State Film Permits

Guidelines for State Parks Permits

Permits to film at state parks and beaches are jointly coordinated by the CFC and the state park rangers assigned to coordinate production activities in their respective districts.

These guidelines have been created to better serve the needs of productions applying for permits. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis and unforeseen circumstances may necessitate changes to these procedures. Please know that everyone involved will always do their best to accommodate your production.

Specific guidelines have been put in place to service the many productions that film at the Angeles District parks and beaches. (Angeles District encompasses all state parks and beaches in Los Angeles as well as County Line Beach, Point Mugu, and Leo Carrillo State Parks in Ventura County.)

Review the State Parks’ Film Guidelines when filming at state parks and beaches.

Check the CFC Production Alerts for alerts affecting filming at specific state parks and beaches.

State Parks Permit Contacts

California Film Commission Permit Coordinators
Catherine Adamic (For parks in L.A., Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties)
Tel: 323.817.4107

Helene Dervishian (For parks in all other counties not listed above)
Tel: 323.817.4106

Angeles District Superintendent / Acting Film Coordinator
James Valdez
Tel: 818.880.0358

State Parks Billing
Tel: 818.880.0392

Applying for a Parks Permit

Online Permit Application

Begin the process by calling the Park Film Coordinator for the park or beach where you want to film. In the Angeles District, call James Valdez at 818.880.0358. For another district, you may search for a state park or beach or contact a CFC permit coordinator.

There is no filming on weekends or holidays in most state parks and beaches.

Once you confirm that the park or beach is available for your dates, submit your completed permit application to the CFC at least four business days (or 96 business hours) in advance of filming.

A permit may be requested for multiple days.

When filling out applications, be as specific as possible. Include date(s), times, number of cast, crew, and background players as well as all anticipated activities.

Hours of operation are typically 8:00 a.m. to sunset. Requests before sunrise or after sunset will be considered and may involve additional costs.

Submit a separate application for each park.

Once you have booked a park or beach, the park will issue a form DPR245A (or a confirmation email will be sent from the CFC, depending on your location), and the CFC will send you an invoice for the review and estimated monitor fees. At the conclusion of your shoot, a final invoice will be issued for any overages or a refund will be issued if less time was used. PAYMENT must be made BEFORE A PERMIT IS ISSUED.

Fees and Payment

Parks charge cost-recovery fees in order to accommodate filming. Except for parking, these fees are collected by the CFC. The CFC provides its services and permits at no cost.

Current Review, Monitor, and Mileage Fees

Credit card payments are accepted (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover only – no American Express). The CFC will email you a credit card authorization form which you must complete and send directly to State Parks Billing.

Any parking or day use fees are to be paid directly to the park upon arrival, or the company will be invoiced directly by State Parks. Parking fees vary between $8.00-$15.00 per vehicle or space depending upon the park and season.

Cancelation Fees

If a permit is canceled with more than 24 hours’ notice (one full business day), no monitor fees will be imposed (the review fee however will not be refunded).

If a permit is canceled with less than 24 hours’ notice (one full business day), you will be obligated to pay all previously agreed-upon monitor fees.

Insurance

Insurance Requirements for Filming on State Property

The #1 reason permits are delayed or denied is incorrect or missing insurance documents. We recommend emailing these requirements to your insurance broker. 

List of Brokers That Offer Short-Term Production Insurance

UAS / Drones

State Parks reviews requests for filming with UAS/drones on a case-by-case basis. All required paperwork for use of a drone must be submitted at least seven (7) business days in advance. Requests involving both FAA section 333 exempted pilots and Part 107 Remote Pilot Airman certificate holders are being accepted.

CFC Guidelines on the Use of UAS (Drones) when Filming on State Property

Students

Parks charge a cost-recovery fee in order to accommodate filming. Students may be charged a discount rate for the park review fee ($65) as determined on a case-by-case basis by Parks. Students must submit a student certification letter from their school if they intend to use their school’s liability insurance.

Sample Student Certification Letter

General Guidelines

If you need to CANCEL your shoot call the Park first. Then let the CFC know.

If your shoot day is rained-out, some Park film coordinators will let you choose another day without charging additional fees.

When emailing questions or documents to the CFC team, always include the permit number in the subject line of your email.

Permit applications are reviewed by the Deputy State Fire Marshal and, depending on the activity (fuel loads, generators, stunts, effects, aerial work, live fire and/or weather conditions), a local Fire Safety Officer may be assigned to your shoot.

A water truck may be required on-set if dry weather conditions warrant it.

During periods of high or extreme fire danger, all special effects fires, as well as smoking, will be prohibited. Filming activity may be cancelled if the park is closed due to fire conditions.

If there is no fire danger, smoking is only permitted in designated parking lots and base camp areas, and metal containers with at least two inches of water are required for the disposal of cigarette butts.

A biologist may be required (for scouting and/or on shoot days) if filming occurs in an environmentally- sensitive area.

A lifeguard will be required if you will be working on or in the water. Production personnel may not camp out at Park campgrounds.

Angeles District Filming Guidelines

The Angeles District is no longer accepting “holds.” Instead, the production representative should call Film Coordinator James Valdez to determine if a park location is available and to reserve the location. Once a park or beach has been reserved, you must apply for a CFC permit and then pay any review and monitor fees.

On complex shoots, the first tech scout with a ranger is free. For subsequent scouts (that require a ranger), the production will be expected to pay the hourly rate for a ranger/monitor to accompany them (with a 4 hour minimum).

Don’t assume a permit has been approved because you’ve spoken to a park ranger. It’s not guaranteed until all activities have been approved, insurance documents have been submitted, and the permit has been issued by the CFC.

A CHP detail may be assigned to your shoot if construction is taking place in the vicinity of your location or if your activities include driving shots on State Park roads. To secure a CHP detail, call Officer Kristi Cardoza at 213.703.2070.

Monitors

The ranger in charge of filming will discuss with you if monitors are required, why, and how many. Many simple shoots do not require a monitor.

Depending on availability and the scope of your activities, monitors assigned to your shoot may be rangers/peace officers, maintenance or administrative personnel, park aides, lifeguards, or interpreters. 

State Parks Monitor Fees by Personnel Type

The number of monitors required will depend on the size of your cast and crew:

  • Less than 50 personnel = 1 monitor
  • 51-89 personnel = 2 monitors
  • More than 90 personnel = may require 3 monitors

Additional monitors may be assigned as required due to locations to be used, water work, special effects, fire conditions, or other hazards or complexities.

Depending on your location and the scope of your activities, monitors may stay with the shooting company all day or may do spot checks.

Monitors are paid portal to portal, generally adding one hour for travel time.

If a monitor has been booked, and the production then reduces the hours the monitor is needed, the monitor has the right to withdraw. Should that occur, there is no guarantee that another monitor will be available.

Revisions

Minor revisions are considered on a case-by-case basis and accommodated if possible. Please phone the park first and – once cleared – submit a revision online through the permit system.

A new permit application and possibly the beginning of a new 4-day approval process may be requested if:

  • The original application has been approved and a permit has already been issued.
  • There is a change of location and/or district.
  • There are too many major changes.
  • The change was added too late in the process.
  • Days are added that do not occur within the same week as the original permit.
Denials

Permits / revisions may be denied:

  • If applications and/or changes are submitted too close to the shoot date.

  • If there are extenuating circumstances (ongoing or new construction, public events, etc.).

  • If there are safety concerns about your proposed activities.

  • Your certificate of insurance is not complete.
If in Doubt as to Whether You Need a Permit

If you’re taking personal photos or are a student (or group of students) and don’t believe your activities are considered “commercial,” but you’re using commercial equipment, you’ll likely be stopped by park rangers and, without a permit, may be asked to leave. Always call the park film coordinator in advance to let him/her know what you you’d like to do and the date and time you’d like to be there. If approved, you will receive permission to be there (without the need of a permit) and will be on the park’s schedule for the day.

Simple vs. Complex Shoot

Simple

  • Maximum of 14 personnel including cast/crew/extras/vendors/clients

  • Using only small, light equipment and props such as camera, tripod, and reflectors – equipment one average person can pick up and carry (A folding camp or beach chair is a hand held prop, a Lazy Boy recliner is not)

  • Cast and crew arrives and departs during regular park hours (8:00 a.m. to sunset at most locations)

Complex

(One or more state monitors are required)

  • 15 or more total people, including cast/crew/extras/clients/vendors

  • Large props or equipment, reflectors

  • Prop/replica weapons

  • Generators

  • Helicopters

  • UAS (drones)

  • Animals

  • Special effects

  • Pyrotechnics

  • Moving picture cars or static picture cars in/about the public roadway excluding the parking lots

  • Filming on or alongside a park road open to the public

  • Aquatic activities (wading, swimming, kayaking, surfing, use of watercraft, etc.)

  • Arriving or departing before or after normal operating hours (8:00 a.m. – sunset at most parks)

  • Night filming

  • Filming in an environmentally or historically sensitive area

  • Filming in a state historic park

  • Filming in a state preserve

  • Driving vehicles on park service roads not open to public cars

  • Filming in high fire hazard areas

  • Fight scenes (fight scenes will always need a monitor, as the public will sometimes think an actual fight is going on and call the police)

By following the guidelines set forth above, the permit process runs smoother for all of us. And as you can see, just as it is in production, these procedures are subject to many variables. Be assured, however, that we will do our best to accommodate your request for permits.

Thank you for your cooperation.

California Film Commission
7080 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 900
Hollywood, CA 90028
Tel: 323.860.2960 | 800.858.4749
Email the CFC | About Us

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California Film Commission
7080 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 900
Hollywood, CA 90028
Tel: 323.860.2960 | 800.858.4749
Email the CFC | About Us

Stay Informed! Sign Up:
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California Film Commission
7080 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 900
Hollywood, CA 90028
Tel: 323.860.2960 | 800.858.4749
Email the CFC | About Us

Stay Informed! Sign Up:
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Production Alerts

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