Still Photo Permits Drive Apparent Production Increase in Los Angeles

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FilmL.A.’s first quarter production report for 2013 contained an encouraging surprise — a 17.6 percent increase in overall production compared to the same period the previous year.

But, as they often can, short-term increases in overall production mask important truths.  Year-over-year analyses, while informative, can also diminish awareness of long-term trends.

Feature production levels, for example, were up almost 26 percent last quarter.  Nonetheless, according to annual data for 2012, local feature production is trailing 58 percentage points behind its 1996 peak.

Even more surprising, FilmL.A.’s April report revealed that nearly 44 percent of last quarter’s overall production growth came from still photography permits.

Still photography shoots, which involve far fewer working crew members and possibly no cast, offer a substantially smaller economic impact than a day of television, commercial or feature production.

“Not all production days are the same,” noted Paul Audley, FilmL.A.’s President. “While we appreciate the work of L.A. area photographers, still photography as a category is considered ‘low-yield’ from an economic standpoint.”

Still photo shoots are included in FilmL.A.’s quarterly updates as a part of the “Other” production category, which also includes student films, music videos, documentaries, industrial films and other forms of miscellaneous production.

FilmL.A.’s reports include all commercial filming performed in its jurisdiction outside the confines of a certified soundstage or studio back lot.

FilmL.A.’s next production update, focused on the 2012/2013 television pilot development cycle, will be released the third week of June.  Visit our website, join our mailing list, and sign up to receive research updates to claim your copy.

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