On-location filming in Greater Los Angeles slid 5.2% in the second quarter of 2018compared to the same time period last year. The downturn comes after a strong first quarter, but a dismal 2017, when feature films, TV pilots and reality shows all hit five-year lows despite the state’s $330 million-a-year tax incentives program.
The incentives program, however, is definitely having a positive impact on the number of shooting days for on-location films and TV drams shot in the city, according to data compiled by FilmLA, the city’s film permit office. The tax program was recently extended through 2025.
The number of on-location shooting days for films that received state tax incentives has been steadily on the rise since 2015, when the city captured only 247 feature film shoot days. That figure more than doubled in 2016 to 549 days, and bulged again to 872 days last year. Through the first half of this year, there have been 298 shooting days of incentivized feature films – which is slightly off last year’s pace.
Incentivized dramas are also on the rise, from 887 shooting days in 2015, to 1,370 days in 2016, and to 1,401 days last year. So far this year, there have been 728days of incentivized shooting, which is ahead of last year’s pace. Incentivized TV dramas that filmed here during the second quarter included The OA, SWAT, Strange Angel, Snowfall, Mayans M.C. and Animal Kingdom.
Altogether, there were 8,978 on-location shooting days in the city during Q2 2018 – down nearly 7.7% from the first quarter and down from 9,466 shooting days in the second quarter last year. Overall, on-location television shoots saw a 15.1% decline to 2,953 shooting days, led by a 31.6% decline in shooting days on reality shows and a 9% decline in TV dramas. The only second quarter bright spots this year were feature films, commercials and TV comedies.
On-location feature film shooting day were up 11% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, accounting for just 11.3% of the 1,184 on-location film shooting days during the quarter. Incentivized films that shot in the city during the quarter included Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Captain Marvel and Bumblebee.
TV comedies rose 23% in the second quarter compared to a year ago to 470 shoot days, with incentivized comedies accounting for 17.4% of the activity in the category. Projects that received state tax subsidies included Ballers, which fled Florida after the state eliminated its tax incentives program, and Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here.
“We are grateful for the continued positive impact of the California Film Tax Credit as it boosts employment and production in Greater Los Angeles,” said FilmLA president Paul Audley. “While TV drama is down quarter to quarter, much of that is due to the production cycle of these shows which went on hiatus during the second quarter. Increases in feature film, commercials and TV comedy production are very good news for the region’s economy.”
On-location Commercial production continued to rise in 2018, up 14.2%t in the second quarter to 1,596 shooting days, finishing 16.8% above the category’s five-year average.
Quarterly decreases were also seen in Web-based TV (down 14.6% to 352 shooting days, in in the “Other” category, which consists largely of still photo shoots, student projects and music videos (down 7.9% to 3,245 shooting days).
On-location production figures are based on days of permitted production within the jurisdictions served by FilmLA. One “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. The data does not include production that occurs on certified sound stages or on-location in jurisdictions not served by FilmLA.