On-location film and TV production in Greater Los Angeles fell 3.1% in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same three months last year, according to FilmLA, the city’s film office. On-location feature film production took the biggest tumble, dropping 15.4%. On-location television production inched ahead slightly, up 1.7%. Altogether, there were 8,707 days of on-location filming in the region in the January-March period.
With the state’s new $330 million filming incentives program set to take effect in a few months, the ineffectiveness of the existing $100 million incentives program is highlighted by the fact that on-location feature film projects that qualified for the program generated only 42 shooting days in the region during the early part of 2015, . That represents 4.5% of the 926 days of feature film work shot here during the first quarter. On the TV side, shows that qualified for the tax incentives brought only 142 days of shooting to the region during Q1, accounting for less than 4.3% of the 3,312 days of shooting here during that same time span. And it’s not clear whether the shows that received the tax credits wouldn’t have shot here anyway.
Even so, FilmLA President Paul Audley said he’s “grateful for the increased production, especially in television, associated with the current tax credit. We remain hopeful that the region will also see gains in the feature category once the new credited adopted in Assembly Bill 1839 takes effect in a few months.”
State-qualified feature film projects that shot in the region earlier this year include The Perfect Guy, Message From The King, Scouts Vs. Zombies and Drive, She Said. State-qualified TV shows that shot in L.A. during the first quarter include Hit The Floor, Justified, Murder In The First, Stitchers and Teen Wolf. Last quarter, these shows generated a whopping 13.4% of the shooting days for all TV dramas shot in the region.
A tripling of the tax incentives could bring all on-location productions up to that 13.4% range, but it will be important for the industry and lawmakers alike to gauge whether that translates into more production – and more jobs – or simply subsidizes productions that would have shot here anyway. If nothing else, the new incentives program is expected to stem the flow of productions seeking tax credits elsewhere.
Regional on-location commercial production, which don’t benefit at all from the state’s tax incentives program, increased 6.2% in the first quarter, totaling 1,435 shooting days.
Miscellaneous filming on a wide range of low-job-impact productions — such as student films, public service announcements, industrial videos, still photography and adult videos — fell 7.5% in the quarter to 3,034 shooting days. (Data provided by FilmLA does not include productions shot on certified soundstages or on-location in jurisdictions not served by FilmLA.)