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Film Permit Application

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When do I need a Permit?

Casual use activities which normally involve noncommercial still photography or recreational videotaping would not require a permit or fees. Casual use means noncommercial activities occurring on an occasional or irregular basis that ordinarily result in little or no impact to public lands, resources, or improvements.

Still Photography
Most professional and amateur photographers are allowed to take still photographs on public property without a permit or the payment of any fees. Public land visitors and recreational, professional and amateur photographers do NOT need a permit to take still photographs unless the still photography will:

  • Use models, sets or props that are not part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities;
  • Take place where members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  • Take place at a location where additional administrative costs are likely.


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Commercial Filming

Special permits to use public property for commercial production are issued by the Richardson Communications Department. All filming activity that takes place entirely inside a private property does not generally require a film permit unless filming include activities that could alarm the public including but not limited to the use of firearms, loud noises, night time shooting, or if vehicles or equipment could create parking concerns. 

A permit is required for all commercial filming activities on public property. Commercial filming is defined as the use of motion picture, videotaping, sound recording, or other moving image or audio recording equipment on public property that involves the advertisement of a product or service, the creation of a product for sale, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props, but not including activities associated with broadcasts for news programs. For purposes of this definition, creation of a product for sale includes a film, videotape, television broadcast, or documentary of participants in commercial sporting or recreation event created for the purpose of generating income.

Commercial filming or still photography will NOT be permitted if it is determined that any of the following criteria apply:

  • There is likelihood of resource damage that cannot be mitigated;
  • There would be an unreasonable disruption of the public’s use and enjoyment of the site (beyond short-term interruption of use of the site); or The activity poses health or safety risks to the public that cannot be mitigated;

Commercial photographers and filming companies should contact the Richardson Communications Department to advise them of their activity and determine whether or not a permit or fees are required.

For more information on film permitting, please contact the City’s Director of Communications at or 972-744-4218.

Film Permitting Process

Step 1

Commercial Filming Application – Complete, sign and submit 2-3 business days prior to filming, sooner if the film project is extensive with multiple locations being requested. Incomplete applications may cause delay and/or prevent the actual issuance of the film permit. Submission of application does not guarantee permit issuance. Changes to the event information will only be accepted by either the primary contact or emergency contact listed on the application and must be made in writing.

Step 2

Certificate of Liability Insurance – Insurance requirements are outlined in the application. A Certificate of Liability Insurance must be given to the City prior to filming.

Step 3

Processing Fee – The applicant will be required to pay a processing fee in the form of a Money Order or Check made payable to The City of Richardson or by credit card prior to filming. Permit fees are non-refundable once the application has been processed. Standard application fee is $50 and may increase dependent upon size of production, including but not limited to film projects that involve extensive planning and requires more than 2 locations to include affecting any of the following: multiple street closures, multiple lane closures, intermittent traffic control, affects the DART route, traffic management and complexity of the film request.

Upon reviewing the Film Permit Application, the Communications Department will proceed by contacting the appropriate city departments affected to obtain clearances for the applicant which could take up to 48 hours (2 business days) to receive. Upon receiving the clearances, the applicant will be contacted and issued a Commercial Film Permit by email along with a copy of the receipt for payment of the processing fee.

Should filming require the assistance from the Richardson Police Department and/or Richardson Fire Department, a contact from each department will be given to the applicant. Additional fees may apply.

*Applicants requesting to film on a Monday must submit their applications no later than the previous Wednesday by 12p.m.

Hold Harmless Agreement
All entities wishing to conduct commercial filming on private property must provide a signed copy of the Indemnification 'Hold Harmless' Agreement to the Director of Communications.

Written notice must be delivered to Greg Sowell, Director of Communications a minimum of 30 Days prior to filming.