All Students enrolled in VMA courses are obligated to review the production policy and guideline presented here and acknowledge and accept the terms states and their responsibilities.
- I. General Policies
- II. Penalties
- III. Productions Requiring Special Permission
- IV. Filming on Emerson Property
- V. Filming in the Tufte PPC Studios, Journalism Production Center, or Paramount Soundstage
- VI. Filming in the Residence Halls
- VII. Filming on Public Property
- VIII. Filming on Public Property in the City of Boston
- IX. Filming in Boston Parks, MBTA Property, and Logan Airport Property
- X. Filming On Private Property
I. General Policies
These policies and procedures apply to student organizations, The Emerson Channel, Emerson Productions, faculty, students, and staff. Productions 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 production, students should submit the appropriate permit request to Homa Sarabi, VMA interim Director of Production and Safety, for processing.
All VMA productions 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 production, you may be held legally and financially liable in the event of an accident that happens as a result of that production.
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.
All VMA productions must complete the Location Safety Form in order to take out equipment.
Violations of the MTP Filming 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. Productions Requiring Special Permission
Productions that require the use of prop weapons, smoke or fog machines, live animals, or young children require special permission from Homa Sarabi, VMA interim 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 firing any type of projectile. Prop weapons are not permitted in the residence halls. Productions 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. Productions outside the United States require our creation of a customs manifest. When reserving equipment for an international production, please notify an EDC manager. Please apply at least three weeks in advance.
IV. Filming on Emerson Property
To film on Emerson College property you must go to the VMA Portal.
- Once in the portal, create a project and fill out the location request.
- If you have any questions contact Homa Sarabi, homa_sarabi [at] emerson.edutitle="Email Homa Sarabi"
The only exception to filling out the Portal Request Form is a two-person production with one camera and tripod in a faculty or staff office with their permission and their supervision.
To ensure 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.
Productions may be conducted within the following spaces on campus:
- At the Campus Centers (172 Tremont St.)
- The Owens Multipurpose Room
- Meeting Rooms 102, 202, 203, 205, 206, 308, 403
- Pods 215, 317, 318, 419
- At the Student Performance Center (80 Boylston St.)
- The Student Performance Center Theater
- The Student Performance Center Black Box
- Student Performance Center Studios 1 & 2
- Rehearsal Rooms 1, 2, & 3
- At the Ansin Building (180 Tremont St.)
- Rooms 111, 201, 203, 204, 205, 208, 604, 605
- At the Little Building (80 Boylston St)
- Rooms 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 231, 240, 241
- At the Paramount Center (555 Washington St.)
- Rooms 515, 517
- At the Piano Row Building (150 Boylston St.)
- Rooms L152, L154
- At the Tufte Performance and Production Center (10 Boylston Place)
- Rooms 913, 914, 1014, 1114
- At the Union Back Building (216 Tremont St.)
- Rooms 201, 301
- At the Walker Building (120 Boylston St,)
- Rooms 201, 202, 205, 206 210, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 401, 416, 417, 501, 502, 503, 517, 518, 519, 520,521 522, 523, 524, 527, 528, 529
Requests for on campus locations can be made online via Spacebook, and must be submitted at least 72 hours in advance for review and approval.
Productions 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 restrooms and dressing rooms
- Anywhere where building egress might be blocked in any way
- Anywhere where building operation might be impaired in any way
- Faculty and administrative offices
- 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 St.:
- Basement and 1st Floor, Dining Hall
- 3rd Floor Emerson College Library
- At 150 Boylston St.:
- Floor L3 & Floor L2 – Athletics, The Skybox*, Gymnasium
- Floor L1
- Floor 1 – Laundry Room, Lobby, Meeting Rooms 117 and 118, Room 144, the Terrace
- Floor 2 – The Quiet Lounge, the Max Café, Meeting Room 232, administrative offices
- 172 Tremont St.
- The Center for Spiritual Life, Private Prayer space, and Reflection Room*
- The Cultural Center*
- The Editing Suite - Room 302
- The Community Kitchen*
- At the Ansin Building, 180 Tremont St.:
- Floors 7 through 14
- At 216 Tremont St.:
- Inside the Bill Bordy Theater and Auditorium*
- At 219 Tremont St.:
- Inside the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Backstage, or Lobbies
- At 10 Boylston Place, the Tufte Performance and Production Center:
- 201 and 202 Costume Shop
- Semel Theater, Backstage and Lobby
- Floor 5 – Dressing Rooms
- Greene Theater, Backstage and Lobby
- Huret and Spector Gallery*
- 1010 and 1011 Studios
- At 555 Washington St.:
- Floor L1 – Theatre Support Areas
- Floor 1 – Loading Dock, Scene Shop
- Floor 2 – Scene Shop and Backstage Areas
- Floor 3 – Paramount Studios and Atrium Lobby
- Limited to single camera, two-person productions only.
- Floor 4 – Paramount Studios and Atrium Lobby
- Limited to single camera, two-person productions only.
- At 559 Washington St.:
- Paramount Mainstage Theatre, Lobbies and Backstage
- Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, Lobby and Backstage
- Bright Family Screening Room, Lobby and Booth
* Requests may be considered for this location on a case-by-case basis with proper advanced notice and in coordination with the venue manager
V. Filming 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. Except for classes, any use of the TV studios and control rooms or the Paramount Soundstage requires a permit application, and certified trained crew members. For Tufte PPC, Journalism Production Center studios, or Paramount Center Film Soundstage, use the Location Safety Form on the VMA Portal. 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, Antonio (Tony) Ascenso: PPC Room 814
- Paramount Center Film Soundstage, Rebecca Williams: Paramount Room 405
VI. Filming in the Residence Halls
To film in the residence halls, all students must fill out the Portal Request Form. The Office of Housing and Residential Education considers requests only when they meet the following conditions:
- A single camera on a tripod or hand-held or audio recording device is utilized.
- Filming or recording will not interfere with residence hall activities or individual student privacy or activities.
- No hazardous peripheral filming equipment (e.g., hot (tungsten) lights, large lighting modifiers (flags, reflectors), dolly tracks) 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.
- Hallways, lobbies, elevators, community-use bathrooms, and the 2 Boylston Place terrace, in the residence halls may not be used for filming.
- To film in common areas, lounges, etc , submit the request at least 3 full business days prior to the scheduled film shoot.
The project must adhere to all campus and residence hall policies (e.g., guest policy, no use of prohibited items including prop weapons, no hanging any items from sprinkler heads, pipes, or ceilings, etc). At any time if there is a concern for health, safety, or peace of the community, Housing and Residential Education reserves the right to immediately withdraw approval and cease production.
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 production.
Students who wish to produce film or video within the residence halls should contact the Office of Housing and Residential Education to request permission.
VII. Filming 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. When seeking a permit from the City of Boston you must contact Mary Higgins in the Office of Government and Community Relations. She can be contacted at mary_higgins [at] emerson.edutarget="_blank" title="Email Mary Higgens ", or at 617-824-8984. Mary’s office is Walker 1002.
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. Filming on Public Property in the City of Boston
A "small production" may be performed in the City of Boston, the Esplanade, Boston parks, and the waterfront without a permit if the following criteria are met:
- Single camera on tripod or hand held or audio recorder.
- Production will not obstruct pedestrian access on sidewalk or obstruct street.
- Maximum number of cast: 2, and crew: 2.
- No peripheral filming equipment (audio recorders, cables, lights, reflectors, C-stands, etc.) In other words, the production would be similar to tourists filming on vacation in Boston.
If the production does not meet these criteria, you must fill 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, One City Hall Square/Room 802. View more information and the City of Boston Permitting Request Form.
If a video or film production 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 Portal Request form "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. Filming in Boston Parks, MBTA Property, and Logan Airport Property
Call one of the appropriate people to apply for a permit. Fill out form Portal Request, obtain the appropriate signatures, and provide the Portal Request 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, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR): The Esplanade, Blue Hills Reservation Call Mary Higgins, Office of Government & Community Relations at 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 Pesaturo, phone 617-222-3200 or 617-222-4539.
Logan Airport: Massachusetts Port-Community Relations, Alaina Coppola, phone 617-568-3701.
The Massachusetts Film Office may assist you with information and contacts for filming in other cities and towns outside Boston and give you additional information: Their website www.mafilm.org or phone: 617-973-8400, 136 Blackstone Street, Boston, MA 02109.
X. Filming on Private Property
You can produce 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 their official representative, you may be trespassing.
Students must fill out the Portal Request Form to film on private property. This form will generate a Certificate of Insurance, which extends the Emerson College liability insurance to the student’s production. After filling out the form and securing the faculty signature, students must make an appointment with Homa Sarabi in order to finalize the process.
This should be done five days prior to the student’s first filming day.
VMA students who have questions should contact Homa Sarabi at homa_sarabi [at] emerson.edutitle="Email Homa Sarabi", or 617-824-8126.
Journalism students who have questions should contact Jonathan "Satch" Satriale at jonathan_satriale [at] emerson.edutarget="_blank" title="Email Jonathan Satriale", or 617-824-3856.