California’s new film tax credit already is paying dividends in Los Angeles, which saw a 3.8% increase in on-location filming during the third quarter of 2015 compared with the same period last year. The first round of TV projects that qualified under the incentives program entered production during the quarter, and the impact was dramatic, with on-location TV shoot days hitting a five-year high. According to FilmLA, the city’s film office, incentive-qualified projects accounted for a third of all on-location TV pilot filming days in the city, one-fifth of the TV drama shoot days and nearly 9% of the TV sitcoms.
On-location feature film production, however, fell 11% to 1,146 shooting days, but officials at the film office expect this to turn around in the fourth quarter and in early 2016 as state-incentivized film projects begin shooting in the city. Two of the first films to receive tax incentives under the new program are currently filming in LA: Swiss Army Man, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and Warner Bros’ Unforgettable, starring Katherine Heigl. Those filming days, however, won’t show up until the Q4 report.
“I think we’re going to see a sustained increase on the TV side, and some of the larger features are coming in as well,” FilmLA President Paul Audley told Deadline. “The great news is not only about the direct jobs, but also for the vendors who were at risk as we continued to lose production.”
On-location TV production hit a five-year high in the quarter, with 4,308 filming days. This is especially noteworthy since reality TV, which is still the region’s largest television production segment despite not being eligible for tax incentives, fell 20.2% in the third quarter to 1,259 shoot days. This was offset by TV drama production, however, which rose 23.9% of 1,187 shoot days, and by TV sitcom production, which increased a whopping 168% to 745 shoot days. Web-based TV increased 25.6% to 378 days of filming, and TV pilots increased 31.6% to 125 days.
Commercial production, though not eligible for the state’s tax incentives, remains the region’s second-largest production segment, increasing 11% in the third quarter to 1,278 days of filming.
“Los Angeles County can never take for granted its history and position as the center of the entertainment industry,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. “The impact of the California Film & Television Tax Credit has already made a huge impact on our ability to compete with other markets and their aggressive pursuit of production business. We must continue to work together across the region to retain this critical industry which provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, and billions of dollars to our economy.”