On-location filming in the Greater Los Angeles region declined last year by 3.4% to 38,284 shoot days, thanks to slides in feature film and television production, according to a report released Tuesday by the FilmLA permitting agency.
TV production slid 7.6% to 15,218 days and features plunged 19.8% to 3,901 days. Commercial production increased 95 to 5,548 shooting days.
FilmLA analysts asserted Tuesday that while the total number of feature shoot days is down, the economic value of projects in this category may be increasing over time as feature projects that qualify for the expanded California Film & Television Tax Credit tend to generate larger job and spending impacts than non-incentive-linked projects.
The agency noted that in 2017, 61 feature projects filmed in Los Angeles, including 19 incentive-linked projects with a cast and crew count above 75 persons on-location — nearly twice the number of incentive-linked, similarly-sized projects in 2016. Incentive-linked features filming on-location in Los Angeles included “Destroyer,” Ava DuVerany’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Bumblebee,” and “Ad Astra.”
The key TV drama category slipped 1.3% in 2017 to 4,385 days but the California Film & TV Tax Credit program accounted for nearly a third of that with 1,401 incentive-linked days, including “This Is Us,” “SWAT,” “Westworld,” “Lucifer,” “Shooter,” and the TV pilot project, “Mayans.”
On-location TV comedy production decreased 12.8% to 2,155 shooting days and TV pilot production plunged 40.2% to 441 days. FilmLA analysts said the pilot decline was due to the significant number of scripted television series already available through broadcast, cable, and digital channels.
“Our ability to achieve and sustain a high level of production over the past few years is substantially due to the California Film and Television Tax Credit – which is creating thousands of jobs and returning high economic benefits to California,” said Paul Audley, FilmLA president.
FilmLA also noted Tuesday that its analysis of production occurring on certified sound stages in Greater Los Angeles showed that the overall occupancy rate was 92% during the first six months of 2017. Scripted television series accounted for 63% while TV talk shows took 16%.
California’s expanded production incentive program, which covers up to 25% of production costs, went into effect three years ago with the state committing $1.65 billion for five years in tax credits. L.A. location shooting gained 6.2% in 2016, according to FilmLA.