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On-Location Filming In L.A. Sees Dismal Second Quarter

Deadline logo Deadline 7/12/2017 David Robb
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Show cancellations and fewer feature films and TV pilots shot on the streets of Los Angeles have put a major dent in on-location film production in the city, according to the latest report from FilmLA, the city’s film permit office.

On-location feature film production fell 18.5% between April and June of 2017 compared to the second quarter of 2016, and on-location TV pilot production plummeted a whopping 60.4%. The number of on-location shooting days on TV dramas plunged 24.3%; digital Web-based TV production dropped 21.8%; TV comedies fell 9%, and TV reality production slipped 1% (see chart below).

Overall, on-location shooting in Greater Los Angeles was down just 4.7% for the quarter, however, thanks to a 12.5% increase in shooting days for commercials – which though not eligible for the state’s film tax incentives still account for the most shooting days in the city – and a 7% increase in “other” production such as student film, public service announcements, industrial videos, still photography and adult films – also not eligible to cash in on the incentives.

Even so, FilmLA president Paul Audley managed to put a positive spin on the otherwise dreary data. “Declines in any category need to be put in context,” he said. “The year-to-date comparison for the last seven years shows 2017 is second only to 2016 for total shoot days.”

FilmLA said that the precipitous drop in TV pilot production mirror the findings in its upcoming 2017 Pilot Study, which shows fewer pilots were ordered by networks over the last year. “As a result,” the permit office said, “production centers from L.A. to New York saw declines in the category.”

The 789 days of shooting TV dramas on location this quarter were driven down because several shows from 2017 are no longer in production including Gilmore Girls, Good Girls Revolt, Hand Of God, Mistresses, Roadies, Sweet/Vicious and The Catch. Even so, the TV drama category is having its third best year of the last seven, trailing 2016 and 2015 year-to-date.

Projects that received state subsidies continued to bolster the numbers, although the number of jobs-rich shooting days they brought to the city is surprisingly low. Incentivized features produced only 232 shooting days in the quarter, or 22% of all films shooting here on location. TV dramas saw 291 incentivized days, or 37% of the category, and TV pilots yielded just 57 shooting days – or 52% of the category.

By contrast, commercials accounted for 1,398 shooting days – more than double the number of incentivized film and TV shoot days combined.

Even so, without the incentives, film and TV production in Los Angeles would have been in the tank for the quarter, and for the year to date.

(Data provided by FilmLA does not include productions shot on certified soundstages or on-location in jurisdictions not served by FilmLA.)

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