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L.A. Commercial Shooting Declines in September

October 04, 2000|JAMES BATES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Shooting of commercials on the streets of Los Angeles plunged again in September as Southern California ad production continued to dry up amid the 5-month-old strike by actors against the advertising industry.

The number of shooting days devoted to commercials fell 68% during the month to just 168, compared with 533 a year ago, according to the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., the agency that issues permits for most of Los Angeles County.

EIDC statistics are further evidence that production has been fleeing to Canadian and European cities to avoid picket lines.

"We've seen a lot of filming move outside of Los Angeles to Canada and abroad. There's a certain amount of activity taking place on sound stages and on private locations. It's our hope this thing resolves soon so we can bring commercial filming back to Los Angeles," said Steve Caplan, spokesman for the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers, a trade group for ad producers that is not involved in the contract talks.

For the first nine months of this year, the number of permit days for commercials was off 23% to 3,971. The strike began May 1.

The numbers measure production days companies devote to shooting ads outside studio lots. Although they don't include shooting on sound stages or on private property, where permits aren't needed, the numbers are considered a good barometer of activity.

Advertisers say they are continuing to shoot ads regardless of the strike. Actors say their efforts have made it more difficult and expensive to shoot.

Last week, talks broke off between advertising representatives and the two unions, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists over payments for cable TV ads and whether the contract will cover ads made exclusively for the Internet.

No new talks are scheduled.

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