L.A. Location Days Up 18% in First Quarter

FilmL.A. report credits production tax incentive with slowing runaway film production

FilmL.A. on Thursday issued its quarterly report, showing a total of 11,087 permitted production days (PPD) in the Los Angeles area for the first quarter of 2010. That's up 18 percent from 9,408 days in the comparable 2009 quarter.

FilmL.A. is the not-for-profit that coordinates permits for filmed entertainment shot on-location in the city of Los Angeles, unincorporated parts of Los Angeles county
and other local jurisdictions.

On-location feature film production rose just 1 percent year-over-year gain, from 921 PPD in 2009 to 929 this year.

Driving the category was a significant number of feature film projects qualified to receive the California Film and Television Tax Credit. There were 11 features qualified for the incentive that shot on location in the region during the first quarter of 2010. The 184 PPD contributed by these projects made up 20 percent of the category’s quarterly yield.

“I can say with certainty that most, if not all, of the incentivized feature films would not have shot in California, were it not for our tax credit program,” said Amy Lemisch, director of the California Film Commission, which administers the program.

FilmL.A. president Paul Audley agreed: “The fruits of the incentive program became evident in local feature production levels during the latter part of 2009,” he said. “Complementing the state incentive program, recent initiatives taken by the city of Los Angeles should help us attract the kinds of projects that once ran away.”

Commercials production saw its strongest quarter in three years, with production up 61 percent year-over-year, from 1,266 PPD in 2009 to 2,034 in 2010.

Part of the increase was due to a rebound in the number of automobile commercials, which had fallen off in 2008 and 2009 as economic woes led to reductions in advertising spending. There were 66 car spots shot in the region in Q1 2010, vs. 35 in Q1 2009.

Television production was up 14 percent in the quarterly comparison, rebounding after three consecutive quarters of double-digit losses. There were 4,881 production days in Q1 2010, up from 4,279 in Q1 2009. 

TV pilots and reality TV led among television subcategories, with quarter-to-quarter production day gains of 42 percent and 38 percent, respectively. TV dramas and TV sitcoms, however, slipped 17 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Pilot season this year was more robust than anticipated, FilmL.A. said, with more projects shot in the region than in years past. Of the 129 total projects FilmL.A. tracked in the 2009-10 development cycle, 76 shot in Los Angeles, giving the region a 59 percent share of overall pilot production. During the previous development cycle, L.A. landed 59 out of 103 available projects for a 57 percent stake in 2008-09.