Filming in the Boroughs is Easy Thanks to the Mayor’s “Made in NY” Program
By Daniel Scarpati
Representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting visited Brooklyn College on Tuesday, February 28 to teach student filmmakers the proper and safe ways to shoot in city.
The Made in NY program is part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and it’s responsible for working with and assisting film and television show casts and crews as they work in the five boroughs. The program helps to provide directors and producers with permits to film and collections of readily available locations throughout the city, among other resources.
What many student filmmakers don’t know is that you don’t need a permit for all kinds of filming. “For a camera, tripod and typically anything handheld, you’re allowed to shoot without a permit,” said Habibah Love, one of the two representatives that were present at the meeting. “There are optional permits available for handheld shooting, but you can just print the rules and guidelines from the Made in NY site, highlight the section about filming without a permit, and then walk [and film] with that.”
Hassan Heyward, the other representative, said that there may be cases sometimes where the police ask you to stop filming, with or without a permit. “The police are the one entity that can stop you from shooting,” he said.
As for medium to large scale productions that need access to truckloads of equipment and choose to film on city property, permits are required. There’s a three hundred dollar processing fee to obtain one, and with it comes access to free parking for production vehicles, free police assistance and a location liaison to assist in speaking with local businesses and the surrounding community.
The Made in NY website recently launched an online permit program to make the process of obtaining a permit much easier. When applying, required information includes the name of the production company, desired permit type, parking and vehicle information and the date and time a company plans to shoot. Applicants can also enter rain date information in case the weather on the primary date makes filming impossible.
Permit holders can also gain access to a Made in NY Discount Card. These cards provide discounts on everything a production could possibly require, from equipment and wardrobe rental to food and spa services.
Love and Heyward didn’t advocate guerilla filmmaking. This style of filmmaking entails shooting on a location without permission. When ready, the cast and crew go on site, do what they have to do in the quickest manner possible, leave and done on a shoestring budget.
Interested filmmakers can learn more about the Made in NY program, access the online permit application form and see a full list of all participating businesses in the discount card program by visiting the website nyc.gov/film.