On-location filming in Los Angeles fell 5.8% in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year – the first decline following three consecutive record-breaking quarters. Even so, local production has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, finishing 6.8% ahead of 2019’s second quarter and 2.7% ahead of 2Q 2018, according to FilmLA, the city and county film office.
“We expected we would see production return to pre-pandemic levels sometime within the year, and now here we are,” said FilmLA President Paul Audley said in the group’s Q2 (read it here). “Resilient in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with industry leaders taking steps to protect both worker and community safety, we have confidence in the film industry’s ability to sustain local production at or above its historic levels.”
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On-location shoot days totaled 9,220 in the second quarter, down from 9,791 in Q2 2021. FilmLA defines a shoot day as one crew’s permission to film at one or more locations during all or part of any 24-hour period. The data doesn’t include projects shot on certified sound stages.
Feature film production was up 9% to 898 shoot days in the second quarter, even though only 81 of those days (9% of the category) were on productions directly tied to California’s $420 million-a-year tax incentives program. That’s up considerably from the 26 incentivized shoot days (4.4%) in the first quarter, but way below the 317 (35%) incentivized shoot days in the fourth quarter of last year.
FilmLA’s latest report shows that on-location feature production was 16.4% below the category’s five-year average of second quarters, which doesn’t include 2020, when production was suspended in Los Angeles County between mid-March through mid-June due to Covid. “Due to the significant impact of Covid-19 on production that year,” the report says, 2020 was excluded because otherwise it “distorts all historical comparisons.”
Films shot locally during the quarter included Barbie (Warner Bros.), Being Mortal (Searchlight Pictures), an Untitled Jonah Hill Project (Netflix) and the White Men Can’t Jump remake (20th Century Studios).
Television shoot days declined 15.8% from the second quarter last year, though FilmLA noted that “television continues to be a driving force in local production.” Despite the downturn, its 4,136 shoot days in the second quarter still beat the five-year-average of second quarters by 12.7%.
In the television category, episodic dramas accounted for 995 shoot days, which was down 33.7% from last year’s second quarter, while comedies, which totaled 309 shoot days, were up 61.9% quarter-to-quarter, even though they didn’t account for a single incentivized shoot day in the quarter. The five-year average for episodic dramas was up 1.7%, but comedies were down 20.7%.
Overall, 20.7% of the shoot days in the television category were on incentivized projects, and all of those 206 days were generated by episodic dramas.
Episodic dramas in production locally last quarter included the final season of This is Us (NBC), Station 19 (ABC), Dead to Me (Netflix), Euphoria (HBO), Snowfall (FX) and Little America (Apple TV+).
Local single-camera sitcoms in production during the quarter included Barry (HBO) and Chad (TBS).
TV pilots racked up only 14 local shoot days in the second quarter – which was down 44% quarter-to-quarter, and 89.6% below the five-year average.
Reality TV shows, which aren’t eligible for the state’s tax credits, accounted for 2,611 shoot days, which was up 6.7% quarter-to-quarter, and 96.4% higher than the category’s five-year average. Reality series that shot locally included American Idol (ABC), LA Fire and Rescue (NBC), Buried in the Back Yard (Oxygen), and Hip Hop My House (Paramount+).
Commercials, which also don’t receive tax incentives, generated 1,110 shoot days in the second quarter, down 28.1% from 2Q 2021, and 21.4% below the five-year average of second quarters. Car manufacturers including Acura, Ford, Kia, Lincoln, Nissan and Toyota shot commercials in the region last quarter, as did retailers Lowe’s and Home Depot.
FilmLA’s “other” category had a good second quarter, even though they generally create far fewer jobs than the film and television categories. Primarily consisting of still photography, student films, music videos, industrials and documentaries, they generated 3,076 shoot days — a 22.5% increase over last year’s second quarter, but 4% lower than its five-year average.
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