Filming up overall in LA in 2012, but more TV dramas leave

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TV drama production dropped 20 percent last year in California. Producers want state lawmakers to improve tax incentives to keep work here.

The non-profit group Film LA reports the number of commercials, TV shows and movies filmed in Southern California rose about five percent in 2012 compared to the previous year.

Film LA President Paul Audley said that's good news from a permitting point of view, but not necessarily for the region's overall economy.

“My concern for the region is the permits we're giving out don’t produce the same kind of returns that they should - and that they would - if California got into the competition," he said.

Audley said it’s good that the number of commercials filmed in and around LA increased 14-percent, but filming TV commercials doesn't benefit the economy as much as the production of TV dramas or other long-form programs that have bigger budgets, employ more people and offer more stable employment.

“Of the piloted new dramas, there were 23 picked up, 21 of them left California," he said. "That's never happened before and that loss was dramatic and shocking. And it's directly a result of California not having film incentives to keep those programs here.”

TV drama production dropped 20 percent last year in California. The state has a film tax incentive to entice productions to stay, but many say it's not competitive enough with credits offered by other states. 

"When you look at a state like New York, which continually expands  by five years and has $420 million available, compared to California's one or two-year-extensions at $100 million,  you can see why we're losing the race," Audley said.


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