After years of decline and a few small rises, production is strongly up in LA according to FilmLA. In its 1st Quarter report, the non-profit permitting group says overall production in LA County rose by 17.6% over the 1st Quarter of 2012. FilmLA’s data comes from filming permits for shooting on streets, non-certified sound stages and in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The organization had Q1 2013 with 13,361 permitted production days over 11,360 in the same period in 2012. Feature production in LA was up the most of all the categories with a 25.5% rise over Q1 2012. What is especially noteworthy of that upward turn is that the quarter is usually a slower time for feature production in LA so that big a rise could be a strong indicator of the beginning of a significant change. The previously downward turning on-location Television production was also up double digits over last year. The category rose 19.0% in Q1 2013 over 1Q 2012. Of all the Television subcategories, TV Pilots were up the most with a 37.3% rise over last year for 460 PPD. With the first quarter of the year typically being when most pilots are made, the rise is significant. The overall rise in TV production is the best Q1 TV production has had in six years, according to FilmLA.
Q1 2007 was before the recession began and it was also before the often-maligned California Film & Television Tax Credit was available. Currently dispensed under a lottery system, California’s program was first introduced in 2009 to help stem the runaway production to other states with more generous incentives and lower costs. In Q1 2013, the credit was responsible for 13.4 of the quarterly total in Feature production. In Television production, the state credit generated 176 PPD, which was 3.5% of the category’s total and 13.0% of local TV Drama production. While a relatively smaller economic generator compared to Film and TV, the Still Photography category surged 51.8% for the period. Still, the rise was responsible for 43.7 percent of Q1 2013’s overall upturn. The Commercial category was the only one this quarter to decline. The usually robust category saw a very slight dip, down 0.6%.