Good and Bad News for L.A. Filming

Good and Bad News for L.A. Filming

from: Margie Barron,

The FilmL.A. office has both good and bad news for the first report of 2013. Starting with the good, overall on-location shoots have increased by 4.7 percent in 2012 (as compared to 2011). This is due to a 3.7-percent increase (from 2011) of on-location feature film production, which had its best year since 2008. The sequel Star Trek Into Darkness drove a significant amount of location work, and many state-qualified feature projects received the California Film and Television Tax Credit, including Gangster SquadThe Hive, Look of LovePlush and Jesus in Cowboy Boots. 

Commercial shoots were also up, with a strong fourth quarter for TV sitcoms, but the activity is still below 2009 levels. The lull in production also includes television dramas, which are down by 20 percent while reality TV shows dropped off by nearly 12 percent. “We know that part of the decline to our TV drama figures stems from producers’ desire to cut costs by filming more on studio backlots and soundstages,” reports FilmL.A. President Paul Audley, who heads the not-for-profit L.A. organization that coordinates permits for on-location entertainment shoots. “Unfortunately, last year we also saw a record number of new TV drama series shot out of state, resulting in negative economic consequences.”

The California tax credit has been praised by the industry as an important step towards stopping the erosion of productions. Many important L.A.-based TV shows took advantage of the credit, such as “Body of Proof” (which relocated from Providence, Rhode Island), “Justified,” “Major Crimes,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Switched at Birth,” “Teen Wolf,” “Bunheads,” “Franklin and Bash” and “Rizzoli and Isles.” These state-qualified TV projects generated 276 permitted production days last year, which is 1.6 percent of the annual total. “Last year saw our industry rocked by dramatic changes in the local production landscape,” notes Audley. “If we seek a more secure future for filming in Los Angeles, we must continue to innovate and expand upon the programs proven to attract new projects to California.” A recent report released by FilmL.A. Integrated Communications VP Philip Sokoloski mentions that FilmL.A. officials have repeatedly expressed their concern regarding the region’s diminishing television production share. The not-for-profit first noted signs of TV trouble in 2011, and fears of ongoing production losses were confirmed in 2012 with the release of FilmL.A.’s mid-year Television Pilot Production Report.

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