Los Angeles film, commercial shoots see big dropoff

Filming on the streets of Los Angeles has slowed after production had to restart amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total filming days fell 10.5% to 9,066 between July 1 and September 30 compared to the same period in 2021, according to a new report from FilmLA, the nonprofit group that controls film permits for the city and county managed.

The most notable declines, according to the report, were in feature films and commercials, with activity well below the five-year average.

The slowdown comes as Hollywood enters a period of sharp cost-cutting, leading to slate cuts from studio and streaming outlets in film and television. In the first two years of the pandemic, studios had to catch up for months as productions shut down and fiercely competed for hot new shows and movies. Production volumes are now declining.

“We’re seeing an expected slowdown taking shape,” FilmLA President Paul Audley said in a statement. “The COVID-19 delta wave forced an off-season production shift last year. This postponement resulted in record-breaking filming in the second half of 2021, so given that this is a modest decrease.”

The full effects of the slowdown may not yet be felt.

“We really feel like it’s too early to attribute the cuts we’re seeing to a cut in overall production rates, as TV shows and seasons are typically scheduled months in advance,” said FilmLA spokesperson Philip Sokolowski.

The group estimates that around a third of all streaming series are filmed in LA, and it could take six months for the numbers to reflect what’s happening in Hollywood.

“We will see repercussions if there is consolidation in this sector, but we think it’s too early to watch now,” Sokolowski said.

There were 828 feature film shooting days in the quarter, down 25% from the same period last year. Warner Brothers’ Barbie, Netflix’s Beverly Hills Cop and Universal Pictures’ Fast X were among the films shot on location in Los Angeles.

Commercial shooting fell 33% to 1,021 shooting days in the quarter.

With production costs rising due to the pandemic, commercial production is not shrinking but is shifting to other states where it can qualify for tax incentives.

“It’s not necessarily making less product, just making less of it here,” Sokolowski said. “There are new costs associated with production in the COVID era and any opportunity to recover them makes a real difference to them.”

TV shoots were also affected. The TV category declined 10.5% over the same period in 2021, but remained about 5% above the five-year average.

Filming days for TV dramas fell for the first time since production began recovering from the pandemic in the second quarter of 2021. TV drama activity of local shows like Fox’s 9-1-1 and CBS’ CSI: Vegas fell 11.7% year over year to 1,198 days of filming in the third quarter of 2022.

According to FilmLA, a “shooting day” is defined as permission for a crew to film all or part of a set of locations during a specified 24-hour period.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-10-19/movie-and-commercials-filming-in-los-angeles-see-big-drop-as-post-pandemic-production-surge-recedes Los Angeles film, commercial shoots see big dropoff

Sarah Ridley

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