“After starting strong in January, on-location filming in L.A. slowed in March following a series of voluntary cutbacks and progressively tightening public gathering limits,” FilmLA said. “The 1,091 local productions filming in February 2020 dwindled to 644 projects in March before filming ended completely on March 20. On that date, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health and other state and local authorities issued complementary ‘Safer at Home” Orders, which closed the region to on-location filming until further notice.”
FilmLA said Thursday that with the shutdown poised to extend deep into the second quarter, overall 2020 production activity will wind up behind the 2019 total.
“FilmLA joins with all of Los Angeles in prioritizing the health and well-being of our communities during this unprecedented challenge,” said FilmLA President Paul Audley. “Our concern extends also to the economic security of local families, including the nearly one in five Angelenos with ties to this business and the thousands of small businesses they support. Our thoughts are with all most closely and seriously affected – whatever the uniqueness of the circumstances.”
FilmLA and its staff have been operating remotely and on a reduced schedule since March 13. Audley said the agency will be prepared for a rapid return to work once it is safe for production to resume.
Overall first quarter filming in Greater Los Angeles fell by 1,591 shoot days to 7,252 with local production levels trending 21.5% below their 5-year average. Television slid 20% to 2,491 shoot days. FilmLA’s 2019 Television Production Report found that 198 out of 465 of scripted shows produced across all platforms were shot in Los Angeles.
TV comedy production decreased 53.9% to 251 shoot days and TV drama production dropped 25.7% percent to 889 shoot days. Web-based TV deceased 13.1% to 225 days and pilot production fell 19.4% to 87 shoot days. FilmLA noted that pilot season, which typically runs from late February to early May, was greatly impacted by the shutdown.
TV reality production increased 11.7% with 771 shoot days, possibly due to the influx of streaming providers that launched their platforms during the first quarter.
FilmLA reported that television projects enrolled in California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program — which covers up to 25% of production costs — generated 293 shooting days in the TV drama category. Recent series covered included “Animal Kingdom,” “Euphoria,” “Good Girls,” “Lucifer,” “The Orville,” “The Rookie,” “Snowfall,” “SWAT,” “This Is Us,” “Why Women Kill” and “Westworld.”
Feature film production declined 6.1% to 665 shooting days in the first quarter. Films that were covered by the tax credit program include science-fiction project “Everything, Everywhere All At Once,” starring Michelle Yeoh, and Will Smith sports drama “King Richard.”
In 2018, 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 more than tripled in size in 2014 to $330 million annually to compete effectively with incentives in New York and Georgia. Films covered under the program include Paramount’s “Bumblebee” and Disney’s “Captain Marvel” and “A Wrinkle in Time.”