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Filming in Western Australia

Do I need a producer?

Unless you intend to produce the film by yourself, you will need a producer. Producing is a specialised field and if you are a new filmmaker we suggest that you engage the services of an experienced producer.

The producer should be approached in the early concept stage and they would expect a two to three page outline of your consolidated ideas. You can then concentrate on writing and let the producer worry about everything else!

You will find a list of local producers in the Screenwest Crew and Services Directory or you can contact the Screen Producers Australia (SPA).

How do I find a director, producer, writer, or crew member?

The Screenwest crew and servies directory is a free comprehensive online resource highlighting Western Australia’s professional crews, producers, production equipment and facilities.

Australian crew are also listed in the Production Book and the Mumbrella Directory or you could contact one of the Western Australian Screen Industry Guilds.

Can I get people to volunteer to work on my production for free?

If a project receives Screenwest funding, Screenwest requires that all freelance crew be paid fees not less than the industry award rate based on a 50 hour week as per the relevant Award available from the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Screenwest will recognise exceptions agreed to by MEAA.

Screenwest requires that all cast be paid fees not less than the industry award rate as per the relevant Actors Feature Film Agreement or the Actors’ Television Programs Agreement 2013-2015, available from MEAA.

Where do I find cast and crew rates?

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) website has award rates listed.

Rates will vary dependent on the type and length of production as well as the cast/crew members’ level of experience. Often the rate will be personally negotiated with the producer, Line Producer or Production Manager.

Award rates vary year to year, so make sure you visit the MEAA website for the most up-to-date information.

Do I need to get a visa for international performers or crew working on my project?

Non-residents seeking to enter Australia to work in any capacity on a screen production will be required to obtain the relevant entertainment visa prior to entering Australia. Information about entertainment visas can be obtained from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The Migration Regulations require the Australian sponsor to consult with the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) in relation to performers or related personnel in Film, Television or Online Productions and Broadcasts. See the MEAA website for more information on this process.

Where can I find sample cast and crew contracts?

Sample contracts can be found on the Arts Law Centre of Australia website.

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is the national community legal centre for the arts.

Do I need Film Production Insurances?

Every production is unique, and there are a number of risks associated with different filming formats, techniques and even locations. A lot can go wrong, from expensive equipment malfunctions to actors falling ill. There are also liability risks from injuries to people and damage to property on location or in the studio.

Your film production insurance plan will need to include a number of different coverage types, such as but not limited too:

  • Film Producers Indemnity (Cast Insurance): The usual people insured are Principal Actors, the Director and the Producer.
  • Negative Film Risks: This covers Accidental Physical Loss or Damage to Negatives, Videotape or digital images.
  • General liability: This portion of your policy will provide coverage for injuries on set to anyone associated with the production besides direct employees, as well as any damage your production may cause to other people’s property.
  • Equipment protection: This coverage will provide protection for your photographic and digital recording devices, or Props, Set & Wardrobe used in connection with a production. Cover can also include equipment such as edit suites and office equipment & computers.
  • Professional liability: Also known as “errors and omissions” or “E & O” insurance, this coverage can be particularly important to the film industry and protects you against risks like libel, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, and defamation of character.
  • Workers Compensation: Provides health protection for staff employed by the production company in the event of work-related injuries or illness. You may be required to carry this insurance, depending upon the nature of your business, how many people you employ and your state requirements.
  • Money: Covers Money used in connection with a Production such as ‘petty cash’ on location.
  • Voluntary Workers Personal Accident: provides volunteers with Personal Accident insurance whilst they are undertaking their duties as a volunteer.
  • Motor Vehicle Insurance
  • Travel

International Companies filming in Western Australia require Public Liability insurance issued in Australia.

For more information read this Film Insurance Profile prepared by Craig Shand of McKenna Hampton Insurance Brokers.

What is an A-Z budget and how do I prepare one?

The industry standard A-Z budget is intended as a guide to preparing budgets in the format that is usually required by funding bodies. A-Z budgets for a variety of genres can be downloaded from the Screen Australia Document Library and are intended for all projects, regardless of whether or not you are applying for the Producer Offset.

Sample layouts for a range of commonly used documents in the film industry including cost reports, timesheets, schedules, production checklists and rights clearance forms can also be downloaded from Screen Australia’s Tools and Insights Sample section on their website.

How do I find a Location Scout?

Screenwest has a list of Western Australian location scouts and location managers in our Crew & Services Directory.

The Crew & Services Directory provides contact information for members of the Western Australian screen industry who are open to work.

Browse the full directory to find the perfect practitioner to help you bring your next project to life.

How do I find out about getting Locations permissions and/or permits?

Access and use of land in Western Australia comes under various forms of control – public, private and pastoral.

For more information about Location Permits, read our Filming in Western Australia Film Friendly Resource.

Are there protocols for working with Indigenous content or Indigenous communities?

There are protocols for working with Indigenous content and communities. Screen Australia has developed the document Pathways and Protocols: A filmmaker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts.

Please note that if you are filming on Indigenous lands you will need to obtain a permit which is granted through the Aboriginal Lands Trust at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

For more information and to access resources, please visit our Indigenous Resources page.

Does Western Australia have any rules about filming with children?

Production companies are legally bound to comply with the Children and Community Service Act 2004 (WA) and the School Education Act 1999 (WA). A child means a person who is under 15 years of age.

It is illegal to employ a child of compulsory school age during the hours the child is required to attend school, except where there is a Notice of Arrangements or school exemption. Children who are employed for extended periods should receive education tutoring from a qualified tutor away from the immediate set.

The proposed Supervisor of Children employed to work on a production must have a current “Working with Children Check” card, which is mandatory for people employed in child-related work in Western Australia. The Working with Children Screening Unit, part of the Department for Child Protection, is responsible for administering the WWC Checks.

Western Australia observes the ground rules of the Mandatory Code of Practice for the Employment of Children in Entertainment (2014) and the NSW Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) (Child Employment) Regulation 2015 .

Children under six must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible person nominated by the parent. Where the child is less than 16 years old, the producer must ensure that suitable safe arrangements are made for travel between home and work. The child should get a 10-minute break every hour and a one hour break every four hours. No child should commence a working shift unless 12 hours has expired from the end of the previous shift.

No child shall perform stunts or be involved in stunt car sequences.

Is there a Code of Practice for using animals in a film?

If planning to work with animals, an appropriately experienced animal supervisor must be employed, and all relevant permits are obtained. Each state administers its own separate Act. Western Australia’s is The Animal Welfare Act (2002).

Its accompanying regulations provide an overall legal framework for ensuring all animals in Western Australia have appropriate standards of care.

There is no specific code relating to film and television in WA but producers are strongly advised to abide by the Victorian Code of practice for the welfare of film animals. The following Codes of Practice can also be referred to:

Where can I find information on film safety?

Work health and safety legislation requires productions to have in place safe systems of work to address safety risks to cast, crew, others and property. A production safety report is required by all productions in receipt of Screenwest funding, and as per the Film and Television Safety Guidance Notes, must engage a graded safety consultant to write a safety report in compliance with the Film Industry Safety Code.

These links will provide you with further information on film safety:

  • WorkSafe– A division of the Department of Commerce, the Western Australian State Government agency responsible for the administration of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
  • Western Australian Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984– Australian Film Industry Recommended Safety Code.
  • WorkCover WA– The government agency responsible for overseeing the workers’ compensation and injury management system in Western Australia and monitoring compliance with the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act, 1981.

Do I need permission to film on roads?

The relevant local council and/or Main Roads Western Australia must give written permission for any filming activities conducted on public roads / streets.

Visit our Filming In Western Australia resource for more information.

I need to stop traffic while we film a sequence. Can I do this myself?

If traffic is being stopped, held or diverted, or if filming is to take place on roads, the filmmakers need to have appropriate approval from the local council, the Western Australian Police and Main Roads Western Australia, and it will often be necessary to submit a traffic management plan (TMP) to council. State Transit Authorities, private bus companies, tour operators and emergency and essential services may also need to be informed.

Traffic control must be carried out by individuals authorised by the Main Roads Department. In some cases, police are used, at cost to the production company.

In metropolitan locations traffic controllers are usually booked through an experienced traffic management firm, and in rural locations the local council will often provide authorised traffic controllers, at cost, as required.

Visit our Filming In Western Australia resource for more information.

Can I use a drone for shooting purposes?

As of 28 January 2021, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requires that all drones used for commercial purposes must be registered.

CASA defines the commercial use of a drone as anything you’re doing for hire or reward, such as for business or as part of your job. For example, if you’re a production company strapping a camera to a drone for the purposes of gathering footage, or if you’re flying something into the air to test it via drone, that’s commercial use and your drone must be registered.

From 28 January 2021, you can be fined up to $11,100 if you fly an unregistered drone or without an operator accreditation (or remote pilot licence) for business use or as part of your job.

All drone operators, whether for recreational or commercial use, must ensure they abide by the current CASA drone safety rules or risk penalties of up to two years in prison and/or a fine up to $26,640.

Visit the CASA website for drone operation rules, registration, penalties and enquiries.

Do I need permission to use vehicle mounts for filming activities?

The application form Film Industry Request for Department of Transport Exemption from Requirements of the Road Traffic Code 2000 During Filming Activities complies with Department of Transport requirements for issuing the exemption.

Recommended safety practices for filming activities involving vehicle mounts are also covered in the Film & Television Safety Guidance Notes and the Film Industry Recommended Safety Code.

Failure to comply with relevant regulations could expose the production to criminal prosecutions, may affect the production’s insurance coverage, and should an incident occur, WorkSafe along with the Western Australian Police Force may instigate an investigation

Visit our Filming in Western Australia Film Friendly resource for more information.

Do I need to notify anyone if our production is using toy or replica weapons?

The Western Australian Police requires notification of any screen production activity that involves special effects, firearms, weapons or mock firearms and mock weapons that have the potential to create public concern within local communities. It is the responsibility of the Producer to provide that notification.

The local police station in the area the activities are being conducted must be advised so they can notify the Police Communications Branch of your filming activities. It is the responsibility of the Producer to provide that notification.

Visit our Filming in Western Australia Film Friendly resource for more information.

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