Getting a Grip on Reality

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Since FilmL.A. was founded in 1995, we have regularly provided detailed information about the volume and type of permitted on-location filming coordinated by our office.  Our film production data, widely viewed as the best available benchmark of regional filming activity, has been used by countless researchers studying entertainment and its impact on the local economy.

In mid-July, we will publish the next installment of our quarterly production report.  But uniquely — and in a departure from past efforts — this report will be based on a revised counting methodology, adjusted after 14 years to help us provide a fresh and more rigorous analysis of film production.

This will not be first time that we have modified our permit tracking efforts.  In 2004, and again in 2008, FilmL.A. subdivided existing film production categories to help zero in on permitting activity for specific film genres.  For example, in 2004 we went from simply reporting on “television” to reporting on reality television, TV dramas, TV sitcoms, TV pilots and other specific categories.

The new tracking adjustment is significantly more involved than that, because it requires us to distinguish between the permit-pulling practices of producers by genre and treat differently the way their permits accrue permitted production days (PPD).

FilmL.A. has long defined one PPD as the permission granted to one crew to work at one location on one project during any given 24-hour period.  That definition will not change using the new counting methodology, but how we define a “location” will be made much more specific. Total reported PPD, particularly in certain categories such as reality television, is expected to decrease as a result.

We at FilmL.A. are always trying to refine and improve upon our internal processes, including the tools that we use to track on-location filming.  This change in methodology will allow us to better inform our municipal clients about filming in their areas, as well as aid those who depend on our data to make business and policy decisions.

Look for the next quarterly report to become available in a couple of weeks.

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