Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use weapons?
A: Whenever you plan to film a scene that involves use of real, implied or prop weapons (swords, guns, knives, etc.) and/or real or prop ammunition, for safety reasons, you must have law enforcement on set. Please allow 10 business days in advance of the shoot to apply, pay for and schedule the necessary law enforcement resources. This is determined based on the information provided in your filming permit application.
Q: Do I need a filming/photography permit?
A: The simplest way to determine whether your project needs a permit is by submitting an application. While filling out the application, please include all of the details you have available. There is space on the application to list just about everything — location address, type of shoot, on set contact, special assistance, filming equipment, local hires, use of weapons, filming at night, and more. Once the application is submitted, we will review the application and advise how to proceed.
Usually, if the filming location is public property, (i.e., park, street or beach), you will need a permit. You'll likely also need a permit if: the shoot involves a large number of people and/or vehicles; talent, crew and/or equipment will be on sidewalks or streets; pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic will be impeded; proposed activity requires special assistance; if real or fake weapons are involved; or you plan to film at night. Privately-owned locations generally do not need a permit from our office. Instead, please coordinate shoot details and insurance requirements directly with the property owner.
Q: How much is a filming/photography permit?
A: Our permits are free.
Q: Are there any other costs?
A: If you don't already have it, you will need to purchase and submit proof of commercial general liability insurance with coverage effective on the date(s) of your shoot. Insurance requirements, certificate holder names and addresses, and other information is available on our website here. You are also responsible for all other costs associated with your shoot (when needed), including but not limited to, hiring off-duty law enforcement or city/county staff, obtaining a road closure permit, and scheduling park staff to oversee your shoot.
Q: How long does it take to get a permit?
A: The Film Commission does not approve filming/photography permits. We receive the production information and convey that information to the city/county in which you plan to shoot. Therefore, we need five business days after receipt of your completed application and certificate of insurance to process and obtain permit approval. For shoots that require special permission/assistance and all shoots at Heritage Village, please allow 10 business days to process approval. Once approved, we will email the filming permit to the applicant at the email address listed on the application. Please have the permit available at all times while on set.
Q: Can you help me find a job?
A: The St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission does not act as an employment agency. However, we do post casting calls and job announcements that we learn about on social media and in our newsletter. We highly recommend that you sign up to receive our newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page. You may also add your name and contact details to our Production Guide.
Q: Can you help me find a location for my shoot?
A: We maintain a database of hundreds of film-friendly locations in Pinellas County. Simply type a location name or keyword into the search box and see what comes up. If the search returns locations that match your criteria, click on the location name, and then click the Slideshow link to view all images. When you find a suitable location, click the Request More Info link and we will provide you with a contact name and number to call to discuss using the location for your next shoot. Know of any cool locations that aren't in our database? Send pictures and location details, and we will add the location into our database. No pics? No problem. Tell us the address, and we will go out and take photos and then upload into our database.
Q: What is an Endorsement Form?
A: An Endorsement Form is a page from your insurance policy that amends the policy to include coverage for the name of the insured. This separate form must accompany the certificate of insurance for all shoots on Pinellas County owned or managed property.
Q: What else can the Film Commission assist with?