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L.A. Film Production Booms, Approaches Record Levels

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Film production in Greater Los Angeles surged during the third quarter of 2021, according to a new report by FilmLA. The increase in shooting marks the third strongest quarter in twenty-six years, with a total of 10,127 shoot days. The last time the region saw filming levels this high was in the fourth quarter of 2018, which boasted 10,359 shoot days.

Compared to last year which was still being impacted by the pandemic and shutdowns, total production rose 141.2 percent.

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“The biggest takeaway from this report is that the pace of local production continues to increase,” observed FilmLA President Paul Audley. “The late-pandemic recovery is uneven in some ways, but community receptiveness to filming is steady and the work opportunities are undeniably there.”

Looking at the major production categories tracked by FilmLA, the pace of feature film production quickened the most in Q3 of 2021, growing 33.5 percent over Q2. Among those productions were Paramount Pictures’ “Wild Chickens,” New Line Features’ “House Party 2,” an untitled Jonah Hill project, “Me Time” starring Mark Walhberg and “Purple Hearts” for Netflix.

Television production was also robust. The sector posted the strongest Q3 gains 22.1 percent above the Q3 pre-COVID average. Despite the surge, both the feature film and other categories, however, fell short of their pre-COVID average, highlighting the still-uneven nature of the industry’s local recovery.

Closing with a look at the sub-categories of television, reality TV productions bested its pre-COVID average by 146.3% last quarter with 2,825 shoot days, as did TV pilots (growing 56.7 percent to 132 shoot days). Television dramas also saw a growth of 9%, while TV comedies were on the downward slope, falling by 44.9% to 338 shoot days.

However, TV commercials remained flat quarter over quarter. Last year’s unusual circumstances continue to require FilmLA analysts to look for new ways to understand present-day filming levels. Accordingly, for the first time, FilmLA is reporting a new “pre-COVID” average, consisting of a rolling quarterly analysis spanning the years 2016-2019.

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