The Seattle Office of Film + Music is your one-stop permit shop for all film work on public City of Seattle property. Our office issues over 350 film permits per year and has a 75 year filmmaking history from Tugboat Annie, to Sleepless In Seattle and Northern Exposure, to Humpday and Eden. Seattle has done and seen it all.
Film permits are a critical component when you are filming or staging vehicles and equipment on public property. Film permits allow you first right for the public locations you are working. Film permits ensure you have the correct permission from the correct governing authority, which is particularly important while filming in Seattle since there are numerous permitting agents for public property including the Pike Place Market, Port of Seattle, Washington Ferries, and others. Just as important as permission, film permits set the framework for your production to have successful location planning, successful shoot days, happy crews, and neighborhoods that want you to come back.
We believe the not-so-secret key to successful location filming is communication. When you communicate in advance what you are doing and when you are doing it, you will always have a successful shoot. Nearly every complaint we have is from neighbors who were not aware of the filming or work impact in advance. Because of this, a requirement of the Seattle Film Permit is advance notification to everyone
Permitting on City of Seattle property is cheap, fast, and streamlined. Our office coordinates all City departmental permissions and issues one permit directly to you. Seattle film permits are always a flat $25 per day (or $25 per 14 days if the budget is under $10,000) and permits work on Seattle City streets, sidewalks, Parks, the Seattle Center, and street parking.
You will need a film permit while filming on public City of Seattle property if you are doing any of the following:
- Filming in a City Park
- Traffic will be interrupted on City streets
- Pedestrian traffic will be interrupted
- A tripod, dolly, dolly track, or lighting set up is used on sidewalks, streets, or in parks
- Wires or cables run across or over sidewalks
- A generator is used on public property
- You are reserving street parking for picture or for production vehicles
- A weapon, authentic or replica, is used and/or ammunition discharged
Your first step when filming in Seattle is to download and read the Seattle Film Manual, which goes over nearly every filming scenario, and has a great appendix of contacts for locations not covered by the Seattle Film Permit. Next, download the Film Permit Application and review the permit instructions and requirements. If you know your filming location, you have all the tools you need with those two steps. If you are looking for the right location for what you need, give our office a call any time and we’ll troubleshoot options with you. We have notification templates and historic information that we’re always happy to share to help your location shoot be successful.
We’re looking forward to hosting your project in Seattle!
Special thanks to Chris Swenson for this post. Swenson is the Film + Special Event Program Manager with Seattle’s Office of Film and Music.
Contact The Seattle Office of Film + Music: http://www.seattle.gov/filmoffice/contact_info.htm