Los Angeles Business Journal

Location Film Production in L.A. Sees Increase

By Jonathan Polakoff Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Location production in Los Angeles picked up last year thanks to an increase in local film and commercial shoots, though TV production in Los Angeles continued its decline.

Overall production last year increased 4.7 percent for a total of 46,254 permitted production days, according FilmL.A., the downtown L.A. non-profit that handles film permits for the City of Los Angeles, unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County and other areas of Los Angeles. The numbers do not include soundstage shoots.

The organization released its annual figures Tuesday.

Feature film production increased 3.7 percent for a total of 5,892 permitted production days during the year – the most since 2008. Feature film production increased by 33 percent in the fourth quarter. Feature films that qualified for a piece of California’s $100 million in production subsidies, such as Warner Bros. forthcoming “Gangster Squad,” accounted for about 6 percent of on-location film production for the year.

Commercials were also up 14 percent last year for a total of 8,078 permitted production days, thanks largely to an increase in advertising made for the web. Other production, such as music videos, was up by 1 percent.

The picture was altogether different for location TV shoots, which fell by 3.4 percent to 16,762 permitted production days for the year. The biggest decline was in TV dramas, which often employ large staffs and contribute more money to the local economy than sitcoms or reality shows. Dramas were down 20 percent and reality TV production was down about 12 percent.

The decline in location TV production is worrisome for the local economy, said Paul Audley, FilmL.A. president.

“We know that part of the decline in our TV Drama figures stems from producers’ desire to cut costs by filming more on studio back-lots and soundstages,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, last year we also saw a record number of new TV drama series shot out of state, resulting in negative economic consequences.”