Things were looking up in Los Angeles for the movie and TV business in 2014, says FilmLA – especially in TV with Dramas, Pilots and Reality. In its annual report on production in the home of Hollywood, the non-profit permitting group today clocked an overall rise of 9.6% over 2013. “This is big news for our city given the critical role the entertainment industry plays in creating tens of thousands of good middle class jobs and showing the world what it means to be an Angeleno,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti about the near double digit increase. “Our work to make L.A. more film-friendly is already paying off, and we’re excited to see even bigger numbers when the new film tax credit we got passed goes into effect.”
Garcetti was a big proponent of an expansion of California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program to bring more work back to LA. Passed by Sacramento, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in the heart of Hollywood on September 18 and set to kick in this year, the incentive has now been raised to a hefty $330 million.
It looks like money well spent and well invested.
Using a newly implemented Shoot Days measurement system over the previous Permitted Production Days approach, FilmLA’s report shows that last year saw a 16.5% increase over the 5-year rolling average for the often hit hard region. The first Golden State tax incentive to roll back runaway production out of LA and California to more lucrative states and the likes of Canada and the UK were introduced in 2009.
Of course, it isn’t all good news once you dig down though this latest report, though the foundations seem strong. Despite locally shoot films like Nightcrawler, American Sniper and more, feature production in L.A. dipped a slight 3% after three years of growth, says FilmLA. With the fact that medium sized budget Jake Gyllenhaal starrer and the Clint Eastwood directed pic based on Chris Kyle’s bestseller were both beneficiaries of the state tax incentives and the fact that films with budgets of over $75 million will now be eligible for the expanded incentives, that slip will likely have turned around again by this time next year.
For TV production overall, the better times keep on giving. In this latest annual report, FilmLA has registered a 12% rise over 2013. A lot of that came from the surging 28.6% growth in TV Drama production that went up from 2,851 Shoot Days in 2013 to 3,666 last year. Shows like The CW’s new Jane The Virgin and CBS’s Halle Berry starrer Extant were a part of uptick. That’s a nice rebound from the record lows of 2012. Also, with Pretty Little Liars and Justified among those getting help, tax credits backed 27% of all the dramas filmed in the state last year. That’s a big boost from the tiny 4% who were back by incentives as recently as 2011.
On the flipside, Shoot Days for TV Sitcoms were down 26.7% and Web-based TV stumbled 7.3% from 2013. That said, the former needs to be qualified under FilmLA’s measurement system which looks at on-location shooting not onstage production as happens all over L.A. almost every day season after season. There are considerations on the latter as well. With the 121% growth in web-based TV in LA since 2011, FilmLA says it thinks the “totals are understated.” Not naming any names, the group notes that “many new media entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with local rules regarding commercial filming and the need to secure film permits. As these projects are brought into compliance, local Web‐Based TV production should increase.”
One place where there was a noticeable increase last year was the often big paying and well crewed up Pilots. They rose 15.4% from 2013. Close behind was Reality TV, which was up 14.7% from 2013. Actually, according to today’s report, from its first big burst in 2002, Reality TV is now the biggest single player in on-location TV production in the City of Angels region. Though its overall economic trickle down is less than say Drama, Reality TV makes up “four out of every ten Television Shoot Days” in and around LA says FilmLA.
Though threatened by a potential Teamsters strike now, another area of growth last year was Commercial production. With a significant number of America’s ads across all platforms made in and around LA, Shoot Days bopped up 9.0% over 2013 to 5,192 days from 4,765.
Not bad at all.