Studio stockpiling keeps feature films on track

Post-strike TV production in Hollywood is getting back on its feet — with the exception of pilots, production of which remains well behind the levels of a year ago, according to permitting agency FilmL.A.

Features, which saw little impact from the strike, have remained on the upswing since the work stoppage ended, posting significant gains in each of the last four weeks. Studios have been stockpiling films as a hedge against a possible actors strike this summer.

During the week that ended last Thursday, the agency — which handles permitting on public property in much of Los Angeles County — issued 60 permits for TV dramas, up one from the year-ago week. That included four pilots, four sitcoms, 24 reality and 13 dramas.

Pilots have taken the biggest hit as networks scaled back in the wake of the 100-day WGA strike. A total of 15 permits have been issued in the last four weeks compared with 66 in the same period of 2007.

TV dramas are back up to speed, however. The four-week tally totaled 58 permits vs. 61 a year ago.

On the feature side, production’s clearly ramped up as studios try to complete production by June 30, when the SAG contract expires. For the four-week period, 86 permits have been issued, up 41% from a year ago.

During the fifth post-strike week (March 12-18), feature production nearly doubled, with 29 permits issued compared with 15 in the 2007 period.

The boom in features shot locally has been going on since the WGA strike started. FilmL.A. issued 15% more feature permits during the strike, rising to 262 from 227 in the year-ago period.

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