Permit Application

Scene in San Francisco

Permit Application

Permit Application Use Agreement - All paperwork must be submitted to the Film Office no less than four (4) full business days prior to your first shoot date via e-mail to film@sfgov.org 

PDF iconAdditional Location Pages - If you have more than 3 locations you may use this form to add additional locations.

Instructions - Having trouble filling out the Permit Application Use Agreement? Here are some helpful instructions to assist you through the process. Still confused? Please call or email the Film Office for assistance.

PDF iconInsurance - Reminder: Required insurance must be sent to the Film Office by the insurance company in order to process a permit.

Do not forget to send an original signed page 6 of the Permit Application Use Agreement with wet ink signature to the Film Office:
San Francisco Film Commission 
City Hall, Room 473
1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Email Permit Application Use Agreements to: film@sfgov.org

 

Permitting for B-Roll 

We are unable to issue blanket permits that allow filming the entire city.  However, you can submit a permit application with specific neighborhood locations within a grid to shoot within.  Please note that filming within any grid is subject to the locations the Film Office can permit (mainly city streets and sidewalks).  See attached FileGrid Example.

Alternatively, you can use the attached pre-selected b-roll location pages where you can add the date into each location you would like to shoot at.  These allow productions to shoot on the city sidewalks as listed to capture such views of “iconic San Francisco” as:

  • Jefferson Street at Taylor Street (for a view of Fisherman’s Wharf)
  • Haight at Ashbury Street (for a view of the Haight)
  • Embarcadero between Harrison and Folsom Streets (for a view of the Bay Bridge)
  • Lombard between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets (for a view of the crooked “Lombard” Street)
  • Market at Embarcadero (for a view of the Ferry Building)
  • Castro Street between 18th and Market Streets (for a view of the Castro neighborhood and rainbow crosswalk)
  • Bush Street at Grant Avenue (for a view of the Dragon’s Gate at the Chinatown entrance)
  • Hyde Street between North Point and Francisco Streets (for a view of the Russian Hill neighborhood)

These b-roll locations are for crews of 5 people or under.  Larger crews will be considered by the Film Office on a case-by-case review.

 

Permitting for Production Vehicle Parking

Street parking, both metered and non-metered, may be requested as part of your permit application if you need parking for production trucks and vehicles, picture vehicles and/or to clear for picture.  Parking requests are not accepted for crew or cast personal vehicles.  Production vehicle parking is included in your permit fee cost.

  • All production vehicles must have placards with the production name on their dashboards in order to avoid confusion and possible ticketing.
  • Motorhomes with pop-outs cannot be used on city streets.
  • Active zones such as loading, passengers, bus and hydrant, cannot be posted or parked in at any time by members of the production unless approved by the Film Office.
  • Our parking permissions do not override street sweeping or "No Stopping For Thru Traffic" zones.  We cannot authorize permission for your parking to override these SFMTA zones. It is your responsibility to read the street signs and regulations adjacent to your desired parking spaces.
  • In certain areas of the City, production companies may be required to provide additional off-street parking to compensate residents.
  • Any changes to a posting must be approved by the Film Office.
  • All efforts to locate vehicle owners will be made to the exclusion of towing. 
  • The parking of production equipment overnight on City streets is prohibited without prior approval from the Film Office
  • Parking along the curb or filming where street artist vendors are permitted by the SF Arts Commission can result in payment of $200 per day per artist  by the production due to business interruption, as required by the Permit Application Use Agreement.   Please see link for their specific permit locations.

To request parking be sure to check the box for “Parking Request” on the locations page(s) of your permit application.  In addition, a map must be submitted that includes the following:

  1. A basic view of the street and surrounding streets (e.g. Google Maps or Map Viewer)
  2. A directional indicator for North
  3. An “X” or square illustrating each proposed parking spot to be permitted
  4. The Production Name
  5. The Date and Times of the permitted parking
  6. A contact number from the Production (Note: this will be posted on the No Stopping signs)

See attached FileParking Example Map.

If you are requesting to permit over 4 parking spots, for 4 or more hours, you will be required to leaflet the neighboring businesses and residents to inform them of your intended filming activity and use of parking. 

See template for this Microsoft Office document iconNeighborhood Notification Letter (Film Notice). Here is an PDF iconExample Film Notice.pdf

A completed neighborhood notification letter must be approved by the Film Office before proceeding with distribution which must be done 72 hours in advance of the shoot.

If you are requesting 6 parking spots or under, you have the option of self-posting the “No Stopping” signs by borrowing the signage from the Film Office and posting by a designated time.  For more information, see Posting Instructions.

If you are requesting over 6 parking spots total, you will be required to have a posting vendor post the “No Stopping” signs for you.  For more information, see Posting Instructions.

The Film Office has four city approved posting contractors:

  • Harry Stein and Bob Loeffler with Up and Down Signs: 415-290-2736 and 510-816-4093
  • Rashod Edwards with R&R Traffic Solutions: 510-689-8285 
  • Daniel Wong with No Stopping Zone: 415-952-6363
  • Cynthia Yeh with TriCal Rentals: 415-633-6827 or e-mail orders@tricalrentals.com with subject line "Film No Stopping"

 

Permitting for Student Filming

The Film Office works with local film schools to assist students looking to permit film projects in the City. A student project is defined as a class assignment that is under providable insurance coverage by a university. If your university is not able to provide your project with the required insurance coverage, you will need to follow the standard permitting process.

For student filming, all paperwork must be submitted to the Film Office no less than five (5) business days prior to your first shoot date via e-mail to film@sfgov.org.  As a courtesy to students we do not charge a permit fee, however there may be fees associated with other permitting bodies within the City.  Student filmmakers and photographers should obtain a film permit for any project occurring on city property.  Students will need to submit the following:

  1. The Film Permit Use Agreement above with the contractor listed as “(Name of School) / (Name of Student)” – e.g. “San Francisco State University / John Doe”
  2. A copy of their student ID
  3. A Teacher Approval Form from their instructor or department head verifying their school project.  This letter must come directly from the instructor to the Film Office via e-mail.  See attached FileTeacher Approval Form.
  4. Proof of automobile liability insurance from the student or a School Auto Verification Letter from their instructor or department head, verifying their personal car insurance is valid.  This letter must come directly from the instructor to the Film Office via e-mail.  Note: this requirement can be waived if the students are taking public transportation, taxi, etc. to locations.  See attached FileSchool Auto Verification Letter.
  5. A copy of the script or pages pertaining to the locations requested.  Note: this is not required for still photography.

Students seeking to obtain a film permit for the first time should expect to meet with the Film Office to go over filming conduct while on city property and general safety while filming.  The film permit fee for qualified students that supply all of the above is waived.

 

Permitting for Late-Night or Early-Morning Filming (Signature Survey)

The Film Office grants permits for filming between the hours of 7am-10pm. However, the Film Office can permit productions outside of these hours, taking into consideration the  City Noise Ordinance (San Francisco Police Code Article 29), provided they complete a signature survey.

Signature Survey Process 

Upon the Film Office's approval to begin a signature survey, the production company must canvas the neighborhood and collect an 80% positive response from the residents, acknowledging the late night or early morning filming. Signatures must be submitted to the Film Office no fewer than 3 business days prior to the filming date.  Because of this deadline we strongly urge productions to start the process at least 2 weeks in advance.

  1. The production should create a map detailing the impacted zone and send it to the Film Office. This should include the parking diagram setup, the filming setup, etc.  The Film Office will review and identify the zone which must be surveyed. The zone is usually 300 feet past the last parking posted and film or equipment set-up.
  2. The production should then create a signature survey to prepare to leaflet, using our tempate. This survey should include details of the specific areas impacted.  In addition, the hours of filming listed on the survey should include prep and wrap time, not just the actual filming hours. Here is a  Microsoft Office document iconSignature Survey Template with Translation Footer.doc and sample PDF iconSignature Survey Map.
  3. Once the survey begins, productions are urged to continue to visit each residence from the zone until they receive a response.  Therefore, multiple trips may occur. A minimum of three attempts on separate days during hours when residents would normally be home (evening during the week; day or evening on weekend) is required.
  4. When the results are ready to be tallied, the production must create a diagram and results report that illustrates the responses.  The results report should clearly indicate:
  • The response of each resident on a map
  • A breakdown of each resident’s response and a final tally of:
    • Consent
    • Object
    • Refused to Respond
    • Vacant
    • Out of Town
    • No Response
  • Notes on for each as to dates/times attempts were made to secure approval
  • The percentage of response overall
  • The percentage of positive responses

             Here is a sample FileResults Report.  You are not required to complete your report on a computer but it must be legible.

           5. Finally, bring in all documents, including originals organized in a binder, ito the Film Office to go over results.

Exceptions

There are some exceptions to this requirement. Filming in non-residential zones, i.e. Financial District around no residential building- we may be able to make exceptions to the need of a signature survey. Ask the Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Commission for a final decision.

Sample Script for Surveying Residents/Business Owners

Below is a guide of how to approach a resident or business owner: If you are going into a business, always ask to speak to a manager or owner (when available):

My name is ________________ and I work on behalf of (production company) and our production is requesting to film on (street name) during (hours) on (date). In order to obtain a permit with the San Francisco Film Commission during these hours, we are required to get signatures from nearby residents who may be affected by the filming activities, acknowledging you have been notified and are amenable to the filming. Please review this survey. You can sign the survey now or I can pick up the survey at later time. Do you have any questions? Thank you for your time and consideration. 

 

Permitting to Film with an Unmanned Aircraft System (Drones)

A request to use an Unmanned Aircraft System for filming over city property under jurisdiction for Film SF to permit can be considered, but there are several requirements involved.  Drone filming activity operating under a 333-Exemption or with 14CFR Part 107 and the appropriate waivers will be reviewed for approval if the locations fall under jurisdiction of the Film Office to permit. Please click on the above link for all information and resources.

All materials must be delivered to Film SF seven (7) business days prior to the requested shoot date in order for the office to consider processing requests for film permits that include the use of drones, and be aware that the process will not begin until all required documentation has been submitted.

Please note that requesting to film with an Unmanned Aircraft System requires the production to provide additional insurance as laid out in the Film Permit Application Use Agreement.  In addition, productions will be required to provide public notice of their flight plan through AirMap.

Current drone filming that has been approved for operation within the city of San Francisco can be found at https://filmsf.airmap.com/