• Thursday, Apr. 18, 2024
Post-strike production rebound slow to materialize for L.A. in early 2024
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 issued an update regarding regional filming activity.

The film industry’s highly-anticipated return to production in 2024 took eight to ten weeks to materialize, according to FilmLA. The end of labor work actions late in 2023 pushed many project starts into the New Year.

At the same time, runaway production, series cancelations and planned reductions in content spend were seen to limit industry output and work opportunities. Local on-location filming declined 8.7 percent from January through March, attaining only 6,823
Shoot Days (SD) in the first quarter.

Reviewing the data, researchers identified a double-digit loss of television production as the main contributor to the decline. Television production was down 16.2 percent year-over-year in the first quarter (2,402 SD in 2024 vs. 2,868 in 2023). Present filming levels look much worse over a longer study period, as television now trails its five-year category average by 32.8 percent.

“Since the first week of January people have called FilmLA to say, ‘I am still looking for work. The phone isn’t ringing. Is the industry back?’” said FilmLA president Paul Audley. “Unfortunately, production is still slow, and things are not as they were.”

“Many who weathered months without access to work and income had hoped filming would return quickly after the holidays,” Audley elaborated. “Production didn’t really stabilize until March, meeting our predictions while falling short of our hopes.”

“Job seekers sometimes ask us how Shoot Days and days spent working on-location are connected to the creation of industry jobs,” Audley shared. “When we dug into the permit data and examined the self-reported number of cast and crew present and working on-location, we found additional evidence of the delayed return to work.”

Based on a recent ad hoc analysis from FilmLA Research, fewer cast and crew jobs were associated with all film permits active in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2023. The difference was most noticeable in January (30.6 percent fewer
jobs, totaling 2,282), modest in February (5.1 percent fewer jobs, totaling 3,061), and nearly unobservable by the end of March (a 0.4 percent increase, totaling 3,274 jobs).

Looking deeper into the television category, reality TV production dropped 18.6 percent in the first quarter (to 1,317 SD), while location-heavy TV drama production dropped 5.5 percent (to 720 SD), and less location-heavy TV comedy production
dropped 51.5 percent (to 157 SD). TV pilots, almost none of which were made in 2023, saw a 842.9 percent rise in quarterly production, for a yield of just 66 SD.

Projects qualifying for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program logged 94 SD for the quarter, far less than is typical. Shows filming since January: 9-1-1 Season 7 (Fox), Bosch Legacy Season 3 (Amazon Freevee), Hacks Season 3 (HBO Max),
Shrinking Season 2 (Apple TV+), The Lincoln Lawyer Season 3 (Netflix), Seal Team Season 7 (CBS), and The Rookie Season 6 (ABC).

The production of commercials for television and the web slipped in the first quarter with a 9.6 percent drop to 813 SD. Loss of production to other jurisdictions remains a concern, as local commercial production levels trailed their first quarter five-year
average by 33.1 percent. A list of recent spots lensing locally include brands like AT&T, Chase Bank, Geico and Papa John’s, plus automobile ads for Ford, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota.

Feature film production rose slightly last quarter, picking up 634 SD to finish 6.6 percent ahead of the same months in 2023. Seven feature films in production last quarter were associated with the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, including Atlas, Beverly Hills Cop 4, Billy Knight, Lurker, Mercy, Shell, and The Cure. Together these projects made up 72 SD--or 11.4 percent-–of the category’s quarterly yield.

FilmLA’s “Other” category, which aggregates smaller, lower-cost shoots such as still photography, student films, documentaries, music and industrial videos and other projects, declined 4.5 percent (to 2,974 SD) for the quarter.

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