Offlot TV production in Los Angeles softened 9% during the first quarter, leading to a 2.1% decline in overall production activity.
Permitting agency FilmL.A. provided figures Tuesday showing that overall shooting fell by 244 permitted days for the quarter to 11,360 with TV shooting sliding by 424 days to 4,277. Drama declined 18.6% to 1,029; reality plunged 19.3% to 1,558; pilots were off 11.4% to 335; and sitcoms (usually shot on soundstages) jumped 23.3% to 444.
TV projects that qualified for California’s tax incentive — “Franklin and Bash,” “Justified,” “Shadow on the Mesa” — contributed 68 days during the quarter.
“This is the first quarter where we’ve seen television projects outnumber features in the list of incentivized projects filming locally,” said FilmL.A. president Paul Audley. “Nonetheless, we continue to feel the sting of last year’s loss of television dramas and a softening in the reality production segment overall.”
Feature production jumped 15.8% to 1,019 during what’s usually a slow time with shooting on “Channeling,” “Coffee Town” and “Kiss Me.” Projects with California incentives generated 46 days and included Warner Bros.’ “Burt Wonderstone” and Millennium Films’ “Lovelace.”
Offlot feature shooting in Los Angeles is less than half what it was at its peak in 1997 and has declined since then as other state and foreign governments ramped up incentive programs.
First-quarter production in commercials increased 10.8% to 2,309 days.
Audley expressed frustration over the state’s relatively minimal incentives program, which is dwarfed by rival initiatives. California’s 4-year-old Film and Television Tax Credit Program has doled out $400 million in tax credits to date.
“At a time when other jurisdictions — notably New York — are using generous film incentives to set TV production records, California is losing ground as the pilot and series production location of choice,” Audley said. “Sacramento’s lax response to this threat to local jobs is dismaying.”
In February, Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 2026, to extend California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program by an additional five years and another $500 million. Fuentes carried last year’s legislation, which extended the program for a single year after the original bill provided for five years.