It just got a little more expensive to film on the streets of Los Angeles – even for some student filmmakers. Effective August 1, FilmLA, the city’s film permit office, raised its fees for a wide range of services including a $35 increase in film permit application fees, which now costs $660 – a 5.6% increase from the $625 it cost a week ago.
The fees, which haven’t been raised since 2008, were adopted in June by the FilmLA board of directors as part of the organization’s fiscal year 2017 budget. FilmLA says they’ll help offset the rising cost of providing film-permit coordination and related services to the industry, local governments, and communities.
Under the new fee rates, filmmakers will pay more to employ FilmLA monitors, the agency’s “eyes and ears” at sensitive location shoots who help mitigate the impact of filming in residential and business areas. The monitor’s fee has gone up a dollar an hour to $31 an hour – a 3.3% increase. The overtime monitor’s fee has gone up $2 an hour to $47 an hour, and the double-time fee has gone up $2 an hour to $62.
It will also cost more for some student filmmakers to shoot in the city. “Complex” student permit fees have gone up $5 to $95, a 5.5% increase. “Simple” student permit fees, however, remained unchanged at $25. Projects are deemed “simple” if they have minimal impact on the community, don’t affect pedestrian or street traffic, and don’t involve pyrotechnics or other special effects.
Other fee hikes include a $9 increase for notification fees, which will now cost $164 (up 5.8%). Those fees pay for FilmLA teams to notify the community of filming activities, including going door-to-door. Film permit rider fees – charges for changes to an approved permit – will now cost $105 (up 5%), while still-photo application fees have gone up $3 to $63 (up 5%). Permit delivery fees, charged when producers need their permits delivered to their locations, will now cost $58 (up $3).
“Considerable research was conducted over the past year to inform this change in pricing,” FilmLA said on its website, noting that its new rates “are set well below the overall increase in consumer prices over the last eight years. The new rates are also set below the average regional rate for like services, keeping FilmLA and its client jurisdictions cost-competitive within the Greater Los Angeles Region.”
FilmLA said that as a not-for-profit, economic development organization, it’s policy “is to avoid fee increases whenever possible, and minimize fee increases when they are necessary.”
FilmLA said that some of the services sustained by the fee hikes include: advocating for “sensible film policy” at the state and local level; marketing Greater Los Angeles as a “premier production location”; one-stop permit processing and production planning assistance; comprehensive community relations, including neighborhood notification and monitoring; around-the-clock filming complaint referral and resolution; film economy research, data collection and dissemination, and investments in technology such as the Online Permit System and LocoScout, an online directory of location availability.