Guidelines for Filming

The City of Folly Beach is an increasingly popular location for television and movie filming. While we wish to reasonably accommodate requests for filming activities, our priority is to protect the quality of life for residents, visitors, and wildlife. Generally, filming is encouraged only between September 15 and March 15 to minimize disruptions during the high season. These guidelines are intended for all filming, with particular emphasis on filming that could potentially violate the city’s noise, traffic, parking, lighting, turtle lighting, or beach rules or require assistance from security or city Public Safety personnel. Please note: ALL VENDORS MUST HAVE A BUSINESS LICENSE WITH THE CITY OF FOLLY BEACH.

General Film Guidelines

I. Rules for All Filming

A. Permit: A permit application is required for any filming activity taking place within Folly Beach city limits, whether on public or private property. Failure to comply with rules will result in loss of privileges, revocation of permit, or future prohibition of a particular filming business. A complete listing of all anticipated locations with tentative dates must be submitted with the permit application, as the city may know of possible conflicts with City services, local events and festivals, or other filming activities. Only one permit will be granted for any one location at the same date/time and only one high-impact permit will be granted per day. This will be granted based on the date the application is received by the city.

B. Insurance: An insurance certificate must also be submitted for all filming activities with the application. All productions are required to maintain public liability insurance policies for filming on location within the City. The following policy amounts are required:

General Liability Insurance             $1,000,000

Automobile Liability                   $1,000,000

Worker’s Comp and Employer’s Liability $1,000,000

C. Parking: All equipment or support vehicles not in immediate use shall be parked so as not to cause any interference to pedestrians or vehicular traffic and shall follow all parking rules of the city (to include but not limited to: fire hydrants, driveways, tires off roadway, facing flow of traffic, etc.).

D. Noise: Production companies are responsible for complying with the City’s noise ordinance unless special permission is given by City Council. Wherever possible, base camps and dressing room trailers shall be parked away from neighboring residences, and/or take steps to control noise from generators, slamming doors, engines, etc., in the early morning before 8 A.M. and after 6 P.M.

E. Public Property: Production companies are responsible for returning any public rights of way used for filming, base camp, or equipment purposes to their original condition in a timely manner, and for repairing damage to foliage, grass, or public property.

II. Specific Additional Requirements for Low and High Impact Filming

The remaining requirements depend on whether the filming is considered to be high or low impact.

A. Low Impact Filming

Low-impact filming must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Filming that will not disturb wildlife, residents, businesses, or visitors
  • Does not include traffic or pedestrian control on any public property including sidewalks, roads, or the beach
  • Does not utilize more than 4 public parking spaces
  • Limited to 8 am-6 pm
  • If between March 15 and September 15, limited to filming Monday through Thursday
  • Crew of fewer than 15 people and/or 4 vehicles
  • No special effects (fire, smoke, amplified sounds)

Low Impact Filming Procedure:

  • The application must be submitted 10 business days prior to filming along with supporting insurance documentation. A copy of the application will be retained by Public Safety dispatch in case issues or questions arise.
  • All applications will go before the Special Events Committee before approval. You may be asked to appear.
  • The Applicant is responsible for notifying immediately adjacent and any other affected residents and businesses 24 hours prior to filming.
  • Low-impact filming must obtain a business license, which covers the first day of filming. Subsequent days must pay a fee of $100 per day.

B. High Impact Filming

High Impact Filming includes any film activities that:

  • Involve intermittent traffic control or pedestrian control on any sidewalk, road, beach, park, or other public area.
  • Requests for street closures (strongly discouraged)
  • Filming on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday between March 15 and September 15
  • Filming, base camp, or truck arrival prior to 8am or after 6pm
  • Filming that includes lighting
  • Crews of more than 15 people or more than 4 vehicles
  • Filming that includes special effects including smoke, loud sounds, or any other potential disturbances

High impact filming activities may be defined as those which involve extenuating circumstances including, but not limited to, extended hours, displacement of more than 50% of residential on-street parking on a given block, special effects, period shots, extensive set dressing, nighttime lighting, loud noises, gunshots, street closures, or base camps or working trucks parked on residential streets.

High Impact Filming Procedure

  • Project application must be received 30 business days in advance of filming
  • The applicant must go before the Special Events Committee then City Council for approval of the project generally; if the project is approved, applicant would work with staff on specifics (e.g. shooting dates, specific locations)
  • If approved, the filming company is required to notify residents and comply with the following notification rules:

To extend filming beyond the hours of 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, resident’s approval must be obtained as follows:

51% to extend by one hour

66% to extend by two hours

90% to extend all night

The City shall be advised by the Location Manager of any homes where residents are unreachable. Exceptions to this rule may be made in the case of residents who are not available.

A wider radius of notification may also be required if the nighttime shot involves loud noises, special effects, or more extensive lighting than usual.

  • High-impact filming must obtain a city business license and pay a filming fee of $500 per day.
  • Lighting for filming, both during the day and at night, should be oriented away from neighboring residences wherever possible, and should not interfere with the safe movement of traffic.
  • The city will require at least one off-duty Folly Beach Public Safety Officer to assist during the duration of any high-impact filming at the rate of $50/hour for officer and marked patrol vehicle

III. Prohibited Filming

  • Traffic Control Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from March 15 through September 15
  • Intermittent Traffic Control that exceeds 3 minutes at a time
  • Fireworks or fires
  • Nighttime lighting on the beach during turtle nesting season (May 1st through October 31st)
  • Filming that alters dunes or dune vegetation or City property (signs, amenities, parks and playgrounds)
  • Vehicles on the beach

Road Closures

  • Exceptions to these rules can only be granted by City Council with good cause shown.

City Services

  • Road Closure Request $150.00.
  • Deposit$100.00 – $500.00 varies as noted.
  • Police Officers$50.00/hour per officer (average 1-3 officers for the length of event).
  • Fire Inspector (Special Inspection)$30.00.
  • Fire Truck & Crew$400.00/hour.
  • Public Works Staff$50.00/hour per staff member.
  • Barricades$25.00 per barricade, per day.