September slump

Location pic prod'n dips again

HOLLYWOOD — Off-lot feature production in Los Angeles remained subdued in September, with activity far below the super-charged levels of the first half of the year.

There were 428 permitted production days in September, up on July’s 415 days and August’s 369, according to figures released by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp. By comparison, every month from January to June totaled more than 1,000 days, as production stockpiled in anticipation of writers and actors strikes.

Despite the disruption from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, TV activity continued to recover from its May-July lull, totaling 869 days last month after hitting 1,037 days in August.

Commercials activity also remained lukewarm with 389 days. Los Angeles activity jumped during the first quarter, with well over 600 days each month, but has failed to crack 500 days per month since then as the ad industry slumped.

Overall, September was off a slight 1.8% vs. September 2000, but nine-month activity is up 9.3%.

Execs have said local producers appear less likely to head overseas due to the growing desire to stay close to home. “It’s very much a groundswell of patriotism and the ‘can-do’ mentality,” said Vance Van Petten, exec director of the Producers Guild of America.

Morrie Goldman, VP of the EIDC, said his office had received more calls to scout locations in recent weeks. “Our sense is that people don’t want to get on planes if they don’t have to,” he said.

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