Filming in California

LOGO NEEDAFIXER  California

California is the film capital of the world and, ultimately, there is absolutely nothing California cannot offer in terms of its filming locations. In fact, being the third largest state in America, California is enriched with filming opportunity, and California’s filming locations can be divided into four large regions.

  • Filming in California
  • Fixers in California
  • Popular Filming locations

Whatever the requirements of your production company, you’ll find a suitable filming location within California’s diverse landscapes, large cities and unique locations.

Hollywood alone has been home to numerous blockbusters, including Blade Runner (1982), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Pulp Fiction (1994) and Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

What’s more, the opportunity for incredible filming doesn’t stop in Hollywood. California is also the film set of other famous films, like Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998) and Beverley Hills Cop II (1987).

California’s vast filming opportunities and diverse options for film sets, inevitably makes the state a popular location for many filmmakers.

NEEDaFIXER can help your production company select the most suitable location for your shoot and help with all aspects of filming. We can provide you with expert film crew, from cameramen to directors, all with outstanding knowledge of California as a filming location.

As well as large cities and film studios for urban, environmentally-controlled shoots, California is blessed with beautiful mountain areas, vast valleys and stunning coastline. Our fixers can help you choose the destination of your shoot, as well as advise you of the best time to shoot, and more.

If you are looking to film in California, NEEDaFIXER can help you organise every aspect of your shoot. We have sound knowledge of the filming in California, as well as professional filming techniques and more. Our expert film fixers can help you with:

Costs and Financing. Public location filming permits are free, although film permit applications should be submitted with 4 days’ notice before the first day of shooting. Applications require proof of insurance. If your film requires the closure of a dual-carriageway, 16 days’ notice is needed.  NEEDaFIXER can help with further location specific requirements.

Crews and talent sourcing. Because California is the filming capital of the world, the State is populated with talented and professional film crew. From aspiring students to Hollywood actors, and the most sought-after creative directors, California is an attractive location for the most talented and passionate filmmakers in the film industry. NEEDaFIXER can help you source the world’s best crew, depending on your film’s budget size.

Translation. English is, of course, native to California, but should you need any translation services, our fixers are more than happy to arrange this.

Travel. California is well serviced by both international and domestic flights. The major airports in California can be divided into the following regions:

The San Francisco area has 3 major airports: San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK) and Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Sacramento has one major airport: Sacramento (SMF).

There are 5 major airports situated in Los Angeles: Los Angeles International (LAX), Bob Hope Airport aka Burbank Airport (BUR), Long Beach Airport (LGB), Santa Ana Airport (SNA) and Ontario Airport (ONT).

Our fixers can help you with the logistics of your travel. After all, the scope of California is around 900 miles in total and, therefore, planning of your journey is essential. California has excellent rail and bus services, as well as a number smaller airports.

Accommodation. There are film-friendly hotels in abundance throughout the whole of California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and more. Our fixers can advise you of the most suitable accommodation for your filming requirements.

Visas. All visitors to America need an ESTA visa. What’s more, shooting with a large amount of equipment, also requires an ‘I Work’ visa, which is specifically for press, radio, film and other media platforms.

Although many people will only require a visa for a duration of stay exceeding 90 days, requirements are dependent on your country of origin. Therefore, having expert help from our fixers can ensure all your film crew can enter California with the correct entry paperwork.

Set Construction and studio sourcing. Home to the big five studios, use of the studios in California tend to be on the more expensive side, but indeed offer phenomenal facilities. After all, we’re all familiar with 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, RKO Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. Set construction is, of course, another possibility that our fixers can help you with should you prefer this option over use of the studios in California.

Tax incentives and credits. California provides various tax incentives for filmmakers, and offers a 25 percent tax rebate to filmmakers on their approved spend in the local area.

Safety and travel advisories. California is generally a safe place to visit and, in most cases, it is possible to obtain a visa for an extended stay of over 90 days.

California’s popular film locations can be divided into four areas: Los Angeles, Southern California, Central California and Northern California.

The first, Los Angeles, is one of the most famous, and popular, filming locations in the world. Not only does Los Angeles offer excellent filming neighbourhoods like Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Malibu and Santa Monica, LA offers further filming locations of interest including the Hollywood sign and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as contemporary mansions, highways and overpasses (that can even be closed especially for filming). What’s more, filmmakers may take advantage of Los Angeles’ university campuses, 1950’s diners, Universal Studios, Warner Bros Studios and more.

Southern California also has numerous filming locations that are popular amongst different filmmakers. From the fantastic cityscapes of San Diego, to National Parks and dry lakes, Southern California offers a film destination for a range of scenes.

In Central California, filmmakers are often drawn to Death Valley, as well as deserted towns and various dry lakes.

Northern California additionally offers the fantastic view of the San Francisco Bay Area which offers iconic urban scenes that work well in a range of movies, feature films and more.

Other sites of interest include:

Various cattle and horse ranches.

Locations that show off the 200 different crops that grow in California including fruits like oranges, lemons, peaches and grapes, as well as avocados and other interesting crops.

Beaches and lighthouses.

Museums, like the DeYoung Museum and California Academy of Sciences, in Northern California.

Sport stadiums and ski resorts.

Los Angeles Theater.

Manhattan Beach Pier.

If you would like to find out more about shooting locations in California, as well as crew and casting, or any other production services you may need, please contact NEEDaFIXER today.

Frequently Asked Questions


How easy is it to get permits?


Do I need a visa or work permit?


Can I hire equipment once there?


What is the climate like?


Some of Our Work

Testimonials

’You guys were amazing! You delivered perfectly at short notice in a foreign country, introduced us to lovely crew in both and really went the extra mile in making sure it was all taken care of and confirmed properly. I can’t thank you enough and look forward to working together again.’

Davo McConville

Free Lance Producer - Black Dog / RSA
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Katarzyna Chmielarz

Producer / GPD

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