Location doldrums

Off-lot shoots down, but show monthly rise

HOLLYWOOD — Off-lot feature shoots in Los Angeles remained at depressed levels in February, with the hoped-for upsurge in development not yet translating to actual shooting.

Permitted production days totaled just 408 last month, down 65% from the 1,155 days in February 2001, according to figures released Tuesday by the Entertainment Industry Development Corp. Still, the February figure was a significant improvement from January’s dismal total of only 256 days.

“Activity has still not picked up in features, although we continue to hear that it’s going to get better in the coming months,” said Steve Dayan, business rep for Local 399 Location Managers of the Teamsters.

The flaccid 2002 figures contrast sharply with the high-powered activity of early 2001, when every month from January to June totaled more than 1,000 days as producers stockpiled in anticipation of writers and actors strikes. The decline in feature activity has been attributed to the combined effects of stockpiling, the recession and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to EIDC VP Morrie Goldman.

“We are still seeing the impact of last year’s strong activity,” he added. “There are a lot of feature projects in pre-production right now, so we expect feature activity to continue rebounding.”

TV activity has remained solid, however. February’s off-lot TV total was more than double that of features, with 977 permitted days, down 85 days from January.

“It’s fortunate for our members that TV pilot season has been reasonably active,” Dayan said.

Commercials activity posted a rebound as it hit 625 days, up 11% from January and 58% from December. The sector remains significantly below last year’s activity, when 810 days were logged in January, followed by 682 days in February.

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