Despite the state’s annual $330 million tax incentives program, on-location filming in greater Los Angeles fell for a third consecutive quarter, dipping 3.5% to 9,455 shoot days in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year. On-location filming fell 4.7% in the second quarter and a whopping 36.3% in the first quarter.
On-location production of feature films, commercials, and TV dramas were the quarter’s few bright spots. Everything else was down. Film production was up 7.6%, TV dramas were up 4.1%, and commercial production rose 7.2% despite the fact that they’re not eligible for state tax incentives.
Overall, on-location television production fell 9.1%, yielding 4,021 shooting days in the city and county. TV pilots plunged 60.3%; TV comedies fell 17.3%; Web-based TV was down 14.3%, and reality TV fell 20.4%. FilmLA said that reality TV production, which is not eligible for tax incentives, “continues to be crowded out by a shift to scripted content.”
Tax credit-eligible feature films contributed only 133 on-location shooting days in the third quarter, or 11.3% of all features shot here on location. Incentivized features that filmed here in the third quarter were Ad Astra, Backseat, Book Club and Bright.
Incentivized TV drama projects contributed 436 on-location shooting days, or 35.4% of all on-location TV drama shoot days. Those filming here in the third quarter were Code Black, American Horror Story: Cult, Heathers, Law & Order True Crime, Lucifer and The Orville.
Olive Forever, the only incentivized TV pilot that shot here in the third quarter, contributed just 10 shoot days, or 16.6% of all the pilots shot here on location.
FilmLA said the nose dive in TV pilot pilots in the third quarter was due to declining activity that began last year and “the record number of shows that are already in production or airing.”
“It is important to note that despite a year-over-year decline in numbers for the third quarter, on-location production counts are over 10% higher than five years ago,” said FilmLA president Paul Audley. “That brings a steadier employment picture for area cast and crew, and relief to local small business owners happy to see filming come back.”
A “shoot day” is defined as “one crew’s permission to film at one or more defined locations during all or part of any given 24- hour period.” FilmLA’s data does not include production that occurs on certified sound stages or in areas outside its jurisdiction.