Los Angeles Film Production Dips 5 Percent

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FilmLA researchers say their quarterly report findings are atypical and "at odds with other production indicators and local employment trend."

The new quarterly FilmLA report has arrived and it shows more declines in Los Angeles filming.

Overall on-location filming in the Greater Los Angeles area declined 5.2 percent from July through September, according to the new data. A total of 9,226 shoot days were logged during the period. The researchers who worked on the report characterize it as atypical and "at odds with other production indicators and local employment trends."

In comparison, last year's third quarter saw local filming notch near-record highs. Instead, the same period this year delivered declines in on-location feature film, television and commercial production. Only the TV comedy category and "other" category posted significant gains.

In the television category, TV comedy production increased 45.6 percent to 754 shoot days during the third quarter. TV drama production declined for the first time this year, slipping 28.6 percent to 1,069 shoot days. TV pilots (down 19.2 percent to 63 shoot days), web-based TV (down 8.7 percent to 346 shoot days) and TV reality (down 6.7 percent to 1,051 shoot days) also saw dips.

“Given what we know about the L.A. production scene, the Q3 report omits much of the story,” said FilmLA president Paul Audley. “Earlier this month, our research group published a report revealing L.A.’s significant capture of the scripted television production market. Meanwhile, union officials assure us there are ample work opportunities for local crews. We can only surmise that there is significant filming confined to area soundstages, or taking place in adjoining cities where the activity is not tracked.”

Still, California's revamped tax credits program seems to be having a positive impact on luring production into the state. In the third quarter of 2019, more than four out of every 10 TV drama shoot days (435 in total) came from incentivized series. Recent incentivized projects includes American Horror Story: 1984, Good Girls, Good Trouble, Lucifer, Mayans MC, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Perry Mason, Star Trek: Picard, SWAT, The Rookie, This Is Us, Westworld and Why Women Kill.

Meanwhile, feature film production, which has struggled overall in 2019, dropped 24.7 percent to 980 shoot days. Film projects brought to L.A. by California’s film incentive contributed 7.3 percent, or 72 shoot days, to the feature category in the third quarter. Incentivized features recently filming in L.A. include Bliss, Covers, Revenge and The Little Things.