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Filming at MSU

MSU offers a wide range of architectural styles representing different time periods with a variety of interior and exterior settings, including classrooms, libraries, and athletic facilities. With working farms also a part of the campus, the university offers beautiful rural landscapes and agricultural buildings. See the Locations tab to view available sites. 

Filming at Michigan State University can be broken down into three categories: Feature Films, Commercial Production and Student-based production. Contacting the MSU Film Liaison is the first step in allowing us to assist with your production.

Please review the additional informational tabs provided and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our office.

For information about filming in the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, contact Tracy Padot at the Greater Lansing Michigan Convention and Visitors Bureau toll free at (866) 449-1419 or email tpadot@lansing.org.

For more information about filming at Michigan State, contact MSU's film liaison Kevin Epling at (517) 432-0909 or email epling@msu.edu.

The university offers a wide range of architectural styles, a variety of interior and exterior collegiate settings, and working farms, rural landscapes, and agricultural buildings to fit your location needs. Buildings, icons and locations on the MSU Campus cannot be used to promote nor imply endorsement in any way without proper written consent of Michigan State University. Some locations may be seasonal or restricted to instructional or research use during certain portions of the day. See the guidelines for more information on restrictions. During the location scout, your MSU film liaison will discuss with you any scheduling or access issues.

To assist your team, images from a sampling of our locations have been gathered into four galleries for your review: 

Please search the full online database of images for the perfect setting for your production: photos.msu.edu.

Michigan State University has established guidelines for filming on campus to help ensure that the primary activities of the university — teaching and research — are not disrupted by filming activities while also making it easier for you to plan and execute your production.

  • Your MSU film liaison. University Communications at MSU is responsible for assisting production companies wishing to film on campus. Following preapproval of your project, University Communications will assign a liaison to work with you on all aspects of your project. Your liaison is your principal contact with MSU and will secure access to facilities, facilitate interaction with university offices and officials, facilitate required permissions, and accompany you during your time on campus. The services of your liaison are covered by the campus filming production fee.
  • Access. MSU limits access to its campus for filming to ensure that normal MSU operations and functions are not disrupted. For example, MSU does not permit filming in classrooms or libraries during examinations (e.g., midterms, finals). Scenes may not be shot in classrooms in use for instruction without the prior permission of the faculty member. Filming in animal facilities and crop/plant facilities, plots and fields where research is occurring or in natural areas may be restricted. Your MSU film liaison will coordinate access and permissions.
  • Script approval. You must submit to University Communications a complete copy of the script (film) or storyboard(s) (commercial) for your project 30 days in advance of your proposed filming date (see Procedures Checklist). Portions of the script corresponding to the scenes to be filmed on the MSU campus should be highlighted. Script approval must be granted before a contract is signed. Any script changes or additions, including title change, made after approval is granted must be brought to the attention of your liaison. MSU has the right to forbid filming on campus in cases where the project is in conflict with the mission and values of the university, including anything that portrays students or faculty in a negative manner or is derogatory toward higher education. Examples of subject matter that may be rejected include drug use, excessive alcohol use, excessive violence, nudity, racism, sexism and sexually explicit scenes deemed obscene. The film, as finally produced and distributed, shall be consistent in all material respects with the script of the film delivered to MSU for its review prior to, and as a condition of, MSU’s approval of your filming on campus.
  • Representation of Michigan State University. You may not represent Michigan State University as the location of the film nor identify the university through signs, logos, name, iconic buildings or structures, presence of prominent individuals, or inclusion of athletic uniforms or by any other means without express prior written permission.
  • Insurance. You must provide a certificate of general liability insurance with a minimum $1 million per occurrence limit naming Michigan State University, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, and university employees and agents as additional insured parties for the day(s) during which you will be on the MSU campus for preproduction, production, and cleanup. If you are using university-owned equipment, you are responsible for any damage you cause and must furnish proof of insurance covering the equipment. You must maintain workers’ compensation coverage in compliance with statutory requirements. You must submit all insurance documentation at least 10 days prior to filming to the Office of Risk Management and Insurance: email riskmgmt@msu.edu, fax to (517) 432-3854, or call (517) 355-5022.
  • Care on location. You must take care to protect university grounds and property from damage. You also must:
  • Comply with all city, state, and university codes, statutes, rules, and regulations, including fire codes and all environmental, health, and safety rules that apply to Michigan State University.
  • Set up filming equipment in a way that does not create safety concerns, such as trip hazards, fire hazards or blocked exits and cover cables crossing pavement or walkways or otherwise occurring in a public area with appropriate mats or coverings.
  • Place layout board in all noncarpeted areas to prevent filming equipment from directly touching the floor and place plywood under tires when driving and parking heavy equipment on grass.
  • Obtain prior approval to use any crane or heavy materials, such as concrete blocks or bricks.
  • Place cones around any production vehicle, including generators or cranes, not in a marked parking space and place caution tape around any potentially hazardous locations.
  • Place trash and debris only in the designated rubbish bins. (MSU will provide these and clear them regularly at a cost to the production company.)
  • Refrain from nailing, drilling, gluing or otherwise altering any campus property without prior permission.
  • Refrain from removing university-owned objects belonging to the location without prior approval.
  • Attach all directional signs (e.g., for crew/truck parking or directions to set) to stanchions and not to trees, poles or facilities.
  • Return the location to its original condition and remove all evidence of filming immediately upon completion of filming.
  • Immediately notify the university of any damage to property. (All damages to property will be the responsibility of the production company.)

  • Parking/vehicles. We cannot guarantee parking on campus. When prior arrangements can be made, we will charge a reasonable fee for parking (see Fees). Production/production staff vehicles may be parked only in the agreed-upon areas during the prearranged times approved by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. Turn off engines upon arrival. Please inform us of any loading/unloading needs as early as possible so we can work to accommodate them. Vehicles may not obstruct city or university streets or traffic flow. MSU will work to accommodate reasonable requests for assistance in altering traffic patterns for filming.
  • Refueling/fuel trucks on campus. All fuel trucks must be fully and properly equipped to act as refueling trucks and must be staged off campus until needed for refueling. Generators must be shut down before refueling. Refueling must be conducted by two people with one person pumping and the other with fire extinguisher in hand and at the ready. No other people should be within 50 feet of the refueling operation.
  • Smoking. Smoking is prohibited in all buildings, facilities, and university vehicles. Smoking outside is permitted in areas far enough from doorways, windows, and ventilation systems to prevent smoke from entering enclosed buildings and facilities. Cigarettes should be completely stubbed out and disposed of in an appropriate manner. Exceptions to the smoking policy may be made to accommodate scripts; request permission through your MSU film liaison.
  • Crew behavior. Personnel connected with the production should treat members of the university community and of the public with respect and consideration at all times. Personnel in any way connected with the production may be ejected from campus for displaying behavior deemed to be disruptive to the operation of the university or for being offensive in language or behavior to students, faculty, staff, administrators, or members of the public visiting campus. All production personnel (with the exception of talent when being filmed) must wear a visible identification badge at all times while on MSU property. Production personnel must immediately comply with any directions or instructions given by authorized MSU personnel and with all pertinent rules and regulations of MSU brought to their attention.
  • Fire and pyrotechnics. Use of fire and pyrotechnics must be approved by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. The university fire marshal must inspect locations to be filmed prior to filming. If deemed necessary by MSU, you are required to retain the services of the MSU fire marshal on the day(s) of filming and will be subject to applicable fees.Tents. Installation of tents must be approved by MSU Custodial Services. Tents on hard surfaces may not be installed with stakes. Tents in grassy areas may be staked with approval from MSU Landscape Services.
  • Health and safety. The production company is responsible for ensuring that all employees and contractors adhere to health and safety regulations while on the MSU campus. The production company always must have a person qualified in first aid present while on the MSU campus.
  • Security. The production company must have site security provided by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. Your MSU film liaison will assist with arrangements.
  • Firearms and weapons. No firearms or weapons are permitted on university property.
  • Fire protection equipment. The use of fire hydrants and other fire protection equipment for the purposes of filming must be coordinated in advance of filming, and express permission must be given by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. Your MSU film liaison will assist in securing review of your request.
  • Other considerations. Permission will be needed for the use of animals (those belonging to MSU or those brought in for filming), the river, helicopters and smoke. It is MSU’s expectation that producers adhere to all relevant International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees safety bulletins. In some instances, permissions also may be needed from the City of East Lansing prior to filming.

Planning Phase

  1. Review all of the content on the Filming at Michigan State University site and become familiar with guidelines and fees.
  2. Send University Communications a complete script (film) or storyboard(s) (commercial) for review and approval.
  3. Complete the Filming, Videotaping, and Photography Application Form and submit it to University Communications.
  4. University Communications must preapprove your project. Requests may be denied if the overall content of the script is in conflict with the goals and ideals of the university or if the project is deemed unmanageable for the campus.
  5. Preapproval is generally granted within 10 days. At the time of preapproval, a film liaison will be assigned to work with you on all aspects of your project. Your liaison is your principal contact with MSU and will secure access to facilities, facilitate interaction with university offices and officials, manage required permissions unless otherwise noted, and accompany you at all times during your time on campus.

At least 30 days prior to shooting

  1. Contact your film liaison to set up an appointment to walk through all site locations and to discuss details of the shoot.
  2. Perform a full technical scout, including a written list of all potential items (e.g., cranes, generators, trucks) to be brought onto campus for duration of the production. See technical scout guidelines.
  3. Discuss set dressing/construction, possible rerouting of traffic patterns (vehicle and pedestrian), cabling runs, electrical needs, special effects needs/requirements, and site security.
  4. Determine availability of requested locations for possible use.
  5. Following the tech scout, an estimate of fees will be faxed to you by your film liaison.

10 to 14 days prior to shooting

  1. Your liaison will schedule a visit to site locations with an MSU Facilities and Operations representative.
  2. Finalize locations, requirements, and parking needs with your liaison.
  3. Submit detailed timeline and script revisions (film) or storyboards (advertisement) to your liaison.
  4. Submit a certificate of general liability insurance to Debbie Hurst in the Office of Risk Management and Insurance: email hurst@ctlr.msu.edu or fax to (517) 432-3854.
  5. If you plan to use university equipment, submit proof of insurance covering the equipment to the same office.

At least three days prior to shooting

  1. Submit full payment of fees and a signed contract to your film liaison. Final approval to film should not be assumed until you have a signed contract with Michigan State University for filming.
  2. Submit any location changes for approval.
  3. Submit a full list of crew members and vehicles and a daily production schedule to your liaison.
  4. Submit a list of possible arrivals and departures of equipment to the production site.

Following shooting

  1. Return all areas used during production to their preexisting state.
  2. Dispose of all trash and materials used during the production.
  3. Inform your film liaison about a timeline for film completion and release.

Cancellations

Cancellation of an approved film permit must be received no less than two business days prior to scheduled start of filming. A fee equal to 50 percent of the regular campus filming production fee will be charged if the cancellation occurs after the contract has been signed or within 48 hours of the scheduled shoot (excluding weekends) regardless of whether a contract is in effect. If a rental facility has been reserved or personnel booked, those fees may be billed also.

Rush Services

In order to ensure that all approvals are received and your shoot is arranged to your expectations, we require that a fully completed application be submitted to University Communications no less than 10 working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. We also require that a final tech scout be done no less than five working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. Should either occur after the deadline, a per-item rush fee of 10 percent of your campus filming production fee will be charged.

During the tech scout with the MSU film liaison, the production representative should bring a written list of all items the production wishes to bring onto the MSU campus. The production representative should be prepared to discuss the following items in detail:

  • Complete production schedule
  • Number of crew members and number of crew/production vehicles
  • Number, size, and weight of large production equipment, including cranes, generators and dolly systems
  • Placement and parking of large equipment and production vehicles
  • Set construction/modification of existing structures
  • Access to production site, including potential blockage of any campus streets/sidewalks
  • Set dressings and special effects use/placement
  • Any special effects (e.g., explosions, gunshots, stunts)
  • Security perimeter during shooting
  • Staging and security of equipment during nonworking hours
  • Power needs and cabling plans into and out of any buildings
  • Internet access
  • Radio frequency coordination (e.g., wireless mics, walkie-talkies)
  • Sound and lighting concerns
  • Duration of preproduction, actual production and cleanup
  • Union affiliations

Campus filming production fee

The license to film on the Michigan State University campus covers a film liaison working with you during all aspects of production, including preproduction scouting, walk-throughs, tech scouts, and day-to-day oversight. Most fees are rated for Feature Films but may also apply to Commercial and Student productions if determined by the campus liaison. Fees are charged from the arrival of the first production vehicle to the departure of the last production vehicle. All other costs, including location rental fees and personnel, are separate.

  • Feature film: $1,500 for the first 10 hours; $200/hour thereafter
  • Set-up/strike days: 50 percent of the above listed costs

Location Costs

Certain locations require a site representative with an additional fee. Fees are subject to change without notification.

Interior locations

  • Theaters/performance venues: $1,000/day plus personnel
  • Classrooms/lecture halls: $100/hour
  • Libraries: $1,000/day plus personnel

Athletic facilities

  • Baseball stadium (no dugout): $800/day plus personnel
  • Basketball gyms: $1,500/day (large); $800/day (small)
  • Football practice field: $800/day
  • Intramural fields: $600/day
  • Pools: Olympic, $1,200/day plus personnel; diving, $800/day plus personnel; indoor: $800/day plus personnel
  • Tennis courts: $600/day
  • Track and field: $250/day (track only); $800/day (field included)
  • Breslin Center arena (17,000 capacity): $3,500/day plus personnel

Other areas quoted on request.

Exterior locations

  • Parking structure: $50/ hour plus $4/space
  • Walkways: $25/hour
  • Parks: $50/hour (large); $25/hour (small)
  • Courtyards: $25/hour
  • Plazas: $70/hour (large); $25/hour (small)

Personnel Costs

  • MSU film liaison: one liaison included in Campus Filming Production Fee
  • Additional liaisons: $75/hour (required if production involves more than 50 people or uses more than one location)
  • Student assistant liaison: $50/hour (required if production involves more than 75 people or uses more than two locations)
  • MSU police officers, including fire marshal: $61/hour per officer (must be arranged through the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety)
  • Site manager: $35/hour (required if a location specifies that a staff member must be present during filming)
  • Lifeguard: $15–$20/hour (required for filming in or around any pools)

For all personnel, overtime rates apply after eight hours per day or on weekends.

Parking Fees

  • Parking spaces: $6/space (parking for large vehicles will be charged based on the number of spaces they occupy)
  • On-campus open space: $8/vehicle
  • Metered spaces: $50/per meter day
  • Gate attendant: $10/hour (unless provided by production unit)

Maintenance, Custodial, and Landscape Fees

A fee ranging from $25 to $100 per hour will be charged for any maintenance, custodial, and landscape work. This includes items such as turning air conditioners, fountains, or lights on and off. These services must be requested at least 48 hours prior to the first day of production. Cleanup and landscape restoration following a shoot will be billed at the hourly rate of the personnel necessary to complete the task.

Cancellation Fee

A fee ranging from $25 to $100 per hour will be charged for any maintenance, custodial, and landscape work. This includes items such as turning air conditioners, fountains, or lights on and off. These services must be requested at least 48 hours prior to the first day of production. Cleanup and landscape restoration following a shoot will be billed at the hourly rate of the personnel necessary to complete the task.

Rush Fee

In order to ensure that all approvals are received and your shoot is arranged to your expectations, we require that a fully completed application be submitted to University Communications no fewer than 10 working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. We also require that a final tech scout be done no fewer than five working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. Should either occur after the deadline, a per-item rush fee of 10 percent of your campus filming production fee will be charged.

To film at Michigan State University, please complete the Commercial Filming, Videotaping and Photography Application Form (PDF).

  • Applicants will be asked to provide the following information:
  • Contact information
  • Filming production detail (e.g., start date, crew, actors, equipment, vehicles, special effects)
  • Company information
  • Location detail (e.g., timeline, cleanup, equipment, parking, signage)

The university offers a wide range of architectural styles, a variety of interior and exterior collegiate settings, and working farms, rural landscapes, and agricultural buildings to fit your location needs. Buildings, icons and locations on the MSU Campus cannot be used to promote nor imply endorsement in any way without proper written consent of Michigan State University. Some locations may be seasonal or restricted to instructional or research use during certain portions of the day. See the guidelines for more information on restrictions. During the location scout, your MSU film liaison will discuss with you any scheduling or access issues.

To assist your team, images from a sampling of our locations have been gathered into four galleries for your review: 

Please search the full online database of images for the perfect setting for your production: photos.msu.edu.

Michigan State University has established guidelines for filming on campus to help ensure that the primary activities of the university — teaching and research — are not disrupted by filming activities while also making it easier for you to plan and execute your production.

  • Your MSU film liaison. University Communications at MSU is responsible for assisting production companies wishing to film on campus. Following preapproval of your project, University Communications will assign a liaison to work with you on all aspects of your project. Your liaison is your principal contact with MSU and will secure access to facilities, facilitate interaction with university offices and officials, facilitate required permissions, and accompany you during your time on campus. The services of your liaison are covered by the campus filming production fee.
  • Access. MSU limits access to its campus for filming to ensure that normal MSU operations and functions are not disrupted. For example, MSU does not permit filming in classrooms or libraries during examinations (e.g., midterms, finals). Scenes may not be shot in classrooms in use for instruction without the prior permission of the faculty member. Filming in animal facilities and crop/plant facilities, plots and fields where research is occurring or in natural areas may be restricted. Your MSU film liaison will coordinate access and permissions.
  • Script approval. You must submit to University Communications a complete copy of the script (film) or storyboard(s) (commercial) for your project 30 days in advance of your proposed filming date (see Procedures Checklist). Portions of the script corresponding to the scenes to be filmed on the MSU campus should be highlighted. Script approval must be granted before a contract is signed. Any script changes or additions, including title change, made after approval is granted must be brought to the attention of your liaison. MSU has the right to forbid filming on campus in cases where the project is in conflict with the mission and values of the university, including anything that portrays students or faculty in a negative manner or is derogatory toward higher education. Examples of subject matter that may be rejected include drug use, excessive alcohol use, excessive violence, nudity, racism, sexism and sexually explicit scenes deemed obscene. The film, as finally produced and distributed, shall be consistent in all material respects with the script of the film delivered to MSU for its review prior to, and as a condition of, MSU’s approval of your filming on campus.
  • Representation of Michigan State University. You may not represent Michigan State University as the location of the film nor identify the university through signs, logos, name, iconic buildings or structures, presence of prominent individuals, or inclusion of athletic uniforms or by any other means without express prior written permission.
  • Insurance. You must provide a certificate of general liability insurance with a minimum $1 million per occurrence limit naming Michigan State University, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, and university employees and agents as additional insured parties for the day(s) during which you will be on the MSU campus for preproduction, production, and cleanup. If you are using university-owned equipment, you are responsible for any damage you cause and must furnish proof of insurance covering the equipment. You must maintain workers’ compensation coverage in compliance with statutory requirements. You must submit all insurance documentation at least 10 days prior to filming to the Office of Risk Management and Insurance: email riskmgmt@msu.edu, fax to (517) 432-3854, or call (517) 355-5022.
  • Care on location. You must take care to protect university grounds and property from damage. You also must:
  • Comply with all city, state, and university codes, statutes, rules, and regulations, including fire codes and all environmental, health, and safety rules that apply to Michigan State University.
  • Set up filming equipment in a way that does not create safety concerns, such as trip hazards, fire hazards or blocked exits and cover cables crossing pavement or walkways or otherwise occurring in a public area with appropriate mats or coverings.
  • Place layout board in all noncarpeted areas to prevent filming equipment from directly touching the floor and place plywood under tires when driving and parking heavy equipment on grass.
  • Obtain prior approval to use any crane or heavy materials, such as concrete blocks or bricks.
  • Place cones around any production vehicle, including generators or cranes, not in a marked parking space and place caution tape around any potentially hazardous locations.
  • Place trash and debris only in the designated rubbish bins. (MSU will provide these and clear them regularly at a cost to the production company.)
  • Refrain from nailing, drilling, gluing or otherwise altering any campus property without prior permission.
  • Refrain from removing university-owned objects belonging to the location without prior approval.
  • Attach all directional signs (e.g., for crew/truck parking or directions to set) to stanchions and not to trees, poles or facilities.
  • Return the location to its original condition and remove all evidence of filming immediately upon completion of filming.
  • Immediately notify the university of any damage to property. (All damages to property will be the responsibility of the production company.)

  • Parking/vehicles. We cannot guarantee parking on campus. When prior arrangements can be made, we will charge a reasonable fee for parking (see Fees). Production/production staff vehicles may be parked only in the agreed-upon areas during the prearranged times approved by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. Turn off engines upon arrival. Please inform us of any loading/unloading needs as early as possible so we can work to accommodate them. Vehicles may not obstruct city or university streets or traffic flow. MSU will work to accommodate reasonable requests for assistance in altering traffic patterns for filming.
  • Refueling/fuel trucks on campus. All fuel trucks must be fully and properly equipped to act as refueling trucks and must be staged off campus until needed for refueling. Generators must be shut down before refueling. Refueling must be conducted by two people with one person pumping and the other with fire extinguisher in hand and at the ready. No other people should be within 50 feet of the refueling operation.
  • Smoking. Smoking is prohibited in all buildings, facilities, and university vehicles. Smoking outside is permitted in areas far enough from doorways, windows, and ventilation systems to prevent smoke from entering enclosed buildings and facilities. Cigarettes should be completely stubbed out and disposed of in an appropriate manner. Exceptions to the smoking policy may be made to accommodate scripts; request permission through your MSU film liaison.
  • Crew behavior. Personnel connected with the production should treat members of the university community and of the public with respect and consideration at all times. Personnel in any way connected with the production may be ejected from campus for displaying behavior deemed to be disruptive to the operation of the university or for being offensive in language or behavior to students, faculty, staff, administrators, or members of the public visiting campus. All production personnel (with the exception of talent when being filmed) must wear a visible identification badge at all times while on MSU property. Production personnel must immediately comply with any directions or instructions given by authorized MSU personnel and with all pertinent rules and regulations of MSU brought to their attention.
  • Fire and pyrotechnics. Use of fire and pyrotechnics must be approved by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. The university fire marshal must inspect locations to be filmed prior to filming. If deemed necessary by MSU, you are required to retain the services of the MSU fire marshal on the day(s) of filming and will be subject to applicable fees.Tents. Installation of tents must be approved by MSU Custodial Services. Tents on hard surfaces may not be installed with stakes. Tents in grassy areas may be staked with approval from MSU Landscape Services.
  • Health and safety. The production company is responsible for ensuring that all employees and contractors adhere to health and safety regulations while on the MSU campus. The production company always must have a person qualified in first aid present while on the MSU campus.
  • Security. The production company must have site security provided by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. Your MSU film liaison will assist with arrangements.
  • Firearms and weapons. No firearms or weapons are permitted on university property.
  • Fire protection equipment. The use of fire hydrants and other fire protection equipment for the purposes of filming must be coordinated in advance of filming, and express permission must be given by the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. Your MSU film liaison will assist in securing review of your request.
  • Other considerations. Permission will be needed for the use of animals (those belonging to MSU or those brought in for filming), the river, helicopters and smoke. It is MSU’s expectation that producers adhere to all relevant International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees safety bulletins. In some instances, permissions also may be needed from the City of East Lansing prior to filming.

Planning Phase

  1. Review all of the content on the Filming at Michigan State University site and become familiar with guidelines and fees.
  2. Send University Communications a complete script (film) or storyboard(s) (commercial) for review and approval.
  3. Complete the Filming, Videotaping, and Photography Application Form and submit it to University Communications.
  4. University Communications must preapprove your project. Requests may be denied if the overall content of the script is in conflict with the goals and ideals of the university or if the project is deemed unmanageable for the campus.
  5. Preapproval is generally granted within 10 days. At the time of preapproval, a film liaison will be assigned to work with you on all aspects of your project. Your liaison is your principal contact with MSU and will secure access to facilities, facilitate interaction with university offices and officials, manage required permissions unless otherwise noted, and accompany you at all times during your time on campus.

At least 30 days prior to shooting

  1. Contact your film liaison to set up an appointment to walk through all site locations and to discuss details of the shoot.
  2. Perform a full technical scout, including a written list of all potential items (e.g., cranes, generators, trucks) to be brought onto campus for duration of the production. See technical scout guidelines.
  3. Discuss set dressing/construction, possible rerouting of traffic patterns (vehicle and pedestrian), cabling runs, electrical needs, special effects needs/requirements, and site security.
  4. Determine availability of requested locations for possible use.
  5. Following the tech scout, an estimate of fees will be faxed to you by your film liaison.

10 to 14 days prior to shooting

  1. Your liaison will schedule a visit to site locations with an MSU Facilities and Operations representative.
  2. Finalize locations, requirements, and parking needs with your liaison.
  3. Submit detailed timeline and script revisions (film) or storyboards (advertisement) to your liaison.
  4. Submit a certificate of general liability insurance to Debbie Hurst in the Office of Risk Management and Insurance: email hurst@ctlr.msu.edu or fax to (517) 432-3854.
  5. If you plan to use university equipment, submit proof of insurance covering the equipment to the same office.

At least three days prior to shooting

  1. Submit full payment of fees and a signed contract to your film liaison. Final approval to film should not be assumed until you have a signed contract with Michigan State University for filming.
  2. Submit any location changes for approval.
  3. Submit a full list of crew members and vehicles and a daily production schedule to your liaison.
  4. Submit a list of possible arrivals and departures of equipment to the production site.

Following shooting

  1. Return all areas used during production to their preexisting state.
  2. Dispose of all trash and materials used during the production.
  3. Inform your film liaison about a timeline for film completion and release.

Cancellations

Cancellation of an approved film permit must be received no less than two business days prior to scheduled start of filming. A fee equal to 50 percent of the regular campus filming production fee will be charged if the cancellation occurs after the contract has been signed or within 48 hours of the scheduled shoot (excluding weekends) regardless of whether a contract is in effect. If a rental facility has been reserved or personnel booked, those fees may be billed also.

Rush Services

In order to ensure that all approvals are received and your shoot is arranged to your expectations, we require that a fully completed application be submitted to University Communications no less than 10 working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. We also require that a final tech scout be done no less than five working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. Should either occur after the deadline, a per-item rush fee of 10 percent of your campus filming production fee will be charged.

During the tech scout with the MSU film liaison, the production representative should bring a written list of all items the production wishes to bring onto the MSU campus. The production representative should be prepared to discuss the following items in detail:

  • Complete production schedule
  • Number of crew members and number of crew/production vehicles
  • Number, size, and weight of large production equipment, including cranes, generators and dolly systems
  • Placement and parking of large equipment and production vehicles
  • Set construction/modification of existing structures
  • Access to production site, including potential blockage of any campus streets/sidewalks
  • Set dressings and special effects use/placement
  • Any special effects (e.g., explosions, gunshots, stunts)
  • Security perimeter during shooting
  • Staging and security of equipment during nonworking hours
  • Power needs and cabling plans into and out of any buildings
  • Internet access
  • Radio frequency coordination (e.g., wireless mics, walkie-talkies)
  • Sound and lighting concerns
  • Duration of preproduction, actual production and cleanup
  • Union affiliations

Campus filming production fee

The license to film on the Michigan State University campus covers a film liaison working with you during all aspects of production, including preproduction scouting, walk-throughs, tech scouts, and day-to-day oversight. Most fees are rated for Feature Films but may also apply to Commercial and Student productions if determined by the campus liaison. Fees are charged from the arrival of the first production vehicle to the departure of the last production vehicle. All other costs, including location rental fees and personnel, are separate.

  • Feature film: $1,500 for the first 10 hours; $200/hour thereafter
  • Set-up/strike days: 50 percent of the above listed costs

Location Costs

Certain locations require a site representative with an additional fee. Fees are subject to change without notification.

Interior locations

  • Theaters/performance venues: $1,000/day plus personnel
  • Classrooms/lecture halls: $100/hour
  • Libraries: $1,000/day plus personnel

Athletic facilities

  • Baseball stadium (no dugout): $800/day plus personnel
  • Basketball gyms: $1,500/day (large); $800/day (small)
  • Football practice field: $800/day
  • Intramural fields: $600/day
  • Pools: Olympic, $1,200/day plus personnel; diving, $800/day plus personnel; indoor: $800/day plus personnel
  • Tennis courts: $600/day
  • Track and field: $250/day (track only); $800/day (field included)
  • Breslin Center arena (17,000 capacity): $3,500/day plus personnel

Other areas quoted on request.

Exterior locations

  • Parking structure: $50/ hour plus $4/space
  • Walkways: $25/hour
  • Parks: $50/hour (large); $25/hour (small)
  • Courtyards: $25/hour
  • Plazas: $70/hour (large); $25/hour (small)

Personnel Costs

  • MSU film liaison: one liaison included in Campus Filming Production Fee
  • Additional liaisons: $75/hour (required if production involves more than 50 people or uses more than one location)
  • Student assistant liaison: $50/hour (required if production involves more than 75 people or uses more than two locations)
  • MSU police officers, including fire marshal: $61/hour per officer (must be arranged through the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety)
  • Site manager: $35/hour (required if a location specifies that a staff member must be present during filming)
  • Lifeguard: $15–$20/hour (required for filming in or around any pools)

For all personnel, overtime rates apply after eight hours per day or on weekends.

Parking Fees

  • Parking spaces: $6/space (parking for large vehicles will be charged based on the number of spaces they occupy)
  • On-campus open space: $8/vehicle
  • Metered spaces: $50/per meter day
  • Gate attendant: $10/hour (unless provided by production unit)

Maintenance, Custodial, and Landscape Fees

A fee ranging from $25 to $100 per hour will be charged for any maintenance, custodial, and landscape work. This includes items such as turning air conditioners, fountains, or lights on and off. These services must be requested at least 48 hours prior to the first day of production. Cleanup and landscape restoration following a shoot will be billed at the hourly rate of the personnel necessary to complete the task.

Cancellation Fee

A fee ranging from $25 to $100 per hour will be charged for any maintenance, custodial, and landscape work. This includes items such as turning air conditioners, fountains, or lights on and off. These services must be requested at least 48 hours prior to the first day of production. Cleanup and landscape restoration following a shoot will be billed at the hourly rate of the personnel necessary to complete the task.

Rush Fee

In order to ensure that all approvals are received and your shoot is arranged to your expectations, we require that a fully completed application be submitted to University Communications no fewer than 10 working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. We also require that a final tech scout be done no fewer than five working days prior to the first prep day or day of shooting. Should either occur after the deadline, a per-item rush fee of 10 percent of your campus filming production fee will be charged.

To film at Michigan State University, please complete the Commercial Filming, Videotaping and Photography Application Form (PDF).

  • Applicants will be asked to provide the following information:
  • Contact information
  • Filming production detail (e.g., start date, crew, actors, equipment, vehicles, special effects)
  • Company information
  • Location detail (e.g., timeline, cleanup, equipment, parking, signage)