Filming in Los Angeles stabilized above pre-pandemic levels in the second-quarter of 2022 after posting three consecutive all-time quarterly records.
Despite a drop-off in shooting from the start of the year, local production from April to June finished 2.7 percent and 6.8 percent ahead of the same periods in 2018 and 2019 respectively, according to FilmLA’s latest report, released Wednesday. There were 9,220 shoot days this quarter.
Due to a backlog of production stalled by the pandemic, there was massive levels of filming in L.A. from July 2021 to March 2022. Local shooting surged in the third quarter of 2021 to highs not seen since 2018 by logging 10,127 shoot days, moving on to set an all-time quarterly record to end 2021 with 10,780 shoot days. Shooting at the top of 2022 was the busiest first quarter ever with 9,832 shoot days.
“We expected we would see production return to pre-pandemic levels sometime within the year, and now here we are,” said FilmLA President Paul Audley in a statement. “Resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with industry leaders taking steps to protect both worker and community safety, we have confidence in the film industry’s ability to sustain local production at or above its historic levels.”
TV filming continues to be a driving force in local production, posting 4,136 shoot days. Although shooting in the category is down nearly 16 percent relative to the same period last year, it’s up 12.7 percent over the five year average. (FilmLA’s five year averages exclude 2020 when production was suspended in L.A. from March to June because of COVID-19.)
Episodic dramas in production in the second-quarter included Little America (Apple TV+), Dead to Me (Netflix), Euphoria (HBO), Snowfall (FX), Station 19 (ABC) and the final season of This is Us (NBC). FilmLA reported that more than one in five shoot days in the TV category came from projects receiving tax incentives.
In July 2021, California bolstered the Film & Television Tax Credit program with an additional $180 million in incentives on top of the $330 million already earmarked for the industry. The program welcomed for the first time since 2019 new shows to receive tax breaks. The absence of new series selected to participate was due in part to the large number of recurring series already receiving credits.
Part of the program is also geared specifically toward incentivizing TV productions to relocate to California. Killing It (NBCUniversal) and Rap Sh!t (HBO) moved their productions to the state this year to receive tax credits after The Flight Attendant (HBO) did the same in 2021.
Filming for TV reality series continues to rise, finishing 96.4 percent above the five year average, according to FilmLA. Prominent shows that shot locally include American Idol (ABC), Buried in the Back Yard (Oxygen), and LA Fire and Rescue (NBC).
The local film office similarly reported that shoot days for comedy series from April to June finished 61.8 percent ahead of the same period last year, although it’s more than 20 percent down compared to the five year average.
Halting a trend of an escalating slide in feature film production, shooting for the category posted a strong performance in the second-quarter. Filming for features generated 898 shoot days — a nine percent increase over the same period last year but still 16.4 percent below the five year average. Some projects that shot in L.A. included Barbie (Warner Bros.), Being Mortal (Searchlight Pictures) an Untitled Jonah Hill Project (Netflix), and the remake of White Men Can’t Jump (20th Century Studios).
According to FilmLA, shooting for commercials came in at 28.1 percent below the same period last year and 21.4 percent below the five year average.