On-location filming in Greater Los Angeles increased 1.3 percent in 2015 to 37,289 Shoot Days (SD), thanks to a rise in scripted television production and the aid of the California Film & Television Tax Credit 2.0. That was the key takeaway from FilmL.A.’s latest report, “2015 Production Retrospective.” The not-for-profit FilmL.A. organization serves as the official film office of the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles and 20 other area jurisdictions.
Scripted television production is again a growth industry in Los Angeles. In a year where TV reality production fell 8.0 percent (to 5,088 SD), the overall Television category posted a 9.5 percent gain in 2015 over the previous year (to 15,706 SD) and an impressive 19.4 percent increase over the category’s 5-year rolling average.
Among scripted television categories, TV dramas and TV sitcoms led in overall production growth last year. TV dramas increased 19.3 percent (to 4,374 SD) in 2015 compared to 2014. The smaller TV sitcom category increased 100.5 percent (to 2,268 SD) over the same period. Meanwhile, Web-based TV production increased 28.3 percent (to 1,449 SD) and TV pilot production decreased 13.9 percent (to 638 SD).
“Television’s importance to Greater Los Angeles can’t be overstated,” noted Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A. “Scripted television provides long-term job opportunities and high economic value, so these increases should be celebrated.” Once again, the impact of the California Film & Television Tax Credit was evident in the numbers reported by FilmL.A. Incentive-qualified television projects generated 7.2 percent (1,130 SD) of local on-location TV production in 2015. Within select TV subcategories the incentive’s effect was more pronounced. Incentivized production made up 20.3 percent (887 SD) of the TV drama category, 8.4 percent (190 SD) of the TV sitcom category, and 8.3 percent (53 SD) of the TV pilots category.
Local on-location feature production decreased 4.2 percent (to 4,344 SD) in 2015, though the category began to perk up in the fourth quarter thanks to state-incentivized projects. Between October and December, 2015, five state-incentivized feature projects got underway in Los Angeles (CHiPs, The Conjuring 2, Rebirth, The Sentence and The Disaster Artist), registering 101 SD, and accounting for 9.4 percent of total feature production for the quarter.
Commercial production stayed flat in Los Angeles last year, with the category posting a negligible 0.2 percent growth (to 5,201 SD). Nonetheless, the spotmaking industry remains a major production driver in the Greater L.A. Region. For four straight years, commercials have produced more on-location shoot Days per year than feature films.
A Bid To Bring Back Incentives In Indiana
Senate Bill 125 proposes to reinstate the film production incentive program in Indiana. Highlights of the program include (info from Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC):
For productions with qualified spend of less than $6 million, the program provides a refundable tax credit equal to: 40% of qualified production expenditures paid to an individual or entity located in a municipality or county in which either 25% of the households are below the poverty level as established by the most recent United States decennial census, or there’s an unemployment rate which is 1.5 times greater than the statewide average over the most recent 18 month period for which data is available. In other areas of the state, the tax credit is equal to 35% of qualified production expenditures.
For productions with qualified spend of $6 million or more, the program provides for a refundable tax credit of not more than 15% on qualified expenditures.
The incentives program, if passed, would take effect on January 1, 2017, with a sunset date of December 31, 2019.
New Jersey Incentives Bill Vetoed
Senate Bill 779, which proposed to re-establish the film production tax credit program, was vetoed last month by Governor Chris Christie (info from Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC).
Amendment Proposed For Kentucky Film Program
Bill Request 436 proposes to amend Kentucky’s film production program by including all counties in the Appalachian region in the definition of an enhanced incentive county (info from Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC).
Productions filming entirely within an enhanced incentive county are eligible to earn 35% on qualified expenditures.