FilmLA Study Provides A Snapshot of Stage Shooting Prior To Pandemic
Paul Audley, president of FilmLA
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FilmLA, partner film office for the City and County of Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions, has updated its ongoing study of filming taking place on L.A. area certified sound stages.

FilmLA’s latest Sound Stage Production Report aggregates data supplied by an expanded list of studio partners to quantify occupancy, film use, and non-film use of 246 certified sound stages and adjoining backlots in Greater Los Angeles in 2018. The 17-page report also looks at recent sound stage development and construction across five major global production centers, including Los Angeles, the United Kingdom, British Columbia, Ontario, Georgia and New York.

Although the new report pre-dates by many months the emergence of COVID-19 and the industry’s production shutdown, it nonetheless offers a compelling snapshot of production intensity prior to the global pandemic.

As of today, 13 studio operators are enrolled in FilmLA’s data sharing partnership. These operators control 17 different multi-stage facilities in Greater Los Angeles, which together comprise 68 percent of the total certified sound stage inventory available in the region. In all, these 13 partners offer to local filmmakers more than 3.5 million square feet of certified, production-ready space.

The widespread availability of purpose-built production space has been a longstanding competitive advantage for L.A.’s signature industry. In terms of total square footage, Los Angeles-based studio infrastructure continues to outmatch that offered by any other jurisdiction, though other major production centers are investing heavily and gaining ground.

In terms of occupancy, FilmLA’s studio partners reported an average occupancy rate of 95 percent in 2018. This high rate of occupancy led to similarly high rates of utilization–-a total of 14,491 stage shoot days and 1,986 backlot shoot days were recorded for the year--with most dedicated to the production of one-hour series (7,459 shoot days), half-hour series (4,327 shoot days), TV talk shows (1,128 shoot days) and commercials (1,039 shoot days).

“Partner stage operators continue to confide in us about the challenges they face in their business,” said FilmLA president Paul Audley. “High occupancy levels have for several years offered proof that efforts to attract productions to California are working. Streaming content also fueled stage space demand. What remains to be seen, as the film industry seeks to responsibly resume production, is how occupancy and utilization will change in the wake of COVID-19.”

The next installment of FilmLA’s Sound Stage Production Report--covering January through December of 2019, is expected to be released by the end of the year.


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