Filmmakers FAQ

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Do I need a film permit when filming on private property?

All commercial filming in the City of Sacramento and unincorporated Sacramento County requires a permit whether on public or private property. Filming on a sound stage does not require a film permit.

How much does a film permit cost?

Sacramento Film + Media charges a permit fee of $100 for two consecutive weeks or 10 locations, whichever comes first. Student and non-profit films will receive a fee waiver.

What are the requirements for student filmmakers?

Submit a Permit Application, provide student ID, Certificate of Insurance, Endorsement Page, Teacher Approval Letter, COVID Statement Letter, and Workers Compensation Waiver.

Do I need insurance to obtain a film permit?

Yes, insurance is required for ALL productions, no matter how small.

Where do I buy insurance?

You can find a list of Insurance Companies for Low Budget Productions here. In addition, the City of Sacramento offers daily quotes for insurance. Please indicate you would like a quote when submitting your permit application (this will take 5-10 days). Sometimes homeowners’ policies can add this to an existing policy, so check with your parents or insurer.

Must I provide workers compensation coverage if I do not have employees?

You may submit a Workers Compensation Waiver letter if you have no employees, sample here.

How much time does my permit cover?

A permit has a maximum timespan of two consecutive weeks or 10 locations.

How long before I receive my permit?

Once all paperwork is received and if the shoot is simple and does not require ITC, parking, neighborhood notification, street closures or coordination with California Film Commission, CHP or Sacramento County, permitting can usually be completed in three (3) business days. If any of the above are required by the various departments it can take up to ten (10) business days.

What are the notification requirements?

You can find this information on our website under Filmmakers, Film Permit, Neighborhood Notification/Film Notice Guidelines.

What are the drone filming requirements?

The drone operator must obtain all authorizations as required at the time from the FAA, must submit a copy of the drone operator license, the drone registration certificate, and insurance to Sacramento Film + Media. The City of Sacramento does not have an official drone ordinance. It is important to note that we are in the vicinity of two major airports.

I have a special event permit. Do I also need a film permit if I am filming my event?

Film permits are intended for use when filming is your primary business purpose or for commercial use. Special event permits cover a wider range of activity (for example, marches, concerts, public assemblies). A special event may include some limited on-site filming for documentation or publicity purposes, and this will not generally require a separate film permit.

Where can I obtain information about the Film & TV Tax Credit Program offered by the State of California?

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.

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