On-location filming in the greater Los Angeles area is down more than 18% compared to last year and continues to fall due to the shutdown orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released Thursday by FilmLA.
The nonprofit institution reported that after starting strong in January, on-location filming in Los Angeles slowed in March after a series of voluntary cutbacks and limits to public gatherings.
“FilmLA joins with all of Los Angeles in prioritizing the health and well-being of our communities during this unprecedented challenge,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmLA. “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.”
The 1,091 local productions filming in February dwindled to 644 projects in March before filming ended completely on March 20, after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and other state and local authorities issued Safer at Home orders.
As of Thursday, with the shutdown poised to extend deep into the second quarter, FilmLA analysts predict that local shoot day losses are already unrecoverable for the year.
According to FilmLA data, overall filming in the greater Los Angeles region saw a decline of 7,252 shoot days from January through March, compared to 8,843 days in early 2019.
Headed into April, local production levels were trending 21% below their five-year average, and are dropping each by the day.
The hardest-hit filming sector in the first quarter was television, FilmLA stated, which saw an overall decline of 20.6% or 2,491 shoot days compared to 3,139 in 2019.
The FilmLA 2019 Television Production Report found 198 out of 465, or 42.5%, of scripted shows produced across all platforms were shot in Los Angeles. Episodic television also accounts for 70-75% of filming activity on major sound stages in Los Angeles.
TV comedy production decreased 53.9% in the first quarter to 251 shoot days. TV drama production dropped 25.7% to 889 shoot days. TV pilot production fell 19.4% to 87 days for the period, and web-based TV slipped 13.1% to 225 shoot days.
Pilot season, which typically runs from late February to early May, was greatly affected by the production shutdown and will be discussed in greater detail in future reports from FilmLA research, the nonprofit stated.
However, reality television production increased 11.7% in the first quarter with 771 shoot days compared to 690 in 2019.
FilmLA stated this increase may be due to the influx of streaming providers that launched their platforms during the first quarter of 2020.
Television projects enrolled in California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program were active during the quarter, FilmLA stated. Incentivized TV dramas generated 293 shoot days, or 33% of the filming activity in the category. The TV comedy category received 21 incentivized shoot days in the first quarter, 8.4% of category activity.
The second-largest category tracked by FilmLA analysts, commercials, slipped 12.5% in the first quarter to 1,214 days compared to 1,387 days in 2019.
Feature film production slid 6.1% to 665 shoot days in the first quarter compared to 708 shoot days last year.
Historically, the features category has been the third-largest category tracked by FilmLA, in terms of total shoot days.
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