Guidelines

Michigan State University (MSU) 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. Communications and Brand Strategy (CABS) at MSU is responsible for assisting production companies wishing to film on campus. Following preapproval of your project, CABS 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 Communications and Brand Strategy 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 Chelsea Horsley, Office of Risk Management and Insurance: e-mail mill1784@msu.edu or fax to (517) 432-3854. To speak with Chelsea, call (517) 355-5022, Ext. 0.
  • 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, statues, 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.