On-location filming dropped 18 percent in the first quarter as the coronavirus outbreak brought productions to a standstill, according to figures releases Thursday by FilmL.A.
The Hollywood nonprofit that coordinates location film permits in Los Angeles, unincorporated Los Angeles County and other jurisdictions handled 7,252 on-location shoot days in January through March. That compares to 8,843 shoot days in the same period a year earlier.
Television shows filming on-location were particularly hard hit, with a decrease of 20.6 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago. The organization tallied 2,491 TV shoot days in the quarter, compared to 3,139 in the previous year.
Out of the television category, only reality television production went up during the quarter, increasing by 11.7 percent to 771 shoot days. Pilots, dramas, web-based programs and comedies all decreased in on-location filming. FilmL.A. attributed the rise in reality program shoots to the influx of streaming services that launched during the first quarter.
A shoot day is one crew’s permission to film at one or more locations during a 24-hour period. FilmL.A.’s data does not include activity on soundstages or studio backlots.
Feature films, commercials and other projects that include music videos, student and industrial films and still photo shoots, were all down as well in the quarter.
On-location filming started strong in January but then ran into a wall of voluntary cutbacks and progressively tightening public gathering limits by mid-March, FilmL.A. said in a release. The 1,091 projects filming locally in February dwindled to 644 projects by the time all filming stopped on March 20, it added.
“On that date, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health and other state and local authorities issued complementary ‘Safer at Home’ orders, which closed the region to on-location filming until further notice,” the group’s release said.
FilmL.A President Paul Audley said the organization joins with the rest of Los Angeles to prioritize the health and safety of the community during the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our concern extends also to the economic security of local families, including the nearly one in five Angelenos with ties to this business and the thousands of small businesses they support,” Audley said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all most closely and seriously affected – whatever the uniqueness of the circumstances.”