Film Shooting Policies

All Emerson College students must adhere to the policies and procedures associated with shooting film/video and/or recording audio and for securing permission to do so.

I. General Policies

These policies and procedures apply to student organizations, The Emerson Channel, Emerson Productions, faculty, students, and staff. Shoots may not take place in hazardous locations at any time that could cause injury to cast and crew or damage to Emerson College equipment.

At least one week prior to a location shootstudents should submit the appropriate permit request to Lenny Manzo, VMA Director of Production and Safety, for processing.

All VMA shoots must complete a safety form in order to take out equipment. 

Location film and video production carries risk. While you may make every attempt to exercise safety precautions on a location shoot, you may be held legally and financially liable in the event of an accident that happens as a result of that shoot.

The College does provide insurance for equipment on loan from the Equipment Distribution Center (EDC); there is a $2,500 deductible payment that the borrower is responsible for in the case of damages. The insurance will pay for damages over $2,500. The College equipment insurance policy provides insurance for equipment rented outside of the College, up to a maximum value of $250,000, of which no single piece can be worth more than $90,000.  The College does not provide workman’s compensation insurance for talent, including members of SAG and AFTRA.

II. Penalties

Violations of the TRF Shooting Policies and Procedures and/or violations of the VMA Student Production Safety Manual may result in one or both of the following actions:

·         Suspension of production activities

·         Formal charges and disciplinary action by the College as outlined in the Student Handbook

III. Shoots Requiring Special Permission

  • Shoots that require the use of prop weapons, smoke or fog machines, live animals, or young children require special permission from Lenny Manzo, VMA Director of Production and Safety. Use of actual weapons of any kind on any Emerson College production is prohibited, including, but not limited to: any knife, sword, or any other kind of stabbing weapon; handcuffs or any other personal restraint tools; handguns, rifles, shotguns, BB guns, pellet guns, or any gun shooting any type of projectile.  Prop weapons are not permitted in the residence halls.
  • Shoots that require after hours access to buildings or locations may require special additional permission.
  • If you are traveling with Emerson College equipment outside of the United States, The Emerson College equipment insurance policy will cover College equipment, and the College will provide an insurance certificate showing that the value of that equipment is insured for the duration of that travel. Shoots outside the United States require our creation of a customs manifest. When reserving equipment for an international shoot, please notify an EDC manager. Please apply at least three weeks in advance.

IV. Shooting on Emerson Property

To shoot on Emerson College property you must fill out the A1 Form.

·         Submit the completed form and your script to your instructor for his or her signature.

·         See Lenny Manzo for his signature.  He will direct you to the Emerson Police Department, the appropriate building manager, and the Property Management Department. 

The only exception to filling out the A1 Form is a two-person shoot with one camera and tripod in a faculty or staff office with their permission and their supervision. 

To insure that the College and its students are in compliance with City of Boston fire regulations and Massachusetts special effects regulations - fires, candles, smoke, cookies, squibs, black powder charges, fireworks, explosive devices, or any other flame producing items are not permitted on College property.

Students are prohibited from making permanent alterations or modifications to Emerson College structures. The use of any prop, set item, special effects apparatus, or any other device of any kind that may result in damage to Emerson College property is prohibited. Students are advised to consult with their instructor for specific permissions and prohibitions.

Use of props and set pieces in Emerson College buildings may require you to adhere to the Emerson College Policies on Use of Performance and Rehearsal Facilities. This document can be downloaded at in the policies and forms section.

Shoots may not be conducted in the following areas:

·         Inside the lobbies of buildings

·         In front of or inside building elevators

·         On stairways

·         In any corridor

·         In rest rooms

·         Anywhere where building egress might be blocked in any way

·         Anywhere where building operation might be impaired in any way

·         Allen’s Alley

·         Boylston Place

·         Edgar Allen Poe Alley

·         Paramount Loading Dock

Certain areas within specific College buildings are off-limits:

  • At the Walker Building, 120 Boylston Street: In the Emerson College Library
  • At 216 Tremont Street: Inside the Bill Bordy Theater and Auditorium (available for limited access)
  • At the Tufte Performance and Production Center
    • Semel Theater lobby
    • Huret and Spectre Gallery
  • At 150 Boylston Street
  • Floor L3 & Floor L2 – Athletics, The Skybox, Gymnasium
  • Floor L1 – Meeting Rooms, the Cultural Center, Piano Rooms, Student Organization Offices
  • Floor 1 – Laundry Room, Lobby, Meeting Rooms, The Multipurpose Room, the Terrace
  • Floor 2 – The Quiet Lounge, the Student Lounge, the Café, Meeting Room, administrative offices

·         At the Ansin Building, 180 Tremont St:  Floors 9 through 14

All spaces managed by the Campus Center at 150 Boylston St. and the Cabaret at 80 Boylston may be used with permission the Director of the Campus Center at 150 Boylston St. (617-824-8680).

V. Shooting in the Tufte PPC Studios, Journalism Production Center, or Paramount Soundstage

Except for classes, any use of the TV studios and control rooms or the Paramount Soundstage requires a permit application. For Tufte PPC or Journalism Production Center studios use the A4 Form. For the Paramount Center Film Soundstage, use the S4 Form (Paramount Center Film Soundstage Permit Form). After filling out the form, turn it in to the appropriate studio manager:

  • PPC TV Studios, Antonio (Tony) Ascenso: PPC Room 814
  • Journalism Production Center, Alicia Carlson: Walker Room 631
  • Paramount Center Film Soundstage, Roy Wilson: Paramount Room 405

VI. Shooting in the Residence Halls

To shoot in the residence halls, all students must fill out the A1 Form.  The Office of Housing and Residence Life considers requests only when they meet the following conditions:

  • A single camera on tripod or hand-held or audio recording device is utilized.
  • Shoot or recording will not interfere with residence hall activities or individual student privacy or activities.
  • The maximum number of (combined) cast and crew is four people.
  • No peripheral shooting equipment (e.g., audio recorders, cables, lights, reflectors, C-stands) is permitted.
  • The filming occurs within the room of the resident making the request and does not spill out into the hallway.
  • The filming can only occur if the resident’s roommate(s)/suitemates agree in writing to the filming schedule and activities.
  • Furniture cannot be stacked or removed from the room or suite.
  • The project must adhere to all College and residence hall rules and regulations (e.g., guest policy, no use of prohibited items including prop weapons, no hanging any items from sprinkler heads or pipes).
  • Requests from off-campus residents for filming will only be considered if the filming is scheduled to occur in the room of a cast/crew member and that resident agrees to serve as the host responsible for the project and any non-residents involved in the shoot.

Students who wish to shoot film or video within the residence halls should contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life to request permission.

VII. Shooting on Public Property

There is a specific process required to film on public property in the City of Boston, other cities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other states.  License fees and other permits may be required by the police departments, fire departments, departments of public works, parks and recreation departments, and/or neighborhood associations. It is the responsibility of the producing student to obtain these permits and authorizations.

VIII. Shooting on Public Property in the City of Boston

A "small shoot" may be performed in the City of Boston, the Esplanade, Boston parks, and the waterfront without a permit if the following criteria are met:

  1. Single camera on tripod or hand held or audio recorder.
  2. Shoot will not obstruct pedestrian access on sidewalk or obstruct street.
  3. Maximum number of cast: 2, and crew: 2.
  4. No peripheral shooting equipment (audio recorders, cables, lights, reflectors, C-stands, etc.) In other words, the shoot would be similar to tourists shooting on vacation in Boston.

If the shoot does not meet these criteria, you must fill out a City of Boston Film Office Permitting Request Form and contact Mary Higgins in the Office of Government & Community Relations at 617-824-8984 to schedule a meeting before you meet with Patte Papa. To schedule an appointment with Patte Papa, City of Boston Film Director, call 617-635-3911, Fax: 617-635- 4428. The Boston Film Office is located at Boston City Hall, Room 802. View more information and the City of Boston Permitting Request Form.

If a video or film shoot is taking place in a public location in Boston:

  • The City requires you submit the City of Boston Film Office Permitting Request Form and Emerson College Form A2 "Request for Public Location Permission" with the appropriate signatures. You are then eligible to utilize the certificate of insurance and the bond the City Film Office has on file.
  • For protection against possible damage to city property, Emerson College provides a bond with a minimum security of $5,000.00 issued to the City of Boston. To acquire a copy of this bond, please contact the Emerson Department of Purchasing and Risk Management, 617-824-8590. The request for this copy may take at least 48 hours to process.
  • Call the Boston Film Office to schedule an appointment at 617-635-3911. Bring the Certificate of Insurance, the Bond, and the City of Boston Film Office Permitting Request Form to Patte Papa, Film Director, City of Boston Film Bureau. The Boston Film Office is located at Boston City Hall, Room 802. View more information and the City of Boston Permitting Request Form.

This procedure above is to be followed for all City of Boston locations except those listed below:

IX. Shooting in Boston Parks, MBTA Property, and Logan Airport Property

Call one of the appropriate people to apply for a permit. Fill out form A2, obtain the appropriate signatures, and provide the A2 form to the appropriate person below. They may require a letter of request (re: who, what, where, when, why, equipment, etc.) and a fee.

City of Boston Parks: including Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, Commonwealth Mall, and The Esplanade: Call Mary Higgins, Office of Government and Community Relations, Emerson College. Phone: 617-824-8984. Fax 617-824-8943; mail to: 120 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116, or hand deliver to 120 Boylston St., 10th floor, room 1002.

MBTA: MBTA Public Affairs Office, Joe Pesatrua, phone 617-222-1510, fax 617-222-4539. or mail: MBTA Public Affairs, 10 Park Plaza, Boston 02116

Logan Airport: Massachusetts Port Properties, Dorothy Connolly-Steele, phone 617-568- 3705, fax 617-568 3703.

The Massachusetts Film Bureau may assist you with information and contacts for shooting in other cities and towns outside Boston and give you additional information: Their web site is: or phone: 617-523-8388. The Massachusetts Film Bureau is located at 198 Tremont Street, PMB#135, Boston, MA 02116.

X. Shooting on Private Property

You can shoot film of private property from public property without permission. If you want to go on private property, you must ask the owner for written permission. If you do not receive written permission from the owner or his/her official representative, you may be trespassing.

Students must fill out the A3 Form to shoot on private property.  This form will generate a Certificate of Insurance, which extends the Emerson College liability insurance to the student’s shoot.  After filling out the form and securing the faculty signature, students must make an appointment with Lenny Manzo in order to finalize the process.  This should be done five days prior to the student’s first shoot day. 

VMA students who have questions should contact Lenny Manzo at, or 617-824-8126.

Journalism students who have questions should contact Jonathan “Satch” Satriale at, or 617-824-3856.