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L.A. Film and TV Production Stabilizes at Pre-Pandemic Levels

Los Angeles
(Image credit: FilmLA)

LOS ANGELES—New research from FilmLA shows that film and TV production in Q2 2022 fell by 5.8% from a year earlier in the Los Angeles region to 9,220 shooting days, but local production still surpassed pre-pandemic levels; finishing 6.8 percent ahead of Q2 2019 (with 8,632 shooting days) and 2.7 percent ahead of Q2 2018 (with 8,978 shooting days).

The slight decline came after three record breaking quarters as producers rushed to complete pandemic delayed projects. Local filmmakers achieved an all-time quarterly high of 10,780 shoot days in Q4 2021, moving on to set a new Q1 record of 9,832 shooting days earlier this year.

“We expected we would see production return to pre-pandemic levels sometime within the year, and now here we are,” observed FilmLA president Paul Audley. “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.”

The feature film category posted a strong performance for Q2, generating 898 shooting days. That is a 9% increase over the same period last year, but 16.4% below the category’s five-year average, FilmmLA reported. 

A total of 9 percent of feature production activity was directly tied to the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, overseen by the California Film Commission. 

Television continues to be a driving force in local production. Though down by 15.8% in Q2 from the prior year, the category generated 4,136 shooting days for a return that was 12.7% above its five year average. 

More than one in five shooting days (20.7 percent) in the television category came from projects that qualified for the California Film and Television Tax Credit.

The reality TV category also continued to generate impressive gains. It was up 6.7% in Q2 over the same period last year and 96.4% above the category’s five-year average. 

TV comedy shooting days were also up significantly by 61.8 percent (309 shoot days vs. 191 a year earlier), though down 20.7% compared to the five-year Q2 average. 

Commercials generated 1,110 shooting days in the second quarter, a considerable sum but 28.1% less that recorded in the prior year (1,544 shooting days), as well as 21.4% less than the five-year category average for Q2. Car manufacturers such as Acura, Ford, Kia, Lincoln, Nissan and Toyota shot commercials in the region last quarter, as did major retailers including Lowe’s and Home Depot.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.