Overall on-location filming in the greater Los Angeles area declined 5.2% from July through September, compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures released Thursday by FilmLA.
Although the third quarter of 2018 saw near-record highs for film production, FilmLA reported the same period this year delivered declines in on-location feature film, television and commercial production.
Only the TV comedy category and the “other” category posted significant gains.
In all, 9,226 shoot days were logged during the quarter.
TV comedy show shoot days rose more than 45% compared to last year’s third quarter, a total of 754, and was up about 25% from its five-year average.
Drama programming production declined for the first time this year, slipping 28.6% to 1,069 shoot days. TV pilots were down 19.2% to 63 shoot days, web-based TV was down 8.7% to 346 shoot days and TV reality was down 6.7% to 1,051 shoot days.
FilmLA researchers characterized the report as “atypical, and unusually at odds with other production indicators and local employment trends.”
“Given what we know about the Los Angeles production scene, the Q3 report omits much of the story,” FilmLA president Paul Audley said. “Earlier this month, our research group published a report revealing LA’s significant capture of the scripted television production market. Meanwhile, union officials assure us there are ample work opportunities for local crews. We can only surmise that there is significant filming confined to area sound stages, or taking place in adjoining cities where the activity is not tracked.”
In the third quarter, more than four out of every 10 TV drama shoot days, 435 shoot days in total, were part of a series that’s incentivized by the California Film & Television Tax Credit program.
A sampling of recent incentivized projects includes “American Horror Story: 1984,” “Good Girls,” “Good Trouble” and “Lucifer.”
Feature film production, which has generally struggled in 2019, dropped 24.7% to 980 shoot days during the quarter.
Commercial production, which has also struggled this year, trimmed its year-over-year losses to just 5% in the third quarter, declining to 1,330 shoot days.
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