Scripted TV Boom Buoys L.A. Location Shooting

Courtesy of RexUSA

The filming of TV shows, includng dramas and sitcoms, shot up by 54.5 percent in the greater L.A. area during the third quarter.

The upswing in scripted TV production is turning into a boon for on-location film production in the greater Los Angeles area, which saw scripted TV shoots surge by more than 50 percent in the third quarter of 2015.

Overall, film and TV production in L.A. increased by 3.8 percent during the third quarter, reaching 9,510 shoot days, FilmL.A. reported today. The not-for-profit organization serves as the official film office for the city of Los Angeles, county of Los Angeles and 20 other area jurisdictions.

The increase was due primarily to a 54.5 percent quarterly increase in L.A.-area scripted television production.

TV production hit a new record of 4,308 shoot days. Reality TV remained the largest portion of TV location shoots, even though it slipped by 20.2 percent to 1,259 days from July through September. But that decline was offset by TV drama production, which rose 23.9 percent to 1,187 days, and TV sitcom production, which increased a whopping 168 percent to 745 days. Digital web-based TV production increased by 25.6 percent to 378 days, while TV pilot production also saw an increase of 31.6 percent to 125 days.

According to FilmL.A., the California Film & Television Tax Credit’s impact was reflected in the quarter’s numbers. The first round of television projects that qualified under the state’s new film incentive entered production in the third quarter. Incentive-qualified projects made up 20.8 percent of on-location shoot days in the TV drama category, 8.6 percent of TV sitcoms and 33.6 percent of pilots.

"We were predicting increases in the scripted television segment, and it appears those predictions are coming true,” FilmL.A. president Paul Audley said. “Undeniable is the influence and importance of the California Film & Television Tax Credit, which in both its old and new iteration has returned a considerable amount of work to Los Angeles."

Commercial production also contributed to the quarter’s overall increase. Local on-location commercial production grew by 11.0 percent. Measured in on location shoot days, commercials are the region’s second largest production driver, after television.

Local on-location feature production decreased 11.0 percent in the third quarter . But the fourth quarter is expected to see an increase due to the anticipated start of state-incentivized projects.

“Los Angeles County can never take for granted its history and position as the center of the entertainment industry,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said. “The impact of the California Film & Television Tax Credit has already made a huge impact on our ability to compete with other markets and their aggressive pursuit of production business. We must continue to work together across the region to retain this critical industry which provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, and billions of dollars to our economy.”