimer of Liability:
In preparation of this site, every effort has been made to offer the most current, correct, and clearly expressed information possible. Nevertheless, inadvertent errors in information may occur and information may become dated. In particular but without limiting anything stated herein, the City of Pasadena Film Office disclaims any responsibility for typographical errors and accuracy or timeliness of the information that may be contained on the City of Pasadena’s web pages. The City of Pasadena Film Office also reserves the right to make changes at any time without notice.
The information and data included on the City of Pasadena’s server(s) has been compiled by City staff from a variety of sources and is subject to change without notice. The City of Pasadena Film Office makes no warranties or representations whatsoever regarding the quality, content, completeness, or adequacy of such information and data. In any situation where the official printed publications of the City of Pasadena Film Office differs from the text contained in this system; the official printed documents take precedence.
If misleading, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate information is brought to our attention or other material any person should feel not be displayed, a reasonable effort will be made to fix or remove it. Please contact the webmaster at email@example.com with any concerns.
Disclaimer of Reliability:
The City of Pasadena Film Office makes no representations or warranties regarding the condition or functionality of this website, its suitability for use, or that this web service will be uninterrupted or error-free.
Disclaimer of Damages:
By using the City of Pasadena Film Office web pages, you assume all risks associated with the use of this site including any risk to your computer, software or data being damaged by any virus, software, or any other file that might be transmitted or activated via a City of Pasadena Film Office web page or your access to it. The City of Pasadena Film Office shall not be liable for any damages or losses of any kind (general, special, incidental or consequential damages, including, without limitation, lost revenues or lost profits) resulting from the use or misuse of the information contained in the City of Pasadena Film Office web pages.
Film Office Calendar
LEGEND: C = Commercial, DIR = Director’s Reel, ED = Educational, F = Feature Film, I = Infomercial, MUS = Music Video, PSA = Public Service Announcement, SP = Still photo, ST = Student, TV = Television, V = Video/DVD
All times and locations are subject to change.
- Print a hard copy of our Film Permit Application. Fill it out and fax it to us at 626-396-7567.
- If you are not sure whether or not a film permit is required for your filming activity (i.e. non-commercial use, special event), please submit a Filming Inquiry Sheet.
- If you are considering filming in a Pasadena park, please submit a Parks Reservation Form.
- Please confirm with the Film Office that your application was received.
Left Over Catering Food
If you have any left over catering food on the day of your shoot, the Pasadena Homeless Shelter could use it. Receive a tax break for your good deed.
Drop it by the Union Station Homeless Services, Pasadena’s Homeless Shelter at 412 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA. 91105
Call 626-240-4550 before your arrival.
A tax write off (donation form) will be prepared at the time of delivery.
Union Station Homeless Services is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest private agency serving the poor and homeless, providing more than 115,000 meals a and nearly 21,000 nights of shelter per year. Union Station’s supportive services include community healthcare, case management services, 12 step meetings, career development and job placement, legal assistance, transitional housing and special programs for homeless families. More than 70% of Union Station clients have found stable housing after their stay with the agency.
General Filing Rules and Regulations
The initial application process and subsequent follow-up will be handled through the Film Liaison, located at the Pasadena Permit Center, 100 North Garfield Avenue, Room S116, Pasadena, California 91109. Telephone 626-744-3964. Filming includes videotaping and still photography.
- Please fill out the Application Form completely and attach the following documents on the forms provided, as applicable:
a) Scaled Plan – required for all filming activities which require parking or occupancy of any vehicle, equipment, or person associated with the filming activity on the public right-of-way.
b) Permission to Use Property Form – required for all filming activities on privately owned property. Signed form provided must accompany film permit.
c) Signature Form – signatures are required from residents in residential areas and may be required in commercial areas.
d) Notification Letter – all residents and merchants within a half-block (300 feet) of the film location must receive notice of filming. The letter must be typed on film company letterhead per the attached instructions.
e) Student and Non-Profit – letter from the school or proof of non-profit organization must accompany the film permit.
f) Certificate of Insurance Form – must be on file with the City prior to filming activity. Requirements are: $1,000,000 General Liability; $100,000 Auto Coverage, and statutory limits for Worker’s Compensation .
NOTE: Complete application and applicable attachments must be submitted three (3) working days prior to filming. If there is a request or need for a street closure, application and attachments must be submitted five (5) working days prior to filming. Permits may be expedited in less than three or five days time with the signatures of approval from all affected property owners/tenants as stated in the
- City’s filming guidelines.
- For filming on City-owned property, the Film Liaison will coordinate the necessary arrangements (excluding: the Rose Bowl and Conference Center sites). The use of the Rose Bowl must be cleared by the Rose Bowl Coordinator, and the use of the Conference Center requires approval of the Conference Center Manager.
- Pasadena Municipal Code (P.M.C.), Section 5.16.250, regarding fees must be complied with (see attached schedule). Although application fees are waived for student projects, non-profit projects, director’s reels and public service filming, all other regulations will be enforced and a permit is still required.
- For protection and safety reasons, and to protect the integrity of the City’s residential neighborhoods, the following regulations have been established.
a) Written permission will be required from the property owner(s) and tenant(s) of each location to be used. There is a 300 feet notification requirement (linear distance in each direction from the front property lines on both sides of the street as well as any additional properties affected including properties abutting alleys used for transportation. For filming occurring in backyards, the Film Office will request notification of property owners behind the film location. The Film Liaison also has the right to require signatures from these additionally impacted neighbors). In residential areas, written permission is required from the property owners or tenants affected by filming (i.e., noise, lights, parking, or filming in front of their property). All overnight filming, including set up and strike down (before 7:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m.), in a residential area will require 75% signatures on a Friday or Saturday, and all other days of the week will require 90% signatures to film overnight in a residential area. However, the following neighborhoods that have been continually in high demand by the filmmakers or would be high demand without special protections will remain at 100% including: Madison from California to Glenarm; Oakland from California to Glenarm; Fillmore from Los Robles to El Molino; Alpine from Los Robles to El Molino; Miles from Los Robles to Oakland; Prospect Blvd. From Orange Grove to Lincoln; Prospect Square from Prospect Blvd. to Rosemont; Prospect Crescent – the entirety; Prospect Terrace from Prospect Blvd. to Rosemont; Armada from Westgate to Prospect Blvd. ; Palmetto from Grand to Orange Grove; La Mesa between Armada and Prospect Blvd.; Grand Avenue from Locke Haven to California; South San Rafael from Colorado Blvd. to La Loma including San Rafael Lane. Street closures in residential or commercial areas will require 100% signatures at any given time. At condos or apartment complexes, the film company may obtain either the signature of the designated representative or those tenants within 100 feet of the parking or filming activity.Commercial properties: Although past administrative practice has required signatures from all merchants or property owners if filming or parking occurs in front of their commercial properties, this is more closely defined as follows:
- In commercial areas, signatures are required from property owners or tenants who fall within the impacted area. The impacted area is defined from the first to the last truck, camera placement, and personnel or equipment set up on the side of the street where the activity is occurring.Definition clarification: “Residential” means residential, public, semi-public and open space districts and “commercial” means all other zoning districts, mirroring the long-standing distinction made for quarterly filming allocations in 17.16.080 in the Zoning Code.
- Exceptions to the restrictions may be granted in extreme circumstances upon review by the Film Liaison and/or Police Department. Any deviation to conditions imposed by the Film Liaison on a filming use permit can only be granted by the Film Liaison or Zoning Administrator.
- No gunfire or blank fire, bull horns, siren or public address systems shall be used in violation of the Pasadena Noise Ordinance. Such requests shall be reviewed by the police and fire departments.
- Helicopter landings, or filming from the air will not be permitted without explicit written permission from the City Manager or their designee. A safety meeting is required with the Film Liaison, the film company pilot and a flight safety expert from the Pasadena Police Heliport. The Film Liaison will not recommend approval of any air filming without a safety walk through in advance of the air filming. Helicopter filming is banned in residential areas. Helicopter filming is allowed in a non-residential area with signatures obtained from every affected property owner/tenant within a 2000′ radius of the location.
- Any requests from the City Manager’s Office will be processed by the Film Liaison.
- Street parking in residential areas is not permitted, except a limited number of equipment vehicles used to produce the film may be parked at the site in accordance with a parking plan drawn to scale on the City form and approved by the Police Department. No film permits will be issued without the approval of the parking plan. Vehicles involved with film production (including crew cars and catering trucks) may park in private driveways or at zoned parking lots.
- Guidelines for permits to conduct filming activity and exceptions will be strictly enforced. In the event a violation occurs, the following procedure will be followed:
a) A complaint is received by the Film Liaison or the police officer at the location.b) They investigate the validity of the complaint and determine if any city guidelines, ordinances or permit restrictions are being violated.c) If any violations are identified, they ask to speak with the location manager. They identify the violations for the location manager, discuss appropriate remedies and establish a timeline to rectify the problem. (i.e. Police officer states to location manager: “That truck is parked in front of a home that did not sign their approval for this activity. Please have it moved in the next 20 minutes.”)
- d) Then it is incumbent upon the film company to take the directed action within the established timeline.e) If the action isn’t taken within the established timeline, the Film Liaison or police officer will consult with the location manager and find out why it wasn’t remedied. If the company is unable to comply, the Film Liaison or police officer needs to determine if there are valid safety or logistical reasons for the violation. Valid logistical is defined as any change to the permit which will expedite the filming, minimize impact to the neighborhood, and has the verbal approvals of the affected neighbors as witnessed by the on site police officer. If there are valid reasons (for the protection of the public or crew) that the permit is being violated, the Film Liaison or police officer may issue a change to the original permit conditions.If there is no valid reason for the violation and if the violation actually threatens public safety or peace, the Film Liaison or police officer will stop the production until the situation is rectified. If the company refuses to rectify the situation, the Film Liaison and police officer will shut down the production for the day.f) The next step involves sending a letter of complaint from the Film Liaison to a responsible production executive at the studio. The Film Liaison will inform the executive that a civil penalty of $848.50 dollars per violation has been accessed. If the production company does not pay their civil penalty by the deadline established by the Film Office, they will not be issued any additional film permits until all penalties are paid.A company audit of on-location safety practices and procedures will be requested by the Film Office. The Film Liaison will request to review the results of this audit. In the letter of complaint, the Film Liaison will also inform the executive that the company will be banned from the City for a specified period of time if any violations occur on future productions after the audit is completed.g) Regarding repeated violations at a particular location, the following guideline will apply: In the case of repeated violations, documented by the on-site officer or film office, and resulting complaints at a particular location, based on the recommendation of the Film Liaison, which is concurred by the Planning Commission, permits for short term filming and long term filming will not be granted for a period of up to a year.
- Required Public Safety Employees (Police and Fire)
a) Off-duty police and/or fire personnel requirements shall be determined by the Police and Fire Departments, and any personnel required at the location(s) shall be at the permittees’ expense (see attached Fee Schedule).
b) Payment for personnel must be made upon receipt of permit, and any additional hours of work will be billed by the Accounts Receivable Department of the City.
c) A minimum of six (6) hours is to be paid for each public safety employee required by the permit, or requested by the permittee. Additional public safety personnel may be requested by the permittee at the time the application is filed. Note: For shoots which are 12 hours or longer, 2 shifts of officers may be assigned and minimums due on each shift.
d) The responsibilities of the public safety personnel encompass the interest of the citizens of Pasadena as well as the movie company. These officers are employees of the City, not the movie company, and they will enforce all City regulations and the provisions of the film permit.
e) On-site supervision by public safety personnel are in the public interest, however, the requirement for both a firefighter and police office may be modified at the discretion of those departments.
- Frequency of Filming: Filming frequency at a single site is restricted to six (6) days per quarter for a maximum of 24 days per year in a residential area, and 15 days per quarter, 60 days maximum in a commercial area. Property owners and/or film companies wishing to exceed this limit may apply with the Film Liaison for a Temporary Filming Conditional Use Permit (TFCUP). Still photography, student filming, and non-profit projects are exempt from this regulation.
Still Photography: The following guidelines will apply for still photography for commercial clients: All personal vehicles and motorhomes must be legally parked at all times. In metered areas, still photographers are required to pay meter fees for all production and personal vehicles. Any large vehicles such as motorhomes can only be parked on the street in front of a residence or business with the written or verbal approval of the property owner. Private parking of large vehicles is encouraged. Still photographers and their equipment may not block sidewalk and alleyway access. Pedestrian access must be maintained at all times. Signatures are not required from property owners or tenants for still photos taken on city property; however, photographers are required to introduce themselves to any property owner or tenant affected by still photography in the public right-of-way in front of their property. They are to receive verbal consent to conduct activity in the public right-of-way from these individuals. If the property owner or tenants object, still photographers must relocate their activities to another location. Any still photography activity on city streets may require the assistance of the Pasadena Police Department. The Film Liaison may waive any hour restrictions or any other restrictions upon determination that the activity will pose no impact to the surrounding neighborhood.
Creating a Special Filming District
The Special Filming District Guidelines apply to residentially zoned areas and can be requested by the neighbors with a petition of 2/3rd’s of the property owners within the area defined on the petition or by the Film Liaison upon receipt of complaints involving filming volume, problematic logistics (i.e. lack of available parking for residents, etc.), previous filming violations or legitimate health and safety issues in the defined area.
Once the establishment of these special guidelines is requested, staff will mail one notice with the dates and times for Workshop #1 and Workshop #2. Workshop #1 must be held at least 14 days from the mailing of the notice. Workshop #2 will occur at least 7 days after Workshop #1. Staff may also include a copy of our current filming ordinance and guidelines as well as any other special filming guidelines for information purposes.
To maximize the efficiency of the process, the two workshops will be organized in the following fashion:
Workshop #1: Introduce the concept and process of creating special filming guidelines. State the City’s philosophy regarding neighborhood empowerment and protection. Discuss the examples of what other neighborhoods have done. Allow time for those in attendance to define the filming problems they have experienced in their specific neighborhood.
Workshop #2: Staff will provide some suggested guidelines for discussion based on the problems defined at Workshop #1. The neighbors will be asked to suggest guidelines they feel will help alleviate filming impacts in their neighborhood.
After Workshop #2 is conducted, staff will prepare a draft of the suggested guidelines from the workshops and will ask the City’s legal staff to review. Any conflicting or legally indefensible guidelines will be identified by the City Attorney’s Office. The Film Liaison may also modify the guidelines if the suggested guidelines are so restrictive as to essentially eliminate all filming in the defined area.
This process allows for the establishment of Special Filming District Guidelines without Planning Commission or Council approval. The guidelines may be established by the Film Liaison in cooperation with the neighbors. A finalized copy of the guidelines will be mailed to all residents in the defined area. Each property owner in the defined area will be mailed a ballot which allows him or her to accept or reject in its entirety the special filming district guidelines.
If 2/3rd of the property owners accept, the Film Liaison will implement the special guidelines.
However, as per section 17.104.030 of the Pasadena Municipal Code, decisions of the Film Liaison may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
If a neighborhood decides it no longer wishes to have special filming district guidelines in their area, they may request it’s suspension with a petition of 2/3rd’s of the property owners within the defined area. Once this occurs, the area will be subject to the citywide ordinance and guidelines.
17.61.090 – Filming Permits
- Purpose. This Section establishes procedures for the granting of Filming Permits that:
- Applicability. Filming activities shall not be conducted, established, or operated in any manner without theapproval and maintenance of a valid Filming Permit in compliance with this Section.
- Filming activities. The following temporary filming activities may be allowed, subject to the issuance of aFilming Permit.
- Allowed. Property in any zoning district, unless otherwise specified in this Zoning Code, may beused as a filming location for filming, including the filming of motion pictures, professional photography, or videotaping.
- Exemptions. A Filming Permit shall not be required for filming activities for personal use or entertainment, nor shall any permit be required for filming for use in news gathering, investigative reporting, or for public and municipal access stations.
- Application filing, processing procedures, and action. An application for a Filming Permit shall be filed with the Department and processed in the following manner.
- Application requirements. An application for a Filming Permit shall be filed with the Film Liaison. The application shall be accompanied by the information identified in the Department‘s FilmingPermit application. The applicant shall be responsible for providing the evidence in support of the findings required by Subsection H. (Findings and decision), below, for Filming Conditional UsePermits.
- Filming Conditional Use Permit procedures.
- The standard notice procedure identified in Chapter 17.76 (Public Hearings) shall be followed, except that the mailed and posted notices shall be within 300 feet of the boundaries of the filming location.
- The Film Liaison shall set a date and time on which the application will be considered. The public hearing notices shall be mailed and posted at least 14 days before that date. The hearing notice shall indicate that any interested person may request, in person or in writing, that a hearing be held on that date.
- Applicable review authority. The Film Liaison shall be the applicable review authority for FilmingPermits.
(2) 15 or fewer days per quarter of a calendar year in all other zoning districts.
(1) More than six days per quarter of a calendar year in residential, public, and semi-public zoning districts; or
(2) More than 15 days per quarter of a calendar year in all other zoning districts.
(2) If a hearing is not requested, the decision may be made without a hearing.
- Effective dates.
- Adjustment of standards. The Film Liaison may authorize an adjustment from the specific standards deemed necessary or appropriate consistent with the temporary nature of the filmingactivity.
- Other permits required. Filming activities may be subject to additional licenses, inspections, or permits required by applicable local, State, or Federal requirements.
- Duration of permit. A Filming Conditional Use Permit shall be effective until the date specified by the Film Liaison, not to exceed 90 days.
- The permit may be extended by the Film Liaison one time without notice and hearings, subject to making the same findings required for the original approval of the permit, in compliance with Subsection H. (Findings and decision) below.
- The Film Liaison may extend the permit up to an additional 90 days beyond the 180 days.
(1) This extension shall require a noticed public hearing in compliance with Chapter 17.76 (Public Hearings); and
(2) The Film Liaison shall have to make the same findings required for the original approval of the permit, in compliance with Subsection H. (Findings and decision), below, before granting this extension.
- The permit shall become void if not used within the approved time period.
- Findings and decision. The Film Liaison may approve a Filming Conditional Use Permit, with or without a public hearing and with or without conditions, only after first finding that:
- The proposed filming activity would be located and conducted in a manner conforming with the goals, policies, and objectives of the General Plan and the provisions of this Section; and
- Approval of the application would not be detrimental to property or improvements in the surrounding area or to the public health, safety, or general welfare.
- Conditions of approval.
- Filming Conditional Use Permits. In approving a Filming Conditional Use Permit, the Film Liaisonmay impose conditions (e.g., hours of operation, lighting, parking, performance guarantees, property maintenance, signs, time limits, traffic circulation, etc.) deemed reasonable and necessary to ensure that the approval would be in compliance with the findings required by Subsection H. (Findings and decision), above, and to preserve the public health, safety, and general welfare.
- General filming conditions.
- Filming, including setup and dismantling of film activity, shall not be done before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. The Film Liaison may extend these hours upon a showing of necessity and upon showing the exception would not disturb the public.
- Bull horns, explosions, gunfire, public address systems, sirens, or other noise-creating devices shall not be used in violation of the City‘s Noise Ordinance. Requests for noise-creating devices shall be reviewed by the City‘s Police and Fire Departments. A noise monitor may be assigned by the Film Liaison.
- Filming Permits shall not be issued for sites where outstanding uncorrected violations of this Zoning Code or the City‘s adopted Uniform Fire Code exist.
- Specified Short-term Filming Permit conditions. The Film Liaison may impose conditions on Short-term Filming Permits for protection of the public, including without limitation the following:
- Minimum insurance requirements, including the City as additional insured, with proof of insurance, and provisions forbidding cancellation of insurance in the forms and amounts deemed necessary by the Film Liaison;
- A parking plan for vehicles used in the filming session;
- Written permission from affected property owner(s) and tenant(s);
- Attendance during setup and the filming session by uniformed police officers or firefighters at the applicant‘s sole cost and expense; and
- The Film Liaison may impose additional conditions on Short-term Filming Permits, deemed reasonable and necessary, to ensure preservation of the public health, safety, and general welfare.
- Filming activity guidelines. The Council may adopt, by resolution, guidelines to be applied in granting Filming Permits and establishing conditions in compliance with this Section.
- Condition of site following temporary use. Each site occupied by a temporary filming activity shall be cleaned of debris, litter, or any other evidence of the filming activity upon completion or removal of the activity, and shall thereafter be used in compliance with the provisions of this Zoning Code. The Film Liaison may require appropriate security before initiation of the filming activity to ensure proper cleanup after the use is finished.
- Post-approval procedures for Filming Conditional Use Permits.
- Appeals. Shall be in compliance with Chapter 17.72 (Appeals).
- Revocations. A Filming Conditional Use Permit may be revoked by the Film Liaison effective immediately for violation of the terms of the permit.
- Modifications. The Film Liaison may require changes in the terms or conditions of an approved Filming Conditional Use Permit at any time while it is in effect if needed to ensure that the activity may continue to operate consistent with the required findings identified in Subsection H, above.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide particular scrutiny and more stringent conditions for Film Permits in Frequently Filmed Areas. The Guidelines are based on a three-step process:
- determine the geographical boundaries of the neighborhood most impacted by the proposed filming, the Measuring Neighborhood;
- determine if the Measuring Neighborhood has been a frequently filmed area during the preceding 90 day period;
- and if so, devote extra scrutiny to the proposed film permit, and impose mandatory conditions if it is approved.
For the purposes of these guidelines, the area considered to be affected by the proposed film permit (the “Measuring Neighborhood”) includes all property within one-half block in both directions of the location on both sides of the street
DETERMINATION OF FREQUENTLY FILMED AREA
After defining the Measuring Neighborhood, the recent frequency of filming in such a Neighborhood is evaluated as follows:
If one or more film locations have been used in the Measuring Neighborhood, for a total of 6 days in a residential area or 15 days in a commercial area, within a 90-day period preceding the proposed filming, the permit is considered to be a Film Permit in a Frequently Filmed Area.
FACTORS FOR EVALUATING LEVEL OF IMPACT
All proposed film permits in Frequently Filmed Areas will receive particular scrutiny with regard to the following factors:
- Public disturbance or other problems connected with prior filming in the Measuring Neighborhood within the past 90 days.
- Frequency of filming in the Measuring Neighborhood during the calendar quarter when the filming will occur.
- Number of filming days requested.
- Number of days needed for pre-filming and any other film-related activity.
- Nature and impact of filming activity.Proposed number of vehicles on the street.
- Availability of on-street parking.
- Adequacy of proposed parking plan.
- Width of street proposed for parking.
- Containment of activity on private film location.
Any permit requests for filming in a Frequently Filmed Area may be approved, conditionally approved, or denied. The following conditions shall apply to any approved film permit in a Frequently Filmed Area, in addition to any other conditions imposed by the Film Liaison. Film companies must understand that obtaining a film permit in a Frequently Filmed Area is not considered routine.
Filming hosts should not assume that film permit requests in their frequently filmed area will be approved. It is well within the City’s legal right to deny the permit to prevent potential neighborhood fatigue.
- No extension of the regular hours of filming (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) will be authorized before 7:00 a.m. or past 10:00 p.m. The Film Liaison, at his/her discretion, may waive this condition if consent is received from 100% of the property owners in the Measuring Neighborhood.
- The location manager, or his or her designated representative, must be present at the filming location until pre-filming activities are completed, and must communicate to the production company the conditions of the permit.
- Companies will be required to include information on construction and strike-down plans on the notification form. The company must attach additional information if the space on the form is insufficient. For a permit in a Frequently Filmed Area, each day which involves exterior construction or strike down will be counted towards the maximum number of days for purposes of calculating quarterly filming allocations under section 17.90.20 (1. & 2.) unless all such construction activities occur on the property with no vehicles outside the property, and construction does not violate section 59.36 of the Pasadena Municipal Code.
The City may withdraw a permit and stop the production in the event the permitee does not adhere to all conditions of approval.
The existing instructions and regulations adopted by the City Council will remain applicable except as modified by these Guidelines.
Guidelines for Frequently Filmed Areas
Why does Pasadena allow filming to occur?
Ever since 1896 when Thomas Edison Company filmed in our fair city, Pasadena has been a popular filming location for the entertainment industry.
According to a 2001 payroll audit by the Motion Picture Association of America, $333 million dollars in production payroll is paid to Pasadeneans employed in film production each year: a major benefit to our local economy ensuring the funding of vital community services such as police and fire.
The number of filming days allowed in a residential neighborhood is limited to 6 days per calendar quarter (15 days in a non-residentially zoned area) by the Zoning Code. The City of Pasadena has a Film Office that issues film permits and works with the neighborhoods and film companies.
What can I expect to occur during filming?
There are three types of companies which film in Pasadena: motion picture/television companies, commercial companies, and industrial/educational/student/video productions. A production can have anywhere from one pick-up truck for an educational film to 15 trucks for a major feature film.
Student/educational/video productions are small and not very noticeable. They usually involve a maximum of 12 people, a small van and a few cars.
Commercial companies will usually bring 5 small 20 foot trucks on location and 15 to 30 people. The trucks usually carry prop equipment, electrical cables, dollies and a camera. A small shuttle van will shuttle the crew to the location. They usually film during normal waking hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and cause minimum disruption in the community. Over 75% of the production that occurs in Pasadena is commercial.
Motion picture/television productions include the same equipment as commercials as well as motor homes for their actors and a catering set-up. Motion picture/television trucks tend to be longer (a maximum of 65 feet) because they need a larger variety of materials. The crews are also larger, usually 35-125 people. Film crews are required to base camp their personal cars, catering set-up, motor homes and most of the trucks on private property. You may notice that the police officer will stop traffic intermittently when the companies back their trucks onto the property when they arrive. Shuttle vans will pull up in front of the location property throughout the day to pick up personnel.
How will I know when a film company wants to shoot in my neighborhood?
The City requires that film companies provide a written notice on their company stationery to all property owners/tenants within 300 feet of the filming location on each side of the street. This notice includes the company name, the dates and times of the proposed filming, the geographical area affected, the area to be posted with “no parking” signs, and any construction and set removal plans.
What are signatures of permission?
Signatures are required at all times from property owners and tenants affected by filming or parking in front of their property. Signatures guarantee that those directly impacted have been notified. Additional signatures must be obtained if a company proposes to film past 7 p.m., but no later than 10 p.m.: a majority 51% of signatures within 300 feet of the filming location on both sides of the street. After 10 p.m. or before 7 a.m., 90% signatures are required (Sunday – Thursday) & 75% on Friday and Saturday.
How will the city know where the company will park and conduct the filming activity?
All film companies who plan to park or film on the street must prepare a parking plan. The parking plan shows the exact locations where the vehicles will be parked on a street. The addresses of surrounding properties are listed on the parking plan along with the width and length of the roadway. The Film Liaison compares the parking plan with the signatures of permission. If a vehicle is placed on the map in front of a property where a signature is not listed, the Film Liaison will deny the parking until a signature is obtained. A copy of this map is provided to the on-site police officer who is assigned to the shoot to ensure permit compliance.
What can I do if I have special concerns regarding the company’s activity?
Any property owners/tenants with concerns regarding the company’s activity should inform the company representative, usually the location manager, who will be stopping by for your signature. Most companies will be very interested in meeting your needs, since they want to establish a positive relationship with the Pasadena community. However, you are certainly encouraged to notify the Film Office of any concerns at (626) 744-3964 before the filming occurs. The Film Office may attach special conditions to the permit which address your specific concerns.
If you have some difficulties when the company is on location, immediately notify the Pasadena police officer at the location. The police officer is an employee of the City, not the film company. They are there to ensure that the company is in compliance with the permit requirements. If you believe that the police officer is unable to resolve the situation, you may request that the officer contact the Film Office staff who can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by cell phone.
How does the city determine if my neighborhood is a frequently filmed area?
If a total of 6 days of filming have occurred in a residential neighborhood (15 days in commercial area) over a 90 day period of time, the area is considered frequently filmed. Hours of filming and parking will be limited. Construction and set/prop removal days will be included as part of the quarterly filming allocations on these permits. The Film Office may add other special conditions or deny a permit altogether in an area which has met this legal definition.
How do I rent my house to the film industry?
Contact the Film Office at (626) 744-3964 and we will send you an information packet regarding registering your house with the City of Pasadena on our web site and in our library. You may register on-line as well. Go to: Register Your Property.
The California Film Commission has created a booklet called “Your Property in a Starring Role” (within the “Filming in your Community” link). This guide provides important information and sample contracts for those who are interested in this opportunity. The California Film Commission has a location library which features pictures of locations around the State. The Commission also maintains a list of location managers and production companies which they will mail to you. This will allow you to mail a brochure with pictures of your house directly to the people who scout for locations. The California Film Commission’s number is (323) 860-2960.
If I decide to host filming, what can I do to create a positive relationship with my neighbors?
The most important thing you can do is be involved! It is recommended that you do the following:
1. When a company plans to film at your property, volunteer to walk around with the company representative while they notify your neighbors and obtain signatures.
2. Encourage your neighbors to call you directly if they have questions or concerns. Be responsive to their needs.
3. Request that the film company show you a copy of the approved film permit.
4. Designate someone in your family or among your employees as a monitor. This designee should be present during all filming hours and watch to ensure that the company is complying with the permit.
5. If you host filming more than once in a great while, show your appreciation to your neighbors. Acknowledge their support by inviting them to dinner, sending them a beautiful gift basket, or throw a block party once a year and invite all your neighbors.
You can also simply talk to your neighbors on a regular basis. Find out if any problems occurred and what could be changed so filming will run smoothly next time.
The California Film Commission (CFC) was established within the Department of Commerce to attract and promote film production in California. The CFC acts as a “red-tape cutter” for production problems on the local level and a an intermediary for businesses and communities in their dealings with film companies.
The California Film Commission’s goal is to make it easier for you to say “yes” and ensure that all your filming experiences are positive.
This page is designed to give you an overview of the film industry. If you need further information or have further questions, please contact the Pasadena Film Liaison’s office for a copy of the CFC’s manual.
WHY SHOULD YOU RENT YOUR PROPERTY TO THE FILM INDUSTRY?
The film industry will compensate you for the use of your property.
Film production in your business can be a unique and fun experience for your employees and customers. It provides a break from the routine and can promote a sense of pride in the workplace.
It Provides Promotional Opportunities
Filming can attract media of all kinds and can be used to promote your company. If your location is an established set, then that can be used to promote business. You can use that information to attract the public to you.
It’s Good For The Regional Economy
Filmed and taped entertainment is a $20 billion dollar industry and is the number two export in the United States. As of 1996, the filmed entertainment industry became the number one employer in Southern California.
The Necessity Of Location Filming
Companies film more on location than on the studio lot because it provides a more realistic look, it’s less expensive, and it’s faster. If they intend to film on location, we want them spending production dollars and hiring our people here in Pasadena.
WHO IS THE FILM INDUSTRY AND WHY ARE THEY IN SUCH A HURRY?
Types Of Production, Schedules, Budgets
There are three forms of production that will be addressed here: feature films, television and commercials. “Preproduction” is the period of time a company has to prepare to film, and it can vary dramatically from show to show. Feature films have the luxury of longer lead times, but television and commercials suffer from severe time crunches. This requires companies to find and secure locations in just a few days.
The average filming day is 12 hours long, and can cost a company up to $100,000. For features, television or commercials, the scheduling of each production day is very important to keep the show on time and on budget. Scheduling a shooting day means allowing time and money for:
- the cast and crew to drive from the studio to the location;
- parking trucks, vans and trailers;
- unloading equipment;
- setting up lights, sets, props;
- location “moves” (moving the whole operation to a second or third location).
The First Call
In most cases a location manager will call you to request the use of your property for filming. After you have determined that your property is available, the first questions to ask the location representative are:
- type of production (commercial, television, feature film);
- name of the company – title of production
- shooting days (how many? nights or days?);
- any set dressing, prep days;
- description of activity;
- number of people and vehicles;
- pyrotechnics or stunts?
If you do not recognize the company’s name, there are several ways to determine credibility:
- ask for references from the company’s last several locations;
- ask for the “list of credits”;
- ask for a contact with a parent company (sometimes independents work out of studios);
- ask for proof of insurance;
- call and ask the California Film Commission.
When considering the location request, take into account:
- how do your tenants feel about filming?
- can a camera, lights and 30 people fit in the area?
- is it safe to film there? any problems with fire regulations or building safety? The CFC has a representative who can assist you with these questions.
How much are you going to charge to rent your location? If you are a small business (shop or service), you should be compensated for all lost business while your premises are closed for filming in addition to a location fee. If you are a larger business and not necessarily put out of business for the filming day, but inconvenienced, base your price on the going rate other businesses are charging. Leave negotiating room for differing types of activity and impact.
We recommend that property owners develop a sliding fee scale that takes into consideration various production budgets, crew size and overall impact. In addition, it is important to charge fees based upon the length of the company’s stay. Many times they will ask to film for a half day or less.
You may wish to have different fees for interior versus exterior filming, with interior being more expensive.
Decide whether you will have an all-inclusive rate (that includes an on-site monitor, electrician and any other required building services or personnel) or a use fee plus reimbursements. If the latter, then provide estimates to the production company of the approximate cost of these services and personnel.
If the location works artistically and logistically for both the production and for you, the location manager will return with the director, first assistant director, unit production manager and the art director to conduct the “survey.”
The director or art director may ask if things can be added, moved or removed for the shot. Be as flexible as you can – the director is trying to match the location to the script.
Who gives the final approval? Who signs the location contract? If the person responsible for giving approval is unavailable, who may act in their place? Time is of the essence when a production company is making final arrangements for a location. Many locations have been lost because approval for use could not be given in time.
This is the most important part of hosting film production. It is vital to include as much information in the location agreement/contract as possible.
You need to determine what your role will be when companies are using only tenant space and no common areas. We recommend that if the common areas of the building are not impacted by the filming, then no contract needs to be executed with the building itself. If the entire property is tenant occupied, then the entire agreement should be with the tenant. If you generally have a “no sublease” clause in your leases, you may want to exclude filming/location use.
It is wise to require payment or partial payment up front – before the shoot is scheduled to begin. You may also request a damage deposit at this time.
Most insurance policies for filming on location cover liability up to $1 million. Make sure that the name or your company or business and your employees are named as “additional insureds.”
The City of Pasadena has its own local regulations for filming which is approved by the City Council. View the Filming Rules listed above.
Register Your Property For Filming
The City of Pasadena Film Office is working in partnership with VisionNet Inc. to host our location library. They have created a property uploader where you can upload your own photos and information immediately and have it hosted on yearly basis in our library for a nominal fee ($29.95 a year). Once you register, you can change your photos and information as much as you like.
Please select “Sign Up” and “Vision Property” to get started. Please ignore the security warning screens and continue to the registration page. It is fine to do so.
PLEASE NOTE (NEIGHBORHOOD COORDINATION FEE): In July 2004, the City began assessing a new fee to filming hosts to cover costs and services we have provided for free for a number of years. A large portion of City Film Office service includes ensuring that all property hosts’ neighbors are informed and their concerns are addressed in a timely fashion. A Film Host Fee of $178.30 per day will be charged to filming hosts, be it the property owner or tenant.
Film Comments & Complaints