On-location film shoots in Los Angeles increased 8.6 percent in the second quarter of 2013 over the same period last year, according to FilmLA. The city's official film office describes the quarter as one of recovery for local film production, but says overall, Los Angeles and California continue to struggle far below their past dominance in the industry.
FilmLA measures activity by the number of production days. From March through June of this year, it counted a total of 12,173 production days compared to 11,209 production days during the second quarter of 2012.
In the television category, the largest gains were in productions for Web-Based TV (up 63.1 percent), TV Pilots (up 51.8 percent) and TV Sitcoms (up 39.1 percent). FilmLA president Paul Audley is glad to see the increase, but says those productions employ far fewer workers and spend less resources than the production of TV dramas, which he calls "high-value."
The production of TV dramas rose almost 30 percent in the second quarter over the same period in 2012. Audley says: "that sounds amazing, but that 30 percent really only brings us back to a level that is very poor instead of being a disaster in the category."
Audley said California's Film and Television Tax Credit Program brought new projects to L.A. in the second quarter, but other states are investing more in tax incentives that lure away productions that used to stay here.
"New York, for example, has $420 million to offer to a broad array of productions versus our $100 million," Audley said.
A record 380 film and television productions applied in June for a share of California's $100 million in tax credits. Only about 30 projects received initial approval for the grants before the funds were exhausted. The California Film Commission said the waiting list is very long.