Held down by a lack of soundstage space, total on-location filming in greater Los Angeles declined 3.9% in the second quarter to 8,632 shoot days, permitting agency FilmLA reported Thursday.
“Although our latest report reveals a decline in filming on location, local production facilities tell us that they are operating at capacity,” said FilmLA president Paul Audley.
The report showed that scripted television remains the bright spot in the L.A. production picture as TV dramas surged 17.3% to 842 shoot days, comedies gained 3.2% to 485 days and pilots surged 35.5% to 149. A cyclical drop in TV reality, which was down 16.2% percent to 737 days, pulled the television category down 1.2% overall to 2,918 days.
FilmLA also reported that scripted television production in Los Angeles is increasingly driven by the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program with 51.7% percent of local TV drama shoot days coming from incentivized series — a new milestone. The tax credit is also responsible for 20.8% percent of L.A.’s on-location TV comedy production. Recent incentivized projects include “Animal Kingdom,” “Ballers,” “Euphoria,” “Good Trouble,” “Mayans MC,” “Snowfall” “Strange Angel,” “SWAT,” “Westworld,” “Why Women Kill,” and “You.”
A year ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed an extension of California’s production tax credit program for five years beyond its 2020 expiration with $1.6 billion in credits. The program was more than tripled in size in 2014 to $330 million annually to compete effectively with incentives in New York and Georgia. The program, which provides credits of up to 25% of production spending, is overseen by the state’s film commission, which selects the TV and movie projects to qualify partly based on the number of jobs created.
In March, Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” became the 16th television series to relocate to California. The series has been allocated $24.7 million in tax credits. Feature films covered under the program include Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” Paramount’s “Bumblebee” and Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam 2,” starring LeBron James and Bugs Bunny.
FilmLA also reported that the feature film production decreased 16.7% to 986 shoot days and laid the blame a lack of available local soundstages. “Lack of vacant soundstage space is seen as the main impediment to growth in this category, even though financial incentives exist to bring new projects here,” it added.
Incentivized film projects amounted to 96 shoot days and include Ben Affleck’s basketball drama “Torrance,” “Covers,” “Island Plaza,” “Main Stream,” “Palm Springs,” and “The Walk.”
On-location commercial production dropped 19.8% percent to 1,280 days with the report noting that commercial production, which receives no state-level incentive support, has been trending downward as producers pursue alternatives to Los Angeles for filming. “A tightening market due to consumers’ turn towards streaming services and away from ad-supported entertainment products are also thought to play roles in the sector’s downturn,” it added.