Should you apply for a filming permit for a small crew to film inside of a restaurant?

Jake

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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I was on reddit recently and came across an interesting question that I think you all would like to hear an answer to. The post on reddit was in regards to the legality of filming branded content inside of a restaurant, but without filing a permit to do so. The person asking the question wants to know if they should just skip the permit process since the project is quite small scale and the price of the permit eats too much of their budget. They do obtain permits on most of their larger productions, but felt it wasn't needed for the smaller setup and are seeking advice from users like us to answer whether this would be a good idea or not.

It'll be a crew of four people and may include one exterior shot.

It's quite an intriguing scenario and wanted to get your thoughts on the matter. Do you have any insights? Would it be better to just file a permit and be done? Or would it be okay to do a small shoot without obtaining a permit?

You can find the reddit post from here - r/FilmIndustryLA
 
Location
Los Angeles, California, United States
Technically a permit would be required for a project like this, but they may be fine just asking for permission from the restaurant owner to film inside and out, especially if it's a private establishment. The likelihood of facing any legal repercussions is quite low as they tend to focus more on larger productions that may disrupt public spaces. But, just to be on the safe side, I would still recommend obtaining a permit when it comes to this sort of thing, because you could be that one that they take action on. It also wouldn't hurt to seek legal counsel or even consider obtaining a still photo permit, as they tend to me more cost-effective alternatives that will provide you with some protection.

Depending on the costs of the permits, I would just ask permission and see what the owner thinks, but if the costs of the permits aren't bad, I would consider just paying for it to be sure you're that much more protected in the long run.
 
It sounds like the original poster is creating content for the owner, so even though a permit might be required, it's unlikely that not obtaining one will matter.
 
Technically a permit would be required for a project like this, but they may be fine just asking for permission from the restaurant owner to film inside and out, especially if it's a private establishment. The likelihood of facing any legal repercussions is quite low as they tend to focus more on larger productions that may disrupt public spaces. But, just to be on the safe side, I would still recommend obtaining a permit when it comes to this sort of thing, because you could be that one that they take action on. It also wouldn't hurt to seek legal counsel or even consider obtaining a still photo permit, as they tend to me more cost-effective alternatives that will provide you with some protection.

Depending on the costs of the permits, I would just ask permission and see what the owner thinks, but if the costs of the permits aren't bad, I would consider just paying for it to be sure you're that much more protected in the long run.
Thanks, that's what I thought too. Since it was so small scale, and they got permission from the owner of the restaurant, I doubt they would have faced any trouble. If I was in the situation I think I would have filed one just in case, but if the owner is cool with it, I see no issue skipping the permit.
It sounds like the original poster is creating content for the owner, so even though a permit might be required, it's unlikely that not obtaining one will matter.
Yeah, likely an ad for the restaurant, which is why I doubt any trouble will befall them.
 
The only thing that would worry me is the possibility of someone getting hurt, because the lack of permit could mean that the insurance company won't cover it. I'd say it's unlikely to happen, though, so it might be worth the risk.
 
The only thing that would worry me is the possibility of someone getting hurt, because the lack of permit could mean that the insurance company won't cover it. I'd say it's unlikely to happen, though, so it might be worth the risk.
Yeah that's always a possibility, even in a small shoot like this one. I suppose it's the risk you take in order to go unpermitted. I think most people would be fine risking it, but you never know when an injury could spring up.

I don't think that would happen though, unless the place happened to be crowded and there was no quality control during the shoot.
 
I'm not sure why there is a reason to worry in this case - I should be allowed to shoot a film on my own private property without facing legal repercussions. That should also be true of film crews or partners that I hire on my own private property.

However, the owner of the restaurant may be thinking differently than me, and also the restaurant owner may be renting their space and have a landlord. Since there is a lack of familiarity between all of the parties and it is a business deal, I would file the permit just to protect you from a party that you don't know about objecting and taking revenge later.
 
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