L.A. Went From 1,091 Film Shoots in February to Zero in March
(Bloomberg) -- The shutdown of television and movie production in Los Angeles silenced more than 1,000 productions, and the city’s film office isn’t sure how the entertainment capital will recover from the impact.
After Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued stay-at-home orders on March 20 because of the coronavirus outbreak, 644 projects across the city were shut down, according to a report by FilmLA. At that time, about half the 1,091 shows, commercials and movies filming in Los Angeles in February had already halted or reduced staff because of the virus.
The closing is crippling the Los Angeles economy, where about 1 in 5 jobs is tied to the entertainment business. It also will affect what’s available to audiences. More than 40% of scripted television shows are shot in the city, and it’s still unclear when they’ll be able to resume production, leaving a gap in new content.
“With the shutdown poised to extend deep into the second quarter, FilmLA analysts predict that local shoot day losses are already unrecoverable for the year,” the report said.
Some productions have been able to move forward remotely. For example, late-night talk-show hosts are airing interviews from their homes using web conference tools. But scripted comedies and dramas are harder to replicate without a set.
Overall, on-location filming in Los Angeles is down more than 18% so far in 2020 and continues to fall, the report said.
The report said one bright spot in the first quarter of 2020 was in reality television, which is usually cheaper and easier to make than scripted TV. Reality-TV production increased 12% in the first quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. That may have been due to new streaming providers generating content to attract audiences, such as Quibi, which debuted on April 6.
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