Downtown Piru Transformed for Filming
Film Permit General Information
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Ventura County Film Permit Fee Summary
- Film Permit Fee Calculator (not compatible with the Firefox web browser)
- Film Permitting for Ventura County Coastal Area
- Film Permitting State, Federal, and County Contacts
- Ventura County Film Commission – location recommendations and inquiries related to sites throughout the county, including cities.
The County of Ventura requires all commercial film productions to obtain a Ventura County Film Permit for all filming activities within the unincorporated areas of Ventura County (including private property). Productions must obtain a Film Permit for any filming activities including, but not limited to, feature films, TV series, TV movies, commercials, music videos, still photography, and web productions. Student film productions may be exempt but are required to contact the Film Permit Coordinator regarding their production. For more information on student film productions, see the Frequently Asked Questions.
Filming for personal use such as family events, weddings, graduations, parties, and other holiday activities are exempt from obtaining a Film Permit. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for additional details.
Background on the Film Permitting Process
Ventura County is a popular filming destination due to its suburban communities and rural enclaves, many separated by agricultural fields, rivers, and mountains. Due to this, the County aims to encourage filming while protecting its natural resources and processes more than 400 over-the-counter film applications annually.
Ventura County tracks filming in the unincorporated County and generates an annual map of filming locations, as shown below.
Map of 2021 Filming Locations
The Ventura County Planning Division uses two zoning ordinances when reviewing film permit applications: the Coastal Zoning Ordinance (for structures and uses within the coastal zone) and the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance (for structures and uses outside of the coastal zone). The Coastal or the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance will apply based on the location of the production.
To determine if the location is in the Coastal or Non-Coastal Zone, review the Coastal Zone layer in the Ventura County GIS tool. The map below provides a general illustration of the two zones.
Map of the Coastal Zone
There are two types of film permits that productions can apply for: ministerial (commonly referred to as “over-the-counter”) film permits and discretionary permits which are subject to an environmental review and public hearing. For more information on discretionary permits, review the discretionary permit process. The over-the-counter film permits have limits on the number of allowable filming days. This number is dependent on if the filming location falls under the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance or the Coastal Zoning Ordinance. For information on the number of allowable filming days, review the below graphics.
- Film Permit Type According to Number of Filming Activity Days (Non-Coastal Zone)
- Film Permit Type According to Number of Filming Activity Days (Coastal Zone)
Documents Required Before Permit Approval
The County has created a video with Instructions for Submitting a Film Permit Application. (Note: This video does not include audio).
These are the documents that all applications need for a film permit application to be processed. The application is not considered complete until these documents have been submitted:
- Property Owner Authorization Form
- Site Plan Map. (Sample) –All Assessor Parcel Numbers (APNs), parcel boundaries, and location of filming activities to be shown on the map. For more information, see Film Permit Locations section
Processing times for standard filming applications are generally 3 business days.
Processing times for film applications requiring waivers are generally 5 business days.
Applications for Film Permits with Waivers take an additional 1-2 business days for a radius map. For more information on applications for Film Permits with Waivers, see the Film Permit with Waiver section.
In accordance with filming industry standards, Ventura County has lifted the Covid attestation requirement for productions as of June 15, 2022.
Filming at Neptune’s Net along Pacific Coast Highway
Film Permit Locations in Ventura County
Ventura County has a variety of outdoor locations available for filming including farms, beaches, and mountains. Sections of Ventura County fall within the Los Angeles 30-Mile Studio and Secondary Studio Zone (map), including Piru. Questions regarding locations within these zones can be directed to the Ventura County Film Commission.
Film locations may be held privately or publicly by a government agency. Permission from the owner of the property must be obtained prior to the approval of a film permit. This permission is formalized in the Property Owner Authorization Form that all film permit applications must submit.
Property ownership is identified through the assessor parcel number (APN). Due to this, site maps must include the filming activity in relationship to parcel boundaries and the APNs on an aerial map. The best tool for identifying the APNs and parcel boundaries is the Ventura County View. Below is an instructional video on how to use the Ventura County View to export a base map to mark up. Google maps will not be accepted unless they include the APNs and parcel boundaries.
- Video on Ventura County View
Instructional video on how to use Ventura County View to locate a property and activate the APNs for site maps.
- Ventura County GIS Map
Search for locations, addresses, APNs, jurisdictions, and more on the County’s interactive map.
- Property Owner Information
Search for the current owner of a property. It requires the APN, property address, or the Last name of the property owner.
Base Maps of Popular Filming Locations
For your convenience, the County has prepared a limited number of base maps that include the APNs and parcel boundaries. Please indicate where the production will film, basecamp, and park vehicles and any other filming activity. Ventura County does not endorse any of these locations but provides these maps to assist in the creation of site maps.
If the production must access the filming location via a private road, include the driving route along the private road to the filming location.
We Bought a Zoo filmed at Greenfield Ranch
Film Permit with Waivers
As noted above, the Ventura County Planning Division uses two zoning ordinances when reviewing film permit applications: the Coastal Zoning Ordinance (for structures and uses within the coastal zone) and the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance (for structures and uses outside of the coastal zone). The Coastal or the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance will apply based on the location of the production.
A “film permit with waivers” is required when filming activities exceed specific thresholds as outlined in the Coastal Zoning Ordinance or the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance. The thresholds for when waivers are required differ between the Coastal and the Non-Coastal Zones. Some properties have zoning designations that automatically require a “film permit with waivers.”
The Film Permit Coordinator will determine if a production requires waivers upon reviewing the submitted application. When a film permit application is determined to require waivers, the Film Permit Coordinator will forward the site map to the County’s GIS team for a radius map. The radius is determined by the zoning designation of the film location and identifies residents who will be impacted by the filming. Productions must notify 100% of impacted residents and obtain approval from a “majority” (50%+1) of impacted residents.
More information on “film permit with waivers” is available in the waiver instructions document.
- Waiver Instructions
- Waiver Statement Form
- Waiver Statement Form (Spanish)
- Sample Completed Waiver Statement Form
Filming in Downtown Piru in the Right-of-Way
Specialized Film Permits and Contacts
Depending on the filming activity, a production may be required to obtain permits from other agencies. These agencies include but are not limited to: Public Works Transportation Department, Ventura County Fire Department, and Channel Islands Harbor.
- Transportation Department: Encroachment Permits
An encroachment permit is required when filming is on public roads or in the public right of way. Applications for an encroachment permit must be submitted through Citizen Access.
- Film Permitting State, Federal, and County Contacts
See the above document for other contacts within Ventura County involved in the film permitting process. For a list of city film permit coordinators, contact the Ventura County Film Commission.
Film Permit Amendment
Forms for Property Owners
Ventura County will not process a film permit application until the property owner approves of the filming activity. This approval is formalized in the property owner authorization form.
- Property Owner Authorization Form
This form is required for every film permit application. It serves as a permission form from the property owner that authorizes filming.
- Agent Authorization Form
This form is required if a property owner wishes to designate an agent to sign on behalf of the property owner for the Property Owner Authorization Form. The agent authorization form requires a copy of a government issued ID from the property owner or a notarized letter authorizing the agent from the property owner. The authorization is valid until the Film Permit Coordinator receives written communication from the property owner to remove the agent as an authorized signer.