TV pilot producers will get a free pass on permits while filming in the city of Los Angeles, after Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday signed a measure to help stop the bleeding on runaway production in the region.
Producers, studio heads, network executives and Hollywood’s labor groups turned out at Raleigh Studios to show support for the ordinance that waives city fees for filming TV pilots in Los Angeles.
The City Council last week unanimously approved the measure, co-authored by Garcetti and Councilman Paul Krekorian in June, to the mayor for approval.
TV pilots are a key area of concern for local officials. The region’s share has dropped sharply, and roughly 52 percent 0f all pilots are shot there now. That’s down from 60 percent last season and well below the peak period of 2006, when 82 percent of all pilots were shot in the L.A. area.
A pilot that gets a pickup is more likely to continue shooting in the area, and that’s critical, too. Because they are usually hour-long, high-end and multiple-episodes, TV dramas are key to the overall health of local filming. They employ more people and bring more economic benefits than other types of productions.
“When we support TV pilots being filmed here in Los Angeles, there’s a very good chance that when that series is picked up, the television series will be produced in Los Angeles as well,” Krekorian said. “Then you have millions and millions of dollars spent on those productions, which are spent right here in Los Angeles instead of in Vancouver or New York.
The ordinance is one of several steps Garcetti supports to give filmmakers more reason to shoot locally. He recently appointed Hollywood executive Tom Sherak as a “film czar” to make the city more film-friendly and lobby Sacramento to boost California’s film tax credit program.
Capped at $100 million per year, California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program lags well behind other states and countries in terms of what it can offer financially. Proximity to Hollywood and a first-rate infrastructure of large vendors, crew and post-production facilities offset that to a degree, but the state has been steadily losing production work for years.