On-location TV and film production in L.A. shows 'significant slowdowns' in first quarter

FilmLA has seen a significant slowdown across all major categories of on-location production in the county over three consecutive quarters.

On-location TV and film production in L.A. shows 'significant slowdowns' in first quarter

In spite of the post-Covid surge in production seen at this time last season, local film production has dropped by 2023.

According to a report released by FilmLA, the partner film office of the city and county Los Angeles, and other local jurisdictions, the number of shoot days on location in the first quarter was 7,476. This is 24% below Q1 2022, and 17% lower than the average Q1 for the past five years.

FilmLA's President Paul Audley said that over three consecutive quarters FilmLA had seen a "significant" slowdown in all of the major categories for on-location production.

In a press release, he stated that 'decisions about the future direction of content are being held, particularly in the television industry, until the results of restructuring actions by corporations and the outcomes from labor negotiations in the industry'.

Television saw the biggest quarterly drop, with a decline of 36%, and less than 2,900 shooting days. This is 24% below its five-year average quarterly.

The number of TV dramas dropped by 40% compared with the previous year. They went from 1,279 shoot days to 762, and 24% came from projects enrolled in California Film & Television Tax Credit Program.

The reality TV sector performed better than dramas. However, the number of shoot days dropped by 38% from 2,600 in Q1 to 1,617. Despite this, production levels are still 17% higher than the average for the past five years.

The report stated that TV pilots are produced less frequently as direct-to series orders become more common. Seven shoot days were generated for the quarter. This is an 88% decrease from the year before and 95% lower than the five-year median.

The category of TV sitcoms grew the most year-over-year last quarter. It grew 25% from 259 to 324 shoot days. However, the category was still 22% below its five-year average. Locally filmed TV sitcoms included CBS' "Young Sheldon," HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," FX's "It's always Sunny in Philadelphia," Peacock's Killing It, and Hulu’s This Fool.

The category of feature films saw little change in the first quarter. There were 595 shoot-days in Q1 2023, compared to the 594 in Q1 2022. However, this was 13% lower than the average for the past five years. The California Film & Television Tax Credit Program accounted for 99 shoot days or 17% of all feature production. Local productions include Apple Studios' Unicorn, Universal Pictures?Fast X, BET Her?Black Girl, Erupted, and independent films â€On Swift Horses,†â€Stealing Pulp Fiction†and â€Wishing Wellâ€.

The commercial production declined by 23% last quarter compared to the previous year and 33% less than its average over the last five years. Recently, Ally Bank and Walmart, as well as car manufacturers BMW, Dodge Ford, Genesis Honda, Hyundai Toyota and Volvo, filmed commercials in Greater L.A.

L.A. County is expanding its studio footprint even as production on location drops. There are 17 studio projects under development in the county, spanning 155 stages. The space is estimated to be 3 million square foot. Four studios have been opened in the past year.