L.A. entertainment prod'n rises 10.8% in Dec.

Off-lot entertainment production in Los Angeles County jumped 10.8% in December in a sign that producers are stockpiling feature films and TV programs to ride out expected strikes by union writers and actors.

Production days totaled 2,391, up 232 from December 1999 as feature activity rose 10.2% to 841 days and TV filming soared 20.9% to 967 days, according to figures compiled by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp. Commercials edged down eight days to 489, but that was more than triple the total in October, when union actors ended a six-month strike against advertisers.

Morrie Goldman, VP of the EIDC, said local activity will be robust into the spring due to concerns by studios and networks that the Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists will be unable to reach agreement on new film-TV contracts. The current WGA contract expires May 1 while the SAG/AFTRA pact ends June 30.

A busy spring

“We’re expecting strong activity in January, February and March and we are probably looking at a very busy spring,” Goldman said.

For all of 2000, the EIDC — which issues permits for most public property shooting — reported that overall activity in major categories declined 5.7% from 1999 to 27,608 days due to a 24.6% plunge in ad production to 4,950 days while features fell 9.9% to 9,483 days, partly due to the unavailability of downtown sites during the Democratic Party nominating convention. TV and musicvideo shoots both rose 8.2% to 11,123 and 2,052 days, respectively.

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