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Boost for Los Angeles TV but movie filming falls

Location filming for TV drama in Los Angeles rose in 2015 after California’s production tax credit was boosted, but in contrast movie work declined.

Television drama production days went up by nearly 20% on 2014 figures, although pilot filming declined by 14%. Feature film location shoots in the city fell by just over 4% through the course of the year. 

“Television’s importance to Greater Los Angeles can’t be overstated,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, which acts as a film office for Los Angeles. “Scripted television provides long-term job opportunities and high economic value, so these increases should be celebrated.”
California’s filming tax credit was given a major long-term cash injection last year. The money is divided into strict sub-categories that prioritise high-end TV production and established television shows that switch locations to California.

A TV series adaptation of Westworld (pictured), based on the 1973 sci-fi movie of the same name, is one of California’s biggest current productions. Producers recently announced the show is on a filming hiatus to allow for scripts to be finished for the last few episodes but the indications are the delay won’t impact the drama’s initial approval for $12m in tax credits.  

American cities like New Orleans, New York and Atlanta will remain more popular US filming locations for feature production, at least in the short-term. Vancouver and Toronto are also major production centres for US features.

Internationally, Los Angeles still faces serious competition from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. 

For more on filming in California see our production guide.

Image: John P Johnson/HBO