They’re not quite ready to declare the production state of emergency in the City of Angels over, but today even the notorious pessimistic FilmLA saw things looking up – especially in the TV categories. A Q2 2014 report released by the nonprofit permitting group this morning said total on-location television production in LA County roared up 33.7% over the same quarter last year to 5,761 PPD. The report attributes the “ unseasonably strong” results to shifting production schedules as broadcasters get episode of shows like the upcoming TNT series, Legends in shape for summer airing. The news was nowhere near as good today when it came to feature film production in L.A. County this quarter compared to Q2 2013 but minimal ground was lost, which is a victory unto itself as the region as been hit so hard by runaway production in recent years. Quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year, Q2 2014 dipped 5.3% from Q2 2013 to 1,665 PPD. That reasonably steady result gets a bit sour when you look at Q1 2014. That quarter saw a 24.2% rise compared to the year before for features. However, this quarter, both features and TV production exceed their respective 5-year quarterly average with the former up a mere 0.1% while the latter rocketed up 34.0%.
Of course, doing a little bit more math, those 5-year quarterly averages hold extra significance when they’re noted in this latest report. It was half a decade ago back in 2009 when California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was first introduced. As an effort to expand that program to being perhaps even more that New York State’s $420 million moves its way through the state Senate, FilmLA made damn sure to point out how beneficial the tax credits have been to the successes and the relative holds of Q2 2014. It is worth noting that FilmLA reports on a very particular aspect of the overall filming in the region. So while, the on the street filming of the seventh and last season of Sons Of Anarchy yesterday will be counted next quarter, the in-studio elements of the FX biker drama will not.
Still, this past quarter saw TV Drama light the fires and burn the tires 58.6% over Q2 2013 to 1,191 PPD. With its 64.1% upward movement over the year before, only TV Reality did better. And, unlike the unscripteds, TV Drama got some help from the state. Projects such as the Howard Gordon produced Legends, fellow TNTer Major Crimes and MTV’s Teen Wolf were among those that got some of the tax credit program. They and others made up 43.2% of the TV Dramas last quarter. Filming on the released this week The Purge: Anarchy and Warner Bros’ upcoming Entourage movie helped make up the 10.8% of the features category last quarter that benefited from the Golden State’s tax credit program. Both were awarded tax credits in the 2013 lottery determined on June 3rd that year. This year’s lottery for the tax credits were held on June 3 with 23 projects getting the nod out of a record 497 applications submitted the day before. That number went up to 26 when the California Film Commission revealed the names of the lucky ones on July 1.
FilmLA has been very vocal in recent months in support of the multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act. Introduced in late February by Democrats Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra and overwhelmingly passed by the state Assembly on May 28, the legislation passed the state Senate’s Governance and Finance Committee by a 4-0 vote on July 7. It now goes to the Senate’s Appropriation committee for a hearing and vote in August. A dollar figure is expected to be attached to the legislation by then. If the Act passes the Appropriation Committee, it will next go to full Senate for a floor vote and soon after to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. As of now, Brown has not publicly indicated if he will use his pen or not in the matter. The consensus among industry insiders and state pols, I hear, is that the running for re-election Governor is highly likely to back the expansion when it is put on his desk.
That’s in the future but among the TV categories today’s FilmLA report has almost everyone on the rise. Falling 26.6%, only the out-of-season TV Pilots category was down. While far below the double digit rises of TV Drama and Reality TV, and Web-Based TV bopped up 3.4% over Q2 2013 and TV Sitcoms were rose 5.5%. All that and the overall surge in TV production continues the small screen trend started in Q2 2013, which was up 26.6% from a very weak period in 2012.