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 TEN business days in advance of the production to apply, pay for and schedule the necessary law enforcement resources.
Q: Do I need a filming/photography permit?
A: Usually, if the filming/photo shoot location is public property, (i.e., park, street, beach or public building), 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 in the street; pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic may be impeded; the proposed activity requires law enforcement, fire marshall or other special assistance; if real or prop weapons will be used, or you plan to film at night. Privately-owned locations generally do not need a permit from our office. Instead, you will coordinate the shoot details and insurance requirements directly with the property owner/manager.
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, number of cast/crew, on set contact, special assistance, filming equipment, filming start/end times, local hires, use of real OR prop weapons, filming at night, and more. After your application is submitted, we'll review it and advise how to proceed.
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 are available on our website here. When applicable, you are also responsible for all other costs associated with your production including but not limited to, hiring off-duty law enforcement or city/county staff, obtaining a road closure permit, location fees, and parking fees.
Q: How long does it take to get a permit?
A: The Film Commission does not approve filming/photography permit applications. We receive the production information and convey all of that information to the city/county in which you plan to film/photograph. Therefore, we need FIVE BUSINESS DAYS after receipt of your completed application and properly-worded insurance document(s) to process your permit application. For shoots that require special permission/assistance and all shoots at Heritage Village, please allow TEN BUSINESS DAYS to process your request. Once approved, we will email the filming permit to the applicant at the email address listed on the application. Please print the permit and have it available while filming/photographing in case you are asked to show it.
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 recommend that you sign up to receive our newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page. You may also add (or update) your name and contact details on our keyword searchable online Production Guide. Additionally, several membership-based local industry groups meet regularly including Women In Film & TV - Tampa Bay, the St. Pete Clearwater Film Society and the Tampa Bay Film Society. Consider joining and attending these meetings as they are great networking opportunities!
Q: Can you help me find filming/photography locations?
A: We maintain a database of hundreds of film-friendly locations in Pinellas County. Simply type a location name into the search box, or select a location category or specific city from the lists, 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 associated 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/contact details, and we will add the location to our database. No pics? No problem. Tell us the address, and we'll take the pictures and upload them into our database.
Q: What is an Endorsement?
A: An Endorsement 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 taking place on Pinellas County and city of Largo owned or managed property.
Q: What else can the Film Commission assist with?
A: We can help you find crew, take advantage of our Business Development Program, enhance your skills through workshops and other events, post casting/crew calls, and more. Give us a call or email, and we will do our best to provide direction or answers!