On-location filming in Los Angeles rose 2.4% in the first quarter of 2018 compared with a year ago. That’s good news after a dismal 2017 when on-location filming took a nose dive, with feature films, TV pilots and reality shows all hitting five-year lows despite the state’s $330 million-a-year tax incentives program.
Altogether, there were 9,724 on-location shooting days in the city during Q1 2018 – up 4.4% compared to the average first quarters of the past five years, according to data gathered by FilmLA, the city’s film permit office.
“This report confirms what below-the-line-workers across Los Angeles are already experiencing — film and television production is booming,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Each new production means more good-paying jobs and a healthier economy for everyone. L.A. is the creative capital of the world, and we’re going to keep it that way.”
On-location feature film production had an especially good quarter, posting an 11.7% increase in shooting days from a year ago – its first double-digit bump since the fourth quarter of 2015.
“It is exciting to see increases in high job-producing categories in film and television production,” FilmLA president Paul Audley said. “The California Tax Credit program is sustaining the industry in our region and demonstrates how critical it is for a continuation of the program.”
Data shows that 20% of on-location feature film shoot-days came from movies that received tax incentives including Captain Marvel, Destroyer, The Devil Has a Name, Peppermint and Bird Box. More than half of all the TV drama shoot-days were on shows that received state tax credits, while 24% of pilot shoot-days and 17% of the comedy shooting days were also from incentivized shows.
On-location feature film production, although up for the quarter, is down more than 13% compared with the rolling average of first quarters over the past five years. For the quarter, feature films accounted for 814 on-location shooting days (defined as one crew’s permission to film at one or more defined locations during all or part of any given 24-hour period). The data does not include production that occurs on certified soundstages or on locations not served by the film office.
On-location feature film production is dwarfed, however, by on-location TV shoot-days, which dipped 7.4% from a year ago to 3,623 shooting days. That number is up slightly (0.4%) compared with the five-year Q1 average.
TV drama shoot-days were up 4%, comedies were down 13%, and pilots were up 22%. TV reality shows, which aren’t eligible for tax credits, saw a 20.7% drop in shooting days compared with the first quarter of last year – down to 922 shooting days. Web-based TV shows declined even further, off 29.7% from a year ago.
Commercials, which also aren’t eligible for tax credits, saw a 10% increase in on-location shooting days compared with a year ago. During the first quarter, commercials accounted for 1,633 shooting days, which is almost exactly twice the number on feature films. TV dramas and reality TV shows also racked up more on-location shooting days than feature films, although films tend to employ much larger crews.