On-Location Filming Up in L.A., But Exec is Cautiously Optimistic

A film shoot near Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles. | Photo: SBC9/Flickr/Creative Commons License

First-quarter entertainment production in the Los Angeles area grew 17.8 percent, thanks largely to television production, which had its strongest showing since 2007, figures from FilmLA showed today.

"We're viewing the latest numbers with caution and optimism," said Paul Audley, president of the group that handles permitting in the city and the county. "One quarter can't undo all the troubling declines we've experienced, but we're certainly encouraged to see things moving in an upward direction."

Feature film production was up 25.5 compared to the first quarter of 2012, with 1,279 permitted production days. Of those production days, 172 benefited from a state tax credit to encourage filming and television production. The projects that qualified for the credit include "10 Things I Hate About Life," "Dark Skies," and "Walk of Shame."

Television production bounced back with double-digit gains in almost all categories, after experiencing losses in 2012. Production days for television pilots increased 37.3 percent, while sitcom production days rose 36.9 percent.

Web-based television saw a 35.4 percent growth, while dramas rose 22.4 percent. Growth for reality shows tapered, posting a 2.1 percent gain, but still plays a major role in local production with 1,591 permitted production days.

Television production in general saw a 19 percent increase, making this the strongest first quarter since 2007 for television. Television shows that qualified for the state tax credit included "Body of Proof," "Bunheads," "Franklin and Bash," "Justified," "Major Crimes," "Rizzoli and Isles," and "Teen Wolf."

The overall increase in production benefited from a 51.8 percent gain in the still photography category, which is not considered a big revenue generator.

"While we appreciate the work of L.A. area photographers, still photography as a category is considered 'low-yield' from an economic standpoint," Audley said.

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