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Los Angeles movie filming slumps

Los AngelesLocation filming for movies in Los Angeles fell by 35% in the first three months of this year, see-sawing from an increase of nearly 25% at the end of 2016.

Web-based content – typically short and low-budget – was the only type of filmed content to see an increase in location filming days in the California city in the first quarter.

“Feature production levels are proving highly cyclical and difficult to evaluate on a quarter-by-quarter basis,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmLA. “Last year local feature production hit a seven-year high – so trendspotting in this segment requires a deeper dive.”

The organisation said it would be looking into a lack of available sound stages in Los Angeles as a possible contributing factor behind the reduced production figures.

California now has $330m a year in tax credits to support film and TV productions, but only a fraction of those that apply for it are actually approved. 

Less than a quarter of feature films shot in Los Angeles in the first quarter had incentive support, with the figure only marginally higher for TV dramas.

Nonetheless, Los Angeles’ stated goal of convincing more TV producers to relocate their shows to California is working, with dramas like Lucifer, Legion and The OA opting to move to the US west coast in exchange for tax credit support.

Netflix has announced it plans to brush aside concerns about California’s incentive – which is still uncompetitive for big-budget features – and shoot more of its original content in California in order to enable crews to stay at home. The move could help boost Los Angeles’ production figures.  

For more on filming in California see our production guide.