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April Location Shooting Heats Up in L.A.

TV activity up 41% in first five weeks of 2nd quarter

Location activity in Los Angeles has heated up over the past month, thanks to small-screen projects.

Gains in the mainstay TV category have fueled a 24% jump in April location shooting in Los Angeles with five straight weeks of hikes in activity.  The gains, based on reporting by the FilmL.A. permitting agency, come on the heels of a 17.6% jump in first-quarter location shooting in Los Angeles.

The five weeks through last Sunday totaled 3,312 permitted days — or 640 more than the same period in 2012. TV shooting surged during that period by 41% to 1,992 days in an indication of a strong pilot season.

Recent leaders in TV shoots include “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Awkward,” ABC’s “Criminal Minds,” (pictured) “Drunk History” and a pair of pilots — “Gang Related” and “Blood Line.”

By contrast, feature film activity declined 11% during April to 518 days, though the past two weeks have seen year-to-year gains. The first three weeks in April saw location shooting for features at laggardly levels with 92, 76 and 67 days.

Although most of the features shot in Los Angeles are low-budget indies, one of the most active feature shoots in the area has been Universal’s “Townies,” starring Zac Efron and Seth Rogen, in a tale of a frat boy whose behavior affects a neighbor’s family life.

Universal also did some reshoots of “Ride Along” in downtown Los Angeles after most of the film was lensed in Florida.

Los Angeles has seen feature activity evaporate due to the lure of government incentives — even with tax credits under the four-year-old California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, which is far smaller than those of rival states with a maximum of 25% of the budget. With only $100 million in credits available annually, demand far exceeds supply with recipients selected through a lottery, set for June 4.

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