Filming in Los Angeles Declining, New Report Says

Filming in Los Angeles Declining, New Report Says
Television cameramen film in a broadcast studio in this file photo. (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)
Jamie Joseph

There were few bright spots regarding the health of film production in Los Angeles after FilmLA, which provides on-location film permits in the region, recently released its latest data for 2022 regarding shoots for television, commercials, feature films, and an “other” catch-all category of various production types.

Los Angeles film production between 2021 and 2022. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)
Los Angeles film production between 2021 and 2022. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)

In general, 2022 fared poorly across the board compared to 2021 except for the “other” category, which includes still photography, student and short films, music and industrial videos, and documentaries, which were up by about 23 percent.

Commercial shoots declined the most, down by nearly 23 percent, followed by about 10 percent declines for both feature films and television, the latter being the sector’s largest category.

The report also shows all categories in 2022 were down regarding their five-year averages, with the exception of television production.

Most notably commercials and feature films both were down by 24 percent when averaging yearly stats from 2018 through 2022.

The end of the year in 2022 was equally bad.

For the fourth quarter of 2022, which makes up the months of October, November, and December, the industry saw declines compared to the same time in 2021 in every category ranging from down by 9 percent for the collective “other” category to commercial shoots, which were down by nearly 34 percent.

The latest data wasn’t a surprise for some.

According to David Michael Latt, co-founder of the independent film studio The Asylum, which produces the popular Sharknado film series—there’s “so much more incentive to not shoot in Los Angeles.”

The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles on Nov. 16, 2005. (David McNew/Getty Images)
The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles on Nov. 16, 2005. (David McNew/Getty Images)

He said it’s more cost-effective to shoot in other states with more competitive tax incentives.

“You have New Mexico and Arizona. ... Then Georgia has taken away so much from Los Angeles because it’s more cost-effective to shoot there,” Latt said. “Not that you pay people less, but you get money back from [those states] in a more significant way.”

California also has incentives, but they mostly benefit big shows and production companies that are already established there, such as Disney and Nickelodeon, he said.

California introduced its first film tax credit program in 2009 in an effort to keep production in the state.

In the most recent budget proposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, $330 million would again be set aside for such incentives each year starting in the 2025–26 fiscal year through the 2030–31 fiscal year.

The Epoch Times reached out to Newsom’s office for comment on FilmLA’s most recent statistics but didn’t hear back by press time.

However, not all news out of Hollywood has been bad this month.

In the recently released Otis Report on the Creative Economy—an annual study that looks at how the state’s creative industry contributes to the economy—the entertainment industry did well in terms of creating jobs and better than other creative sectors in recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, the number of people employed in making movies and videos in Los Angeles County dropped by 13 percent in 2020, but then went up by 19 percent the following year.

Jamie is a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times. In her free time, she enjoys reading nonfiction and thrillers, going to the beach, studying Christian theology, and writing poetry. You can always find Jamie writing breaking news with a cup of tea in hand.
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