PP 17 Dylan & his class make planes (taken by JB)

Paper Planes 2014

Filming in Western Australia questions

1. 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 visit our Indigenous pages.

2. 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. 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:

3. Does Western Australia have any rules in regard to filming with children?

Production companies are legally bound to comply with the Children and Community Services Act, Western Australia.

There are special provisions for employing children in the entertainment industry which are set out in the Mandatory Code of Practice for the Employment of Children in Entertainment .

The proposed Supervisor of Children must have a current Working with Children Check card. For more information, head to the Arts Law Children in the Creative Process WA website.

4. 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, click here.

5. How do I find a Location Scout?

Screenwest has a list of Western Australian location scouts available here.

6. How do I find a director, producer, writer and/or crew?

The Screenwest production 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.
7. 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 current Motion Picture Production Agreement Summary, 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.

8. 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.
9. 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.

What cover is required will depend upon the type of production to be insured.

  • For smaller productions such as short films & documentaries, cover is arranged on a ‘Short Term’ basis.
  • For larger productions such as Feature Films or Television series, cover is arranged on a ‘Per Production’ basis and in most cases cover can also be arranged on an ‘Annual’ basis to include multiple productions during the year.

Your film production insurance plan will need to include a number of different coverage types, such as:

  • 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. The following information is required for Public Liability coverage.

    • Name, address and contact details of the legal entity of the (interntional) production company
    • Period of cover required in Australia
    • Cover limit required in Australia
    • Details / content of the shoot
    • Any hazards or stunts involved
    • Budget

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

10. 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.
11. 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 on Roads page for more info.
12. 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 on Roads page for more info.

13. Can I use a Drone for shooting purposes?

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) defines the commercial use of a drone as anything you’re doing for hire or reward. 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 a drone, that’s commercial use.

However, an amendment to legislation for commercial drone operation in Australia, means that as of 29 September 2016, small operators can conduct commercial work without an operator’s certificate or remote pilot license as long as you follow the authority’s simple safety rules. If you have a drone under 2kg and want to do commercial work, you won’t have to apply for the “Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate” as previously required — but you will need to inform the CASA with a once-off registration at least five days before your first commercial flight. To notify CASA, you will need an aviation reference number (ARN), and if you do not already have an ARN, you will need to apply for an ARN.

Operators also need to abide by “mandatory conditions” or risk penalties. The conditions include flying only within a visual line of sight – that is, where you are able to see the drone with your own eyes, rather than with the help of binoculars or a telescope; in visual meteorological conditions, which generally means no night flights; below 120 metres – most of this airspace is considered controlled airspace; keeping more than 30 metres away from anyone who is not directly associated with its operation; not be flown over populated areas – areas that are sufficiently crowded that the drone would pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of someone present, which includes crowded beaches or parks, or sports ovals where a game is in progress; flying more than 5.5 kilometres from controlled aerodromes; and not operating near emergency situations – police operations, accident scenes, fires and rescue operations.

If you violate these rules, CASA can take action against you in the form of fines of up to $8500 per offence. If you put people at risk or seriously injure someone, the penalties are far more serious and will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

More information can be found on the CASA website.

14. Whose approval do I need to film on private property? Do I need permission to film in a public area? Do I need a Location Release?

If you are filming on private property or in a public space (such as a park or council land), you may need a film location release.

Please refer to the Arts Law information sheet which will explain when and why a film location release is important. Information is also provided on which parties should be contacted to obtain film location releases. Arts Law has two sample film location deeds of release (with payment and without payment).

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

Permissions are required for mounts on vehicles through the Department of Transport. Recommended safety practices for filming activities involving vehicle mounts are covered in the and the Film and Television Recommended Safety Code.

Failure to comply with relevant regulations could expose the production to criminal prosecutions, and may affect the production’s insurance coverage, and should an incident occur, WorkSafe WA along with the Western Australian Police may instigate an investigation. Read our WA Road Traffic Regulations Report for more information.

16. 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. For more information about using toy or replica weapons, please read our Filming in WA booklet.

17. 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 Production and Crew Directory or you can contact the Screen Producers Australia (SPA).

18. Where can I find sample cast and crew contracts?

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is the national community legal centre for the arts. Sample contracts can be found on the Arts Law Centre of Australia website.
19. Where can I get advice about legal matters?

Contact the Arts Law Centre of Australia or refer to the Encore Directory for contact details of lawyers in Australia.
20. 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 website 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.

21. 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 or live production will be required to obtain a 408 temporary activity visa.

If the stay is less than three months, a letter of support is required from the company employing the applicant in Australia.

If the stay is between three months and two years, formal sponsorship is required.

To apply for this visa you must complete an online application form from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Further information and the online application forms can be found on the Department’s website here.

22. I’ve got this great idea for a film or I'd like to adapt my book… where do I go to from here?

You will need to develop it, either by writing it yourself or hiring someone to write it for you. Contact the Australian Writers Guild (AWG) for script formats or for a list of writers and their rates of pay.

In order to progress a novel to film or animation, you would need an experienced film producer on board. If you plan to approach a producer with your project, you may need to do some research on which producer might be best suited to your project. You can visit the Producing Partners page on our website for some information about Western Australian producers.

The Screen Australia website has a number of useful documents available for download, including the information guide “I’ve Got a Great Idea for a Film”.

23. How do I get into the film and television industry?

Firstly you need to consider what area of the film and television industry you want to work in such as production, camera, lighting, direction, sound, post-production etc. and you may like to narrow it down to whether it is drama or documentary you are interested in. Screen Australia has a downloadable guide you can access here which may assist you in making this decision.

Western Australia has screen media courses held through a number of tertiary institutions; Curtin University, Murdoch University, WA Screen Academy, North Metropolitan TAFE, University of WA or SAE.

If you have just completed a course of study in screen media then it may be useful to volunteer on a local production to gain further experience and contacts. You can contact a local production company that has a project gearing into production to inquire about potential attachment or volunteer opportunities. If you have decided what your area of interest is, you can contact the relevant professional Heads of Department in the state to indicate your interest and ask questions. These are often your best resource to find out what work is coming up, how to get work and how to further your career in the screen industry.
Screenwest also offers a number of Production Company and Practitioner Support funding schemes and programs.

Once you have worked on a few productions this may then open up further paid or unpaid work opportunities and will increase your knowledge of the screen industry. Take advantage of many of the social networking opportunities that happen in WA to further increase your contacts – subscribe to receive Screenwest’s fortnightly newsletter to find out what events are coming up.