L.A. Registers 3rd Strongest Quarter On Record For Location Lensing
Paul Audley
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On-location filming in the Greater Los Angeles region continued its late-pandemic momentum into the third quarter (Q3), which ran from July 1 through September 30. According to film analysts at FilmLA--the partner film office for the City and County of Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions--this was the third strongest quarter seen in 26 years, with a total of 10,127 Shoot Days (SD). The last time the region saw filming levels this high was in Q4 2018 (with 10,359 SD) and Q4 2016 (with 10,170 SD).

Compared against the quarter immediately preceding, Q3 Shoot Days experienced a slight increase of 3.4 percent (from 9,791 SD). Compared against the same period in the prior year--one still heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns--total production rose 141.2 percent (from 4,199 SD).

Looking at the major production categories tracked by FilmLA, the pace of feature film production quickened the most in Q3 of 2021, growing 33.5 percent over Q2. By the same measure, activity for commercials and television was mostly flat, with less than a one percent difference quarter over quarter.

Last year’s unusual circumstances continue to require FilmLA analysts to look for new ways to understand present-day filming levels. Accordingly, for the first time FilmLA is reporting a new “pre-COVID” average, consisting of a rolling quarterly analysis spanning the years 2016-2019.

Measured against this standard, the television category is in historically good shape, posting the strongest Q3 gains 22.1 percent above the Q3 pre-COVID average. This trend in also seen in commercials, tracking 15.5 percent above past figures. Both the feature film and other categories, however, fell short of their pre-COVID average highlighting the still-uneven nature of the industry’s local recovery.

Closing with a look at the sub-categories of television, the reality TV bested its pre- COVID average by 146.3 percent last quarter (with 2,825 SD), as did TV pilots (growing 56.7 percent to 132 SD) and TV dramas (growing 8.9 percent to 1,356 SD). On the other hand, web-based TV declined by -17.3 percent (to 400 SD), and TV comedies fell by -44.9 percent (to 338 SD).

“The biggest takeaway from this report is that the pace of local production continues to increase,” observed Paul Audley, president of FilmLA. “The late-pandemic recovery is uneven in some ways, but community receptiveness to filming is steady and the work opportunities are undeniably there.”

Broadcast TV series that filmed locally this past quarter include SEAL Team (CBS), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), Mr. Mayor (NBC), This is Us (NBC), and ABC’s The Rookie and Home Economics. Cable series include two of Showtime’s new series--Super Pumped and an untitled LA Lakers project--as well as Better Things (FX), and Chad (TBS). Streaming series that shot during Q3 include HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant and Made for Love, Pen15 (Hulu) and Netflix’s forthcoming series, Monster.

Recent feature films include Paramount Pictures’ Wild Chickens, New Line Features’ House Party 2, an untitled Jonah Hill project, Me Time and Purple Hearts for Netflix, as well as a forthcoming independent film, 892.


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