Commercial Filming

When is a Film Permit Required?When is a Film Permit NOT Required?How Do I Apply?FeesFAQ

A Commercial Filming Permit is required:

  • For any filming or related activities on real property, building, facilities, public space and tangible property. To include all types of independent and studio productions such as but not limited to; Still Photography, Commercials, Documentaries, Feature Films, Television Series, Television Movies, Television Shows, Webisodes, Public Service Announcements, Music Videos, Student Films & Corporate Shoots.
  • Utilizing city streets or alleyways (i.e., street closure, lane closure, intermittent traffic control or requiring traffic interruption).
  • Utilizing public sidewalks in which the filming activity requires the sidewalk to be ‘closed or blocked’ to public access.
  • Filming/still photography the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire-Rescue Department or other city personnel, to include ‘said’ property.
  • Filming/still photography the official flag, seal, shield, service mark, badge, or other insignia of the city or a department of the city, or a facsimile of the flag, seal, shield, service mark, badge, or other insignia of the city or a department of the city.
  • Parking on a restricted curb lane, street and/or parking during the rush hour ban.
  • Filming B-roll of any city property including but not limited to; Pioneer Plaza, Dealey Plaza or City Hall Plaza.
  • Use of city owned facilities of the City of Dallas
  • The Office of Special Events determines the need in other filming situations to include general B-roll and Student Films.

Please Note: Per FAA Policy, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UVA’s) or drones are not permitted in Class B Airspace which encompasses the entire downtown Dallas area and beyond. UVA’s, drones and model aircrafts with cameras attached are strictly prohibited in Class B Airspace unless granted a waiver from the FAA.

A Commercial Filming Permit is “not” required:

  • When filming on open public sidewalks provided the sidewalks are not ‘closed or blocked’ due to production crew or equipment placement as sidewalks  are considered “public right of way” and access to the public must be given at all times. Parking of production or crew vehicles on the sidewalks is strictly prohibited.
  • When filming from open public sidewalk includes elements of privately owned/managed property provided that the applicant obtains the clearance to film from the property owner.
  • When filming is contained on privately owned/managed property provided that the applicant obtains the clearance to film from the property owner.
  • News Organizations (cable or broadcast) in conjunction with daily news gathering, spontaneous unplanned television news broadcast or news segment reports produced for air, same day or within a short time frame.
  • City owned facilities operated through third-party management agreements; any filming occurring on city-owned facilities operated through private management agreements will be handled by each respective management company.

Please Note: Per FAA Policy, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UVA’s) or drones are not permitted in Class B Airspace which encompasses the entire downtown Dallas area and beyond. UVA’s, drones and model aircrafts with cameras attached are strictly prohibited in Class B Airspace unless granted a waiver from the FAA.

 

Application Process

Commercial Filming Applications are to be submitted online no less than 2-3 business days prior to the shoot date. If the film project is more complex with multiple locations and requires extensive planning, it is essential to have the application submitted no less than 5-7 business days prior to the shoot date. Incomplete applications may cause delay and/or prevent the actual issuance of the film permit. Submission of application does not guarantee permit issuance.

*Applicants requesting to film on a Monday must submit their applications no later than the previous Wednesday by Noon.

Changes to the information on the Commercial Filming Application must be submitted in writing, and will ONLY be accepted if provided by either the primary contact or the emergency contact listed on the application. Each change will include a $40 Change Fee. No changes can be made to the application the day of the scheduled film date.

Upon receipt of the Commercial Filming Permit Application, the Office of Special Events will contact the applicant to review the application. The Office of Special Events will contact the affected city departments for review and approval of the film request, which could take up to 48 hours (two business days) to receive a response.  The Office of Special Events will notify the applicant of any stipulations regarding any reimbursable expenses, fees, special conditions and/or restrictions for which the applicant will be responsible and a Commercial Filming Permit will be issued by email along with a copy of the receipt for payment of the processing fee and any change fees.

Should filming require the assistance from the Dallas Police Department and/or Dallas Fire Rescue Department, a contact from each department will be provided to the applicant.

The applicant may be required to obtain additional permits or licenses. Contact information for other permitting agencies is available in the Resource Guide.

Commercial Filming Insurance Requirements. Please refer to Commercial Filming Insurance Requirements for a complete list of requirements.

Commercial Filming Application & Additional Requirements

 

For additional information please contact:

Dee Castillo
Film Permit Coordinator
214-939-2775
dee.castillo@dallascityhall.com

 

COMMERCIAL FILMING APPLICATION PROCESSING FEES

$50     Processing Fee for applications, which include a maximum of two locations

$250   Processing Fee for applications, which include, but not limited to projects that involve more extensive planning and affect any of the following:

  • Multiple street closures
  • Multiple lane closures
  • Intermittent traffic control
  • Impact DART route(s)
  • Require traffic management
  • Complex scenes
  • Special Effects

After submitting an online Commercial Film Application, the Office of Special Events will contact the applicant to collect the required processing fee.  Processing fees are due immediately and are nonrefundable.

Credit/Debit cards are accepted either by phone or in person at the Office of Special Events.  Processing fees paid in the form of a check or money order shall be payable to the Office of Special Events.  Applications without payment or missing information cannot be processed which may delay and/or prevent the issuance of the film permit.

Changes to information on the Commercial Film Application must be submitted in writing, and will ONLY be accepted if provided by either the applicant or the emergency contact listed on the application. A $40 Change Fee will be charged per change. No changes can be made to the application the day of the scheduled film date.

Should filming require the assistance from the Dallas Police Department and/or Dallas Fire Rescue Department, a contact from each department will be provided to the applicant.  The starting rate for ‘off-duty’ DPD Officers is $45/per hour with a 4 hour minimum.

COMMERCIAL FILMING – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where is the Office of Special Events located?
The Office of Special Events is located in the Dallas Convention Center located at 650 South Griffin Street. The entrance to the office is located on Akard Street, just across from City Hall. Our office is across from Section 7, 8, 9 in the arena concourse.

What are the office hours?
Office hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Please contact us at 214-939-2701 or visit our website at www.dallasspecialevents.com.

When do I need a Film Permit?
A Film Permit is required when:

  • Filming takes place on real property, building, facility, public space and tangible property.
  • Utilizing city streets or alleyways (i.e., street closure, lane closure, intermittent traffic control or requiring traffic interruption).
  • Filming the Dallas Police Department or Dallas Fire-Rescue Department to include ‘said’ property.
  • Parking on restricted curb lanes and/or streets during the rush hour ban.
  • Filming the official flag, seal, shield, service mark, badge, or other insignia of the city or a department of the city or a facsimile of the flag, seal, shield, service mark, badge, or other insignia of the city or a department of the city.
  • The Office of Special Events determines the need in other filming situations to include BRoll and Student Films.

How do I apply for a Film Permit to film in the City of Dallas?
The applicant is required to submit the following:

  • The Commercial Filming Application must be submitted online a minimum of 2-3 business days prior to filming. Should your film shoot be extensive and/or involve multiple components to include but not limited to multiple locations, traffic interruption, SPFX, Pyro, Car Chase, please submit 5-7 business days in advance of filming. Information submitted will be reviewed for processing. Incomplete application will not be processed.
  • Certificate of Insurance – The listed insurer on the COI must be the same name listed on the application each document must cross-reference the other.
  • Payment of the Processing Fee.

What information should I include on the application?
The applicant must provide full disclosure of the film activity within the application and directly to the Film Permit Coordinator during the review process. Failure to disclose information may result in the immediate revocation of the Film Permit. Applications submitted without the required information will be considered ‘incomplete’ and denied for processing.

Is there a cost for the Film Permit?
There is a fee to processing the Commercial Film Application, visit FEES for more information.

How long will it take to get my Film Permit?
In most cases, applications are reviewed the same day they are received. Each city department affected must review the film request. Issuance of the Film Permit depends on the complexity of the request. The Office of Special Events makes every effort to process your permit as quickly as possible.

Commercial Film Permits are normally issued within 2-3 business days after having received the complete application. However, should the film project require multiple days, locations (more than 2), street closure(s), lane closure(s) and/or intermittent traffic control or extensive planning, this may take additional time to issue the permit.

Does the City of Dallas issue ‘blanket’ permits?
No. Each location that is city owned & managed must be listed within the Commercial Filming Application to include the exact timeframe & date of filming.

Does filming on a sidewalk require a Film Permit?
Filming on the sidewalk does not require a Film Permit if the sidewalk is not ‘closed’ or ‘blocked’ as ingress/egress must be given to daily foot traffic, to surrounding residents and to area businesses at all times.
Should your film shoot require that the sidewalk be closed or if dolly tracks will be utilized, please contact the Office of Special Events, as this request would require the clearance from the Department of Transportation.

How do I update a permit I already have or make changes to my original request?
Currently, one application allows entries for multiple locations. If you are requesting additional locations and/or extending the date or timeframe after the submission of the application, written communication via email is required to the Office of Special Events and an explanation of the change.

Changes to information on the Commercial Film Application must be submitted in writing, and will ONLY be accepted if provided by either the applicant or the emergency contact listed on the application. A $40 Change Fee will be charged per change. No changes can be made to the application the day of the scheduled film date.

Why do I need insurance, we are a very small production company?
Whether you are a crew of 1 or 100, the City of Dallas requires evidence of insurance in the form of a Certificate of Insurance. You must add the City of Dallas as additional insured along with permit applicants. This is to protect the city’s interest in the event of a third party claim arising from the permit applicant’s operations.

What kind of insurance is required in order to get a permit?
The City of Dallas requires a General Liability policy for $2,000,000 naming the City of Dallas, its officers and employees as additional insured. For more information, please refer to the Insurance Requirements.

When do I need police assistance on a set?
You will need to hire off-duty Dallas Police for assistance if your film shoot involves any interruption of traffic, lane or street closure, intermittent traffic control, stunts, and weapons or if your actors are wearing Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire Rescue Department, Emergency Medical Technician or other costumes resembling uniformed personnel.

How do I get police assistance?
Contact the Office of Special Events at 214-939-2701 and we will direct you to a Dallas Police Department officer who can further assist you with your shoot. The applicant is responsible for direct payment to the officer at the time of filming.

The Dallas Police Department supervisor will enforce the Noise Ordinance, reserves the right to add staffing when applicable and/or cancel the film shoot due to safety hazards and/or violation of the noise ordinance.

Do I need to notify businesses or neighborhoods when filming in the area?
Yes. Three (3) days prior to the event date; deliver written notice on Production Company Letterhead, to all owners or occupants of real property abutting the filming area. Please refer to Commercial Film Notification Requirements for more information.

What guidelines are required when closing a city lane(s) and/or street(s)? Please refer to the City of Dallas Traffic Barricade Manual for more information.

What are the guidelines for the use of Special Effects (pyrotechnics and/or explosions) or ‘blank’ gunfire?
SPFX:
All special effects must be indicated on the film application. Any filming activity that requires the use of flammable materials, explosive devices or open flames is considered a special effect. The Film Permit Coordinator will coordinate with the Dallas Fire Marshal to review the types of special effects being requested before a Film Permit is issued. The Fire Marshal may assign fire department staff to be on location to monitor pyrotechnic activity. All special effects permits require a licensed special effects pyrotechnics operator.

Blank gunfire/firearms:
Gunfire or the brandishing of firearms must be identified in detail within the Commercial Film Application. The Film Permit Coordinator will coordinate with the Dallas Police Department of this activity to determine the requirements needed.

Do I need a Film Permit to film the Dallas Police or Fire Department?
Yes, provided that the request is clearly outlined and submitted via the Commercial Film Application within the required timeframe for permitting.  Without the Film Permit and prior approval, it is a violation of city ordinance to film/photograph the official seal, shield, service mark, badge or other insignia of the City or any facsimile thereof without the permission of the City Managers Office.

Do I need a Film Permit to shoot a Student Film?
Yes, if your film shoot is on public property. The student (applicant) is to submit the following:

Commercial Filming Application – 2-3 business days prior to the film shoot, 5-7 business days if the project requires extensive planning, or multiple locations.

Waiver Release Form – Each student (including talent) is to complete a waiver form. The applicant is then to submit the signed waiver forms to the Film Permit Coordinator prior to filming.

Letter from the school/university – Obtain and submit a letter from the teacher on school letterhead outlining the following:

Name of the student
Name of the class
Confirmation that the student is currently enrolled at the school/university and is in good standing
Confirmation that the film project is for school credit

Processing Fee – generally $50.00 however, it is waived for students filming a ‘one day’ project. Should filming involve multiple days, location and/or extensive planning, the fee is required.

Certificate of Insurance is not required however; the student(s) are required to sign a Waiver Release Form from the City of Dallas Office of Special Events.

I am interested in doing a photo shoot / filming at a few locations, how would I know if these locations require a Film Permit?
Public properties merit a Film Permit from the Office of Special Events, if you are unsure if the location is public or private, contact the Office of Special Events at 214-939-2701 to provide you with the appropriate information.

Do I need a tent and/or canopy permit?
Tents erected larger than 399 square feet and/or Canopies erected larger than 700 square feet require permitting from Dallas Fire Rescue.  All required documentation must be presented to Dallas Fire Rescue at least five (5) business days prior to the erection of the tent. The applicant must obtain the permit by contacting Lt. Shannon Reed at 469-964-7436 or shannon.reed@dallascityhall.com.

What is required if my film project involves animals?
The applicant must include all participating animals on the event application and/or in writing prior to the film shoot. All animals must have up-to-date vaccinations, be in good medical health and the ability to cope with crowds and other animals.  Animals must be on a leash and/or under a handler’s control at all times.  The applicant must assign a ‘waste pick-up team’ to follow close behind each unit of animals to ensure all animal waste is properly cleaned up, disposed of, and not allowed to contaminate the storm drainage system.

Equine: The applicant is required to submit a current proof of a negative Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) test within the last 12 months.

Note: additional animal insurance coverage may be required.

How do I find out about the Texas Incentive Program?
By visiting the Texas Film Commission web site.

Who can I contact to assist in securing film locations of privately owned businesses?
Contact the Dallas Film Commission at 214-671-9821.