Los Angeles sees strong October after state incentive renewed

Overall offlot filming in Los Angeles was robust in October, with five consecutive weeks of increased activity following the extension of the state’s production credit program.

Last week’s total hit 651 permitted days, according to permitting agency FilmL.A., up 18% from the same period in 2011, following hikes of 23%, 19%, 12% and 8%. Feature filming was the biggest spur, with the number of days more than doubling.

The weekly increases have come after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Sept. 29 to extend the tax credit program for two years, ensuring another $100 million in annual credits for productions shot in California. Maximum credit is 25% of production costs.

FilmL.A. has also been touting its services at AFM with a booth that includes replicas of the Hollywood Sign, the Walk of Fame and a Madame Tussaud’s wax statue of Marilyn Monroe. It’s the first step in FilmL.A.’s strategic plan to make the work of the agency — which coordinates permitting for shooting on public property in Los Angeles County — and the California tax credit program better known within the production community.

“The most common comment that we’ve gotten is that the incentive is too small, so this is a way for us to build support for an expanded program,” said FilmL.A. prexy Paul Audley. “And a lot of people — maybe two in five — don’t even know that there is an incentive program in California.”

Audley said that the AFM initiative is also aimed at dispelling the reputation of Los Angeles as a film-unfriendly location, adding to the trend of filmmakers fleeing Hollywood in search of incentives and lower costs.

“We found that there are people who had a bad experience 10 years ago and are convinced that things have not changed,” he added.

FilmL.A. is already planning to have a presence at Sundance and return to AFM next year.

During the week ended Sunday, “Touch” was the most active TV shoot with 17 days. “Vegas,” “Bunheads,” “My Cat From Hell,” “Family Tools” and “Modern Family” also shot last week.

“Victor,” “Life of a King” and “Broken Horses” racked up the most days on the feature side.

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