Local production drops 14% in Q3

FilmLA: Movie shoots rise, but TV work dips 21%

Gains in on-location film and commercials production failed to offset a big third-quarter drop in TV shoots as filming across all categories of location-based production fell 14% in the period.

FilmLA said Wednesday that 21% fewer television production days were marked in the latest quarter. Through Sept. 30, TV shoots were off 11% for the year.

Production of TV dramas was down almost 7%, while work on sitcoms slid 48%. Reality shoots declined 20%, and pilot production fell nearly 26%.

Film production climbed almost 26% but remained off more than 37% through the first three quarters.

"Quarterly gains must be viewed in light of last year's drastically diminished feature production in the third quarter," FilmLA said.

Film production dried up in mid-2008 as studios rushed to complete projects before the expiration of SAG's film and TV contract.

FilmLA said commercials production marked a 10% uptick in the latest quarter. Still, the category was still off 21% during the first nine months.

"The year-to-date production numbers confirm the importance of the state's film and television tax credit program and the need for the city of Los Angeles' recently passed package," FilmLA president Paul Audley said.

The quarterly gain in commercials production -- a category ravaged by recessionary cutbacks in ad spending -- is potentially promising, he added.

"We hope this uptick is a bellwether of an improving national economy," Audley said.

A nonprofit group founded in 1995, FilmLA coordinates on-location permitting throughout Los Angeles County. The organization tracked 9,680 production days in the latest quarter, compared with 11,300 in the year-earlier period.