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California and the West

Location Shoots in L.A. Decline

Production of films, TV shows and commercials slides 6.8% amid signs that the area is losing ground to other states.

July 26, 2006|Richard Verrier | Times Staff Writer

Film, television and commercial shoots on the streets of Los Angeles dropped 6.8% in during the second quarter as the area's once-sizzling TV production cooled amid signs of stronger competition from other states.

The number of production days for film, TV and commercial shoots -- one day representing a day of work at a single location -- fell to 7,853 during the quarter, down from 8,426 during the same period a year earlier, according to FilmL.A. Inc., a nonprofit group that handles permits for on-location production in the Los Angeles region.

The numbers mark a reversal after steady growth in Los Angeles' overall production activity, which surged to a record level last year largely because of a television-production boom in recent years.

But in the second quarter, television shoots fell 3.3% to 4,514 production days over the same time last year, representing their first second-quarter decline since 1999.

Production in all genres of television saw declines in the quarter, except for reality television, where shoot activity soared 54%.

Reality TV shows, however, generally have lower budgets and less of an economic effect than scripted television does, entertainment industry experts say.

Film and commercial shoots also declined in the three months ended June 30.

The number of days of production involving feature films dropped 6.8% to 1,946. Shoots for commercials fell 16% to 1,393 days.

The figures provide further evidence that Los Angeles is losing ground to such states as New Mexico and New York that have become increasingly successful in luring film and television jobs with lucrative tax incentives, FilmL.A. President Steve MacDonald said.

"We've always talked about how lucky we are to have television production here," he said. "Now we're starting to see a crack in the veneer of television."

FilmL.A.'s report showed that the number of television pilots shot in the Los Angeles area dropped 23%, mainly because of competition from other states.

In all, 39 of this year's 120 pilots were produced outside of Los Angeles, about twice as many as in 2005, according to the study, which was based on an industrywide survey of production companies.

FilmL.A. has been pushing for incentives to keep filmmakers from shooting outside of Los Angeles.

The group received encouraging news Tuesday when the Los Angeles City Council approved a proposal pushed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to waive fees for film and TV production taking place on most city-owned property.

"It's an important first step," MacDonald said. "This is a routine thing in other places."

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