Undergraduate Filmmaking Prop Weapon and Staged Combat Policy

No prop weapons may be used during off-campus filming or recording.

Students wishing to use prop weapons on campus must abide by all the policies and protocols found in the Undergraduate Filmmaking Prop Weapon and Staged Combat Policy.


Staged Combat

Staged combat is defined as any physical confrontation, armed or unarmed, in which bodily harm is represented. Slapping and shoving can easily cause injury and are considered to be stage combat. Self-injury is also considered to be staged combat.    

Prop Weapon

Prop weapons include but are not limited to: guns (non-firing, rubber and toy), knives, swords, daggers, spears, bows and arrows, cross bows, slingshots, nooses, hand cuffs, shackles, restraints, and any other implements fashioned or used in a threatening manner, whether capable of inflicting actual bodily harm or not.


Some types of non-violent physical activity also carry increased risk. Student productions, including films, videos, or any other moving image representations planning to involve any type of heightened physical activity such as acrobatics, stuntwork, pratfalls, etc. should contact their faculty or staff advisor as early in the process as possible, and must receive permission before including these in their rehearsals or filming. If you do not have a faculty or staff advisor, contact kerry.cripe@yale.edu.

Banned Items

No firearm may be used that is capable of firing projectiles in any form. There will be no use of blanks, caps, or any other explosive device. Any and all gunshots must be accomplished through the use of sound effects.

No weapon will be allowed that is capable of firing a projectile, such as a bow and arrow or crossbow. All such weapons must be incapable of firing and used for visual effect only.

No cutting implements will be allowed unless the cutting edges/points have been dulled and rendered incapable of cutting or piercing.  No retractable knives or swords will be allowed.

Staged Combat

Because of the risk associated with this activity, students may not include staged combat in undergraduate film. Kerry Cripe is available to advise on alternate ways to portray staged combat.

Prop Weapons

No use of prop weapons of any kind is allowed without the express written permission of the Yale College Deans Office and Undergraduate Production. Prop weapons are not permitted during off-campus filming or recording. Requests for the use of prop weapons in on-campus filming must be submitted by the CPA deadline at the beginning of the semester in which the filming will occur, using the Film Prop Weapon Request. Yale Police will be notified about any approved uses of prop weapons in film and may require that the production team pay for a police presence at filming locations.

Rental and Borrowing: UP Prop Weapon Inventory
Undergraduate Production (UP) has a small inventory of prop weapons, available by request (through the Film Prop Weapon Request webform), free of charge, on a first-come-first-served basis.  Yale users may view the inventory here.  Please contact Kerry Cripe (kerry.cripe@yale.edu), for more information about specific prop weapons. UP prop weapons may not be taken off-campus.

The rental, borrowing, or purchase of prop weapons from any source other than UP must be arranged in consultation with UP.


One designated student will be responsible for oversight of all prop weapons used in a film.  At least 72 hours prior to checking out prop weapons from UP, students must submit a written transportation plan which lists each date that a prop weapon will move between locations. Yale Police will be notified in advance of all transportation plans. The responsible student must pick up prop weapons at UP office, document transportation using the Prop Weapon Chain of Custody Form, and track prop weapons using the Prop Weapon Check In Log. These forms can be found here.  The responsible student must retain responsibility for the prop weapons until their return to Undergraduate Production.  Prop weapons must be transported in a locked transport case provided by UP, and must be secured in a locked room when not in use. At no time may prop weapons be stored in a student’s room.

Excerpt from Yale University Campus and Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

Complete policy may be found here.

“The University specifically prohibits the possession of weapons by any faculty or staff member, student, or visitor while on or in the vicinity of University-owned or controlled property, whether or not the owner is licensed to carry such weapon. This ban includes keeping a weapon or transporting it to another location… Weapons may include, but are not limited to, guns, ammunition, knives, explosives and the like, crossbows, swords, or similar items with the potential to inflict physical harm. Included are disarmed weapons and simulated weapons which could reasonably cause apprehension. Possession of unlicensed or illegal weapons at any location may be grounds for discipline. Appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination or expulsion in the case of a student, and/or criminal proceedings will be taken against persons who violate this policy.”

Exceptions: Prop or simulated weapons may be allowed for use in theatrical or film productions only with prior approval from Undergraduate Production for Yale College theatrical productions, the Director of the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM) for Undergraduate film projects, or from the David Geffen School of Drama for School of Drama projects. Use of prop or simulated weapons in other Graduate and/or Professional school productions may be allowed with prior approval from the Dean of their school(s). Use of weapons for Club Sports activities may be allowed with prior approval of the Director of Athletics.

Protocols for the use of prop weapons in undergraduate films are found on this page, in the Undergraduate Filmmaking Prop Weapon and Stage Combat Policy.