On-location filming in Los Angeles suffered a near-total collapse in the second quarter of 2020 because of the coronavirus shutdown of film and TV production. FilmLA president Paul Audley, however, said Wednesday that “The good news is that production is starting to responsibly return, with advertising shoots, commercials and limited television production now coming online.”
The latest report from the city’s film permit office shows that on-location filming in the city was down 97.8% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year — falling to only 194 shoot days, compared to 8,632 days in the second quarter of last year. “Unsurprisingly,” the film office said, “last quarter also returned the lowest filming levels on record.”
The second quarter collapse was led by zero shoot days on TV pilots and TV comedies, and only three days of shooting feature films – a 99.7 percent decline. There were only nine days of shooting TV dramas – a 98.9% decline – and just 30 days of shooting reality TV series – a 95.9% drop off. Commercial shoots were down 95.5% to only 58 shooting days; Web-based TV fell by 99.2% to only three shoot days, and television shoot days overall were down 98.2% to just 52 days, compared to 2,918 days in the second quarter of 2019.
“The first shutdowns we saw in March were voluntary, and it was hoped they could be temporary,” Audley said. “Looking back, it was hard to imagine the impact the pandemic would have on entertainment projects in progress, and the economic security of local cast, crew, and production vendors.”
Going forward during the pandemic, Audley said, “All permitted filming must comply with Health Orders as issued by county authorities. The measure of compliance we’re seeing is a real help in keeping the industry on the road to recovery.”
The report notes that “Production shut down due to COVID-19 global pandemic on March 20, 2020, and resumed on June 19, 2020. Q2 figures include productions filmed from June 19 – June 30, 2020 only.”
FilmLA’s data is based on days of permitted production within its jurisdiction, and does not include productions shot on certified sound stages. 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 – a measure determines how many days of work film crews perform during a given time period.
FilmL.A.’s latest numbers come on the heels of City Controller Ron Galperin saying earlier this week that jobs in Los Angeles’ Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector were in free-fall in April, with employment plummeting 39% month over month.