After years of decline and a few small rises, production is strongly up in LA according to FilmLA. In its 1st Quarter report, the non-profit permitting group says overall production in LA County rose by 17.6% over the 1st Quarter of 2012. FilmLA’s data comes from filming permits for shooting on streets, non-certified sound stages and in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The organization had Q1 2013 with 13,361 permitted production days over 11,360 in the same period in 2012. Feature production in LA was up the most of all the categories with a 25.5% rise over Q1 2012. What is especially noteworthy of that upward turn is that the quarter is usually a slower time for feature production in LA so that big a rise could be a strong indicator of the beginning of a significant change. The previously downward turning on-location Television production was also up double digits over last year. The category rose 19.0% in Q1 2013 over 1Q 2012. Of all the Television subcategories, TV Pilots were up the most with a 37.3% rise over last year for 460 PPD. With the first quarter of the year typically being when most pilots are made, the rise is significant. The overall rise in TV production is the best Q1 TV production has had in six years, according to FilmLA.
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor
Few categories offer as much confusion in Oscar pools as best sound editing and best sound mixing. Unlike the more esoteric categories where few have seen the nominated films, most of the nominees for these categories often overlap and have worked on blockbuster movies.
The short description of the differences goes like this: Sound editors assemble all the sound elements except music and edit it into a soundtrack that is synchronized to the images on screen. That includes assembling everything from dialogue tracks recorded on location to sound effects, Foley and ADR, or additional dialogue recording. The mixer then takes the elements of the edited soundtrack and the music and adjusts the volume levels and 3D placement in the theatrical environment.
The longer description is much more complicated.
“There is a lot more of a overlap of duties as it were for the two jobs, but it’s totally a collaboration from beginning to end”, says Philip Stockton, nominated along with Eugene Gearty for the best sound-editing Oscar for Life Of Pi.
Asking some of this …
2012 was a rollercoaster of a year for production in Los Angeles County, said FilmLA today. In its end of year report, the non-profit permitting group noted that while overall on-location production in LA County rose a meager 1.7% from 2011, TV Drama fell a harsh 20% from the year before. FilmLA’s data comes from filming permits for shooting on streets, non-certified sound stages and in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. With the likes of the upcoming LA-set Gangster Squad actually filming in LA, 2012 Feature production saw a slight 3.7% rise over 2011 with 5,892 PPD as compared to the 5,682 of the year before. That is actually the best year since 2008 before the state passed the California Film & TV Tax Credit Program, which now hands out up to $100 million a year in a lottery system. On the flipside, the drop in Drama-permitted days and the 11.8% slide in the TV Reality category pulled overall TV production in the region down 3.4% with 16,762 permitted days in 2012 compared to the 17,349 PPD in 2011. However, TV Sitcom filming was up 52.9% with 2,048 PPD compared to 2011’s 1,339 PPD. TV Pilots were up 2.2% from 2011. Commercials rose 14.1% in 2012 over the year before.
The entertainment industry remains one of the largest sectors in the local economy, employing 247,000 people and generating $47 billion in economic output in 2011, according to a report released today by the LA County Economic Development Department. But there are disturbing trends. The film and TV biz has lost 16,100 jobs in LA County since 2004, much of that attributed to runaway production, according to the report. During the same 2004-2011 period, New York added 14,100 jobs while Georgia saw an increase of nearly 800 jobs. And Louisiana added over 2,200 jobs since implementing its own tax credit program in 2002. Last year, 102,100 entertainment industry jobs were generated in LA County, down 14% from its peak of 118,200 jobs in 2004. On-location filming in LA has plunged by 60 percent over the past 15 years, the report noted. In 2005, 82% of all new television pilots were shot in Los Angeles County. By 2011 that figure had sunk to 51%. The report did credit the state Legislature’s decision to extend the Film and Television Tax Credit Program for two more years, noting it has been responsible for an estimated $3.8 billion in economic output. The average annual wage in the entertainment industry was $117,000 in 2011, more than twice the average of $53,000 for all private-sector industries. The industry generates $120 billion annually in output and $6 billion in state and local taxes, according to the LAEDC.
The non-profit permitting group said today that overall on-location production in LA County slipped 3.9% from the same quarter last year. A big part of that fall is from on-location feature film production dipping 21.1% for the quarter. That’s in stark contrast to the rise film production had during 2012’s first and second quarters. Those periods saw features up 16% and 9%, respectively. While features fell, two categories jumped up significantly: The relatively new category of webisodes was up 148% over the same period last year. Now making up 9% of annual TV production in LA, webisodes saw 423 permitted production days for the quarter. TV sitcoms, which make up around 11% of TV production, were also up, rising 47.6% from the same quarter last year to 608 permitted days.
TNT launched its first reality competition series The Great Escape to modest ratings results this summer. But the cable network is staying in the space with a green light to The Hero (working title), a new reality-competition series starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The project, which has received an eight-episode order for a premiere next summer, comes from Ben Silverman’s Electus and its 5×5 Media. Johnson will executive-produce with his producing partner, Dany Garcia.
According to TNT, The Hero will bring 10 ordinary people together in a house and then assign them various missions that will test their brains, their brawn and even their morality. The show will challenge the competitors to prove they’ve got what it takes to be heroes, pushing them to the limits to see what they are willing (and able) to overcome, undergo or sacrifice for the sake of their fellow contestants. Johnson will serve as mentor and motivator. In the end, one player will be declared a true hero. “The Hero speaks to everything I believe in when it comes to challenging ourselves, to becoming better people every day and to making the right choices while growing from the wrong ones,” Johnson said.
California’s lack of strong tax incentives is killing TV production in Los Angeles said FilmL.A. today. “For many years, we’ve relied on Television to backfill the hole left by the flight of feature film production from the L.A. region. Television has been our bread and butter, but with Sacramento’s inaction to stem our losses, other states and countries are eating off our plate,” claims the non-profit permitting group’s president Paul Audley. The statement came as the organization released a mixed second quarter report Tuesday. It also comes less than a week after the $100 million annual state incentive inched its way towards a two year extension in the Legislature. Off lot television production days in Los Angeles were down 15.4% this quarter, FilmL.A found. Last quarter the drop was 9%. The biggest drop was among Drama, which was down 39.2% from last year to 581 days, and Reality, which fell 16.8% from the same quarter last year to 1,461 days. At the same time the organization also says that production for Sitcoms was up 35.6% and TV pilots were up 36.8% to 253 days. The latter in no small part thanks to a late start to pilot season this year. Features were also actually up 9.1% for the quarter and commercials were up an impressive 28.1%. Of course, as indicative as those numbers appear, they have to be put into context. FilmL.A. does not …
An MPAA-commissioned study released by Ernest & Young today concludes that state film incentive programs are good for local economies – and not just if you work in the business. “The economic benefits to residents extend beyond the production activities themselves and include increased activity by suppliers to the film industry and increased consumer spending from higher incomes,” says Robert Cline, E&Y’s National Director of State and Local Tax Policy Economics and co-author of the Evaluating the Effectiveness of State Film Tax Credit Programs study. Thirty-seven states currently have film credit programs. The programs, with Louisiana, Illinois, Florida and Georgia among the most utilized by studios in recent years, draw from an estimated $1.2 billion in tax dollars annually nationwide. While providing few hard numbers, the E&Y report notes that some of the long term benefits a state with a film incentive program can enjoy are increased tourism, if the location ‘plays itself’ in productions, infrastructure development and seasoned local crews which can lead to increased tax revenues, spending and investment.
Syfy unveiled a record 28 scripted and reality development projects during its upfront presentation today as part of a slate that includes its most original primetime hours ever. (We already told you about the network’s reality plans.) Said Mark Stern, President Original Content, Syfy, and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions: “Over its 20-year history, Syfy has always pushed the boundaries of our genre and the entertainment experience. This new crop of innovative, thought-provoking, emotionally-charged programming will propel us even farther as we imagine all the greater possibilities ahead for the powerful Syfy brand.” Among the crop talked up at the American History Museum presentation is Defiance, a new scripted series written/executive produced by Rockne S. O’Bannon, Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor and produced by Universal Cable Prods. Set to premiere in 2013, it was developed concurrently with an online video game; production on the pilot is set to begin this month in Toronto. Julie Benz and Grant Bowler star in the story set on a future Earth where humans and aliens live together on a planet ravaged by decades of war and transformed by alien terra-forming machines. Here’s Syfy’s full slate:
On-location shooting in Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions grew 4.2% year-over-year in 2011, permit coordinator FilmL.A. announced today. The bump came despite what the nonprofit organization called a “disconcerting trend” in TV production: a 2.7% annual drop in the normally reliable sector, including 10.6% during the fourth quarter, when the fall season began with 10 fewer one-hour dramas shooting around town. Most of those were new series headed for New York, where the city is hosting a record number of primetime series (23) owing to a big push to promote stronger state and city tax incentives. Officials knew the drop was coming: the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program doesn’t include incentives for new series, and eight of 10 new dramas that shot pilots in NY were picked up this season (though two of those, NBC’s now-canceled Prime Suspect and the CW’s Ringer, eventually moved to LA), compared with two out of 11 shot here. Overall in LA TV production in 2011, drama was down 11.5% and sitcoms fell 12.8%, though pilots were up 6.1% and reality TV was up a modest 1.8%.
On the feature side, LA production increased 5.7% compared with 2010, with projects that qualified for the tax credit accounting for 11.5% of that total. Big shoots like Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises and Oliver Stone’s Savages also helped the region overcome a 26.4% drop in fourth-quarter production days. Commercials shoots, meanwhile, were up 4.4% …
Fans of FX’s Sons of Anarchy who are also subscribers to DirecTV made crystal clear in Deadline comments their feelings about the satcaster threatening to drop FX and other Fox programming November 1 if the two sides failed to reach an agreement on increased carriage fees. Of course they came together in the nick of time on Halloween. Not only is the show important to FX fans, it’s good for L.A. Set in the ficticious Bay Area burg of Charming, SOA is shot all over Los Angeles County — “from Simi Valley to the arts district in downtown Los Angeles” — the LATimes noted in an update on location shooting around the city. Employing 150 crew members, the show’s $2 million-$2.5 million per episode budget adds up to a healthy sum. With location shoots for TV dramas down 20% in the third quarter compared to last year — and production shifting to New York, North Carolina and elsewhere – Sons of Anarchy remains a healthy staple of L.A.’s production economy thanks to FX’s recent renewal for a fifth season of 13 episodes.
Location filming in Los Angeles was down 15% last week compared with the same time last year, the Los Angeles Times reported. FilmLA attributed the biggest chunk in the drop to a 44% decline in feature film production. Commercial shoots were down 11% and TV production shot on location was down 7%. Data is based on filming permits for shooting on streets, non-certified sound stages and in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
On-location filming in Los Angeles increased by 15.4% year-over-year during the third quarter, helped in part by eight feature film shoots in the region that were supported by the California Film & Television Tax Credit. The films — which include Warner Bros’ Ben Affleck-directed Argo and period L.A. mob pic Gangster Squad, as well as Screen Gems’ Steve Harvey book adaptation Think Like A Man — certainly help the industry’s case when it comes to touting the value of the state tax credit, an annual $100 million program that recently was renewed for one year rather than a hoped-for five years after it was hacked back by the state Senate in committee. Overall, since its 2009 launch the program has brought $3.8B in economic output and supported 20,040 jobs — and elevates quarterly on-location production numbers like the ones released today by FilmL.A.
Also during the third quarter, non-tax-credit films like Oliver Stone’s Savages contributed to the feature production uptick — the sector grew 49.9% compared with last year. TV production grew 5.8% in the quarter but wasn’t helped by a slide in drama as Los Angeles lost 10 one-hour series this season. “Unfortunately, our summer prediction of diminished third quarter TV drama production was spot-on,” FilmL.A. president Paul Audley said. “While the California state incentive brought six television dramas to Los Angeles this quarter, we’ve seen other jurisdictions capture an unusually high number of these economically beneficial projects.”
The battle over tax breaks for California film and TV production intensified today as scaled-back, pared-down legislation moved to the state Senate for final consideration. An extension of California’s showbiz incentive program (Assembly Bill 1069) was cut down from 5 years to just one year by the state Senate Appropriations Committee. The Assembly in May passed a version that would have extended the $100M per-year credit program through 2014. That time element could still be adjusted in the Senate, but the cutback is indicative of the scrutiny expenditures of any sort are receiving as the Legislature struggles with the state’s $9B budget shortfall.
Critics say California has far more crucial spending priorities than handouts to a wealthy industry at taxpayer expense and want to eliminate the tax breaks altogether. Industry advocates say the state needs the incentives to compete with other states offering similar or greater tax breaks to film/TV producers. They point to a study released in June by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp, which said the program has brought $3.8B in economic output and supported 20,040 jobs since its inception in 2009.
On-location filming in Los Angeles grew 1.1% during the second quarter compared with last year, held down in part by a sharp drop in commercials production following a 21-month surge in the category. FilmLA said in its report that TV production days dipped slightly overall in the City of Los Angeles, the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County and other local jurisdictions, led by losses in the sitcom and reality subcategories. Feature production grew 4%, though LA saw less impact from the California Film & Television Tax Credit program; only five projects receiving credits shot during the quarter, compared with 16 projects a year ago that accounted for 27% of feature production. “We expect to see Features get a boost as a new crop of incentivized projects hits the streets,” FilmLA president Paul Audley said. “Unfortunately, the momentum we carried in television may be gone. A lot of the new shows you’ll see this fall won’t be filming in California. As a result, we’re expecting a lackluster second half of the year for TV.”
UPDATED: New York killed it this pilot season. Not only did the Big Apple go from zero drama pilots being filmed there last year to nine following the August 2010 vote to extend and expand the state’s Film Production Tax Credit Program, it also attracted some of the strongest pilots. Out of the nine hourlong pilots filmed in New York, eight — NBC’s Smash and Prime Suspect, CBS’ Person of Interest, Unforgettable (formerly Rememberer), A Gifted Man (formerly Untitled Susannah Grant), The 2-2 (formerly Rookies) and Ringer and ABC’s Pan Am — went to series, with Ringer moving to CW. Of the 11 shot in Los Angeles, only two, NBC’s Awake (formerly REM) and ABC’s Scandal, were picked up to series. However, when the dust settled after the upfronts, six newly picked up drama series moved production to Los Angeles, including Ringer and Prime Suspect, giving LA a 8-to-6 edge over New York.
While California’s TV tax credit does not apply to new broadcast series (it does to broadcast series filming elsewhere that want to move to LA, which triggered the upcoming relocation of ABC’s Body of Proof from Providence to LA), uncertainty over the future of such credits in other states, including Texas, probably played a part in some moves to LA, including that of ABC’s Good Christian Belles, whose pilot was shot in Dallas. In all, six new series will film in LA after shooting their pilots elsewhere: GCB, ABC’s Revenge and CW’s Hart of Dixie (both moving from North Carolina, where the pilots were filmed), Fox’s Bones spinoff The Finder (from Miami) and Prime Suspect and Ringer (from New York). The reasons for the moves vary from project to project. Both The Finder and Bones are created/exec produced and run by Hart Hanson. To avoid having Hanson shuttling cross-country between LA, where Bones is produced, and Miami, filming of The Finder was brought to Hollywood, giving Hanson better oversight of both shows. Still, because The Finder is set in Miami and the city’s look is an important part of the show, the series’ crew plans several trips to Florida a year, with one day of production on each episode slated to take place in Miami.
Shooting-permit organization FilmL.A. said today that on-location filming in all production categories increased 4.7% during the first quarter of 2011, the fifth consecutive quarter of gains in the region that includes the City of Los Angeles, parts of unincorporated Los Angeles County and other local jurisdictions. Still, feature film shoots declined 5.3% and TV fell 3.7%, as the bulk of overall gains in production days came from smaller projects like music videos, industrial videos and student films (up 21.5%) and commercials (up 2.4%). “The latest data suggest a softness in the industry, but not a full loss of momentum,” FilmL.A. chair Ed Duffy said. “Pilot production is up, and we have a couple big features in production, so we’re optimistic about a better set of numbers come July.”
Starz’s new costume drama Camelot will debut on April 1st and will air in the Friday 10 PM time slot once occupied by Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The 10-episode retelling of the classic medieval tale of King Arthur stars Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, and Eva Green as the darkly powerful Morgan. Shot on-location in Ireland, Camelot is an Irish-Canadian co-production from Octagon and Take 5 Prods., and executive produced along with Ecosse Films and GK-tv.
In typical “let them eat cake” fashion, most of the Hollywood CEOs arriving in Washington DC did so by private jets a day before Earth Day. Underway today is the Motion Picture Association Of America’s dog-and-pony show called the Business of Show Business, a day-long symposium focusing on “American Creativity at Work” featuring panels and speakers to supposedly highlight the impact of movie and television production and distribution on the U.S. economy. Participants include a mix of Congressmen, Industry suits, and film commission reps for panel discussions covering like the economic benefits of on-location production, the diversity of jobs off-camera, and the latest technological developments in moviemaking, including a 3D presentation.
The symposium was supposed to “spotlight the role of American workers in the motion picture and television industries” — but then that was soft-peddled in the propaganda put out by the MPAA. Because the studios only know how to exploit showbiz workers and shut down creativity while they act as a cartel to bully the Guilds in the entertainment industry. They should be embarrassed to show their faces at a mockery like this — but they’re not.
Instead, the moguls are using this confab as an opportunity for face time with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Henry Waxman and John Conyers, and other congressional committee heads to talk about piracy and employment. They’ll board a bus for the meetings on Capitol Hill. But the Hollywood CEOs won’t be addressing the symposium directly. Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, will introduce Dwayne “The Rock” …