It is well worth noting all of the possible additional fees when filming a television commercial, as these items can add several hundred to several thousand dollars to the total cost:
Location fees – Location fees are prevalent especially when filming a TV commercial in New York City. These fees can be for space inside a designer home, a cafe, hotel, bar, restaurant or shopping mall. If you wish to use public space or government run facilities to film, film permits may apply. See the Filming permits section below for common, specific areas in New York City.
Filming Permits – The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting issues permits to crews filming on location in New York City and provides various perks including free police assistance, free parking privileges and access to most exterior locations free of charge. In 2008, the rules were published for when a production is required to have a permit and when it is not, in order to help expedite filmmaking in the City. When a permit is required, there is a $300* fee for processing of the initial application of a new project.
Local location services companies such Debbie Regan Locations that assist with serving suburban areas such of NYC such as New Jersey and Long Island will advise any production that fees in some towns can range up to $3500. In addition some small suburban towns may require up to month’s notice, depending on when the town hold their monthly board meeting.
A permit is also required in certain situations when equipment or vehicles are used, or the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property. Please note that insurance is required for this permit.
If you want to use specific public places, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) oversees various City buildings such as the Manhattan and Brooklyn Municipal Buildings, all Borough Halls, and City and State Courts, that are available to productions as filming locations. When filming in one of these properties, a fee of $3,200* needs to accompany a permit submitted to the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. Filming in city parks, interiors within city buildings, bridges, subways or tunnels will require additional permissions from the controlling entities. *Correct at the time of publication.
Insurance – It is always advisable to have commercial general liability insurance when filming in public locations. There are a number of insurance brokers available to help you with this. In the instance where you are required to hold a permit from The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, it is a requirement to maintain commercial general liability insurance with a limit of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) per occurrence. Such insurance shall include a policy endorsement naming the City of New York as an additional insured.
Some of the other expenses you may need to budget for include studio hire, personalities and celebrities, food stylists, animation, jingles and promotion such as a website. Last but not least, it is essential to have a contingency budget. This is a financial buffer, usually between five and ten percent of the total budget and is there in case anything goes wrong or if the production goes into overtime. Production is unpredictable, and contingency gives you a buffer for the unexpected.