Monday, December 10, 2012

Film Permitting Survey by Independent Filmmakers

 These are the results of the November, 2012 survey of independent filmmakers about their film permitting/approval experiences with state and local governments.

Summary of Responses
- Interaction with government agencies is often manual or requires physical visits
- Many times, multiple community departments must be identified and contacted to obtain approvals, requiring multiple attempts to obtain the information
- About half the time, the application process went well and was complete; half the time, it was not 
- Permitting/Approvals typically take 3-7 days to secure approvals
- There is a high interest in improving the current process of information gathering, applying for filming, knowing policies and who to contact,  and having better feedback about the application during evaluation by the community
- All the respondents said they would use an automated approach to film permitting/approvals if it was available
- All the respondents said ease of working with the community is an important factor in selecting communities in which to film

Seems like the pattern is clear to communities:  There's a lot of good going on but room for improvement to attract filmmaking to the communities!

 Survey of Independent Filmmakers, November, 2012

1. What methods do you currently use to coordinate film permitting/approval requests in local communities?
         Responses                                                                                                              Percent                   
        A) Phone call to designated community film coordinator or film commission contact       0.0% 
        B) Physical visit to community government departments to obtain permits/approvals     50.0%  
        C) Emails to community film contacts                                                                            0.0% 
        D) Use of community websites to collect film applications                                              0.0%   
        E) Other (please provide details)                                                                                 50.0%   

2. When you contact the community film contact for information or applying for permits/approvals, how often is that request successful?                                                               
        Responses                                                                                                              Percent
        A) Most often, FIRST contact attempt provides the information I need                         50.0% 
        B) MANY times, I have to make multiple attempts to get the information I need             0.0%  
        C) MOST times, I have to make multiple attempts to get the information I need            50.0%   

3. How do you obtain approvals from multiple community departments (health, law enforcement, fire, public works, parks/recreation, federal agencies, etc.) to coordinate filming approvals or permits?  
        Responses                                                                                                            Percent               
        A) Community Film Coordinator collects all department approvals for us most of the time  0.0%

        B) Community Film Coordinator provides SOME approval assistance; we have to identify
        and contact other departments ourselves to identify and obtain approvals                         0.0%  
        C) Most times, I have to identify and contact multiple departments ourselves                   100.0% 

4. How often is your initial permitting/approval process with local governments accurate, complete, convenient and free from production-affecting issues?
       Responses                                                                                                    Percent
A)  25% of the time, our applications/experiences were accurate, complete,
                convenient and production went well                                                         0.0% 
B) 50% of the time, our applications/approval experiences were accurate,
                complete, convenient and production went well                                       50.0% 
C)   75% of the time, our applications/approval experiences were accurate, complete,
convenient and production went well                                                             0.0% 
            D) 100% of the time, our applications/approval experiences were accurate, complete,                                           convenient and production went well                                         50.0%   

 5. What is the average permitting approval time (average) for film/TV/Video productions (simple to moderate production – no pyrotechnics, stunts, etc.)?
        Responses                                                                                                             Percent               
        A) 1-3 days                                                                                                              0.0%  
        B) 3-7 days                                                                                                          100.0% 

        C) 7-14 days                                                                                                            0.0%  
        D) More than 14 days                                                                                               0.0%     

6. What would you like to see changed in the film approval/permitting process for communities where you film? (check all that apply)
        Responses                                                                                                           Percent               
A)  Improved access to community filming policies so I can understand
                        what is required for the community's approval                                           50.0% 
            B) Better, easier access to filming policies to plan the application and filming          50.0% 
C) Faster approval processes                                                                               50.0% 
D) Understanding of estimated fees to film in the community                                100.0%  

E) Better way to identify other departments who need to approve filming requests 50.0% 
F) Better navigation between communities                                                            50.0% 
G) Understand status of the filming application during evaluation by community
                (confirm it was accepted, questions from community,
                status of approval/disapproval, etc.)                                                    50.0%

8. If there were film approval/permitting tools (such as web based systems) that didn’t require a lot of effort on your part would you consider using them as part of your film approval/permitting requests to local communities?
        Responses                                                                                                           Percent
        A) Yes                                                                                                                     100.0% 

        B) No                                                                                                                        0.0% 
        C) Maybe                                                                                                                  0.0%     

9. Does the ability to successfully/easily obtain filming approvals/permits affect your decision about which communities will be used for your filming? (Assume all other factors are equal between the communities in consideration and there are no special community features needed for the scene)
        Responses                                                                                                         Percent               
        A) Yes, ease of doing business affects the decision to select a community                100.0%
        B) No, we select communities based only on other factors more important than ease of                                                 permitting/approvals                                                          0.0%     

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