Los Angeles On-Location Production Slides 5% in Fourth Quarter

Overall on-location filming in Los Angeles dropped 5% from October through December, according to a report released by permitting agency FilmLA on Friday.

Officials said the decline in overall shoot days to 9,839 was due partly to record activity levels in 2018, which generated the highest level of local production activity of any quarter in 25 years, with 10,359 shoot days.

Most of the decline came from commercials and other categories outside features and television. Fourth-quarter TV activity edged down 34 days to 3,761, and feature films declined by 26 days to 1,052.

TV comedy production jumped 39.4% to 548 days, web-based TV increased 36% to 423 shoot days, and pilot production surged 33.3% to 64 days. TV drama production declined 9.7% to 1,345 days due to fewer shows and fewer production days for recurring shows, as several major recurring series such as “Ballers,” “Legion,” “Strange Angel” and “The Affair” ended production over the past two quarters. TV reality production declined 4.4% to 1,006 days.

Current series covered by the California Film and Television Tax Credit — which covers up to 25% of production costs — include “American Horror Story: 1984,” “Good Girls,” “Good Trouble,” “Lucifer,” “The Orville,” “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,” “The Rookie,” “This Is Us,” “Westworld” and “Why Women Kill.”

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 Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” Paramount’s “Bumblebee” and Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam 2”; recent titles include “Mainstream” and “Little Things.”

FilmLA President Paul Audley credited the incentive with keeping the state’s production activity healthy.

“It’s important to remember that California is locked in a permanent competition against global rivals for film and television projects and jobs,” he said. “The fact is California’s film incentive reliably brings L.A. around 30% more TV drama production, and around 13% more feature film production than we would have without the program. Entertainment unions are reporting
ample work opportunities for local crews. Soundstage occupancy is high. These are all important considerations when evaluating the health of this business.”

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