On-Location LA Filming Drops 8.7% in Q1

Los Angeles’ post-strike production rebound has taken eight to 10 weeks to materialize, according to FilmLA

9-1-1
Bobby (Peter Krause) in "9-1-1" (Photo Credit: ABC)

Los Angeles’ post-strike production rebound has taken eight to 10 weeks to materialize, according to FilmLA. Local on-location filming fell 8.7% from January through March for a total of 6,823 shoot days in the first quarter of 2024.

The organization, which is the official film office for the city and county, attributed the production delay to the disputes’ end in late 2023 pushing projects to the new year and runaway production, series cancelations and planned reductions in content spend limiting industry output and work opportunities. Meanwhile, the decline in shoot days was primarily the result of a double-digit loss of TV production.

Additionally, it found that fewer cast and crew jobs were associated with all active film permits in the first quarter compared to a year ago. The difference was most notable in January, which saw total jobs fall 30.6% to 2,282, modest in February, with a 5.1% decline to 3,061 total jobs and nearly unobservable by the end of March with a 0.4% increase to 3,274 jobs.

“Since the first week of January, people have called FilmLA to say, ‘I am still looking for work. The phone isn’t ringing. Is the industry back?’ Unfortunately, production is still slow, and things are not as they were,” FilmLA president Paul Audley said in a statement. “Many who weathered months without access to work and income had hoped filming would return quickly after the holidays. Production didn’t really stabilize until March, meeting our predictions while falling short of our hopes.”

Total shoot days in Q1 2024 (FilmLA)

TV production fell 16% year over year during the first quarter to 2,402 shoot days from 2,868 a year ago. The category now trails its five-year average by a decline of 32.8%.

Reality TV production fell 18.6% to 1,317 shoot days, location-heavy drama production fell 5.5% to to 720 shoot days and less location-heavy comedy production fell 51.5% to 157 shoot days. TV Pilots, almost none of which were made in 2023, saw a 842.9% increase in quarterly production, for a total of 66 shoot days.

TV Reality and Pilot Shoot Days in Q1 2024 (FilmLA)
TV comedy and drama shoot days in Q1 (FilmLA)

Projects qualifying for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program logged 94 shoot days for the quarter, far less than is typical. Shows filming since January include “9-1-1” Season 7 (Fox), “Bosch Legacy” Season 3 (Amazon Freevee), “Hacks” Season 3 (Max), “Shrinking” Season 2 (Apple TV+), “The Lincoln Lawyer” Season 3 (Netflix), “Seal Team” Season 7 (CBS) and “The Rookie” Season 6 (ABC).

TV and web commercial production fell 9.6% in the first quarter to 813 shoot days. Production levels for the commercial category trailed their first quarter five-year average by a decline of 33.1%. Recent commercial spots included brands like AT&T, Chase Bank, Geico, Papa John’s, Ford, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota.

Meanwhile, feature film production rose slightly last quarter, picking up 634 shoot days to finish 6.6% ahead of the same months in 2023. Seven feature films in production last quarter were associated with the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, including “Atlas,” “Beverly Hills Cop 4,” “Billy Knight,” “Lurker,” “Mercy,” “Shell” and “The Cure.” Together, these projects made up 72 shoot days – or 11.4% – of the category’s quarterly yield.

Film and Commercial Shoot Days in Q1 2024 (FilmLA)
TV and Other Category shoot days in Q1 2024 (FilmLA)

Elsewhere, FilmLA’s “other category,” which includes smaller, lower-cost shoots such as still photography, student films, documentaries, music and industrial videos and other projects, declined 4.5% to 2,974 shoot days for the quarter.

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