They’re not quite ready to declare the production state of emergency in the City of Angels over, but today even the notorious pessimistic FilmLA saw things looking up – especially in the TV categories. A Q2 2014 report released by the nonprofit permitting group this morning said total on-location television production in LA County roared up 33.7% over the same quarter last year to 5,761 PPD. The report attributes the “ unseasonably strong” results to shifting production schedules as broadcasters get episode of shows like the upcoming TNT series, Legends in shape for summer airing. The news was nowhere near as good today when it came to feature film production in L.A. County this quarter compared to Q2 2013 but minimal ground was lost, which is a victory unto itself as the region as been hit so hard by runaway production in recent years. Quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year, Q2 2014 dipped 5.3% from Q2 2013 to 1,665 PPD. That reasonably steady result gets a bit sour when you look at Q1 2014. That quarter saw a 24.2% rise compared to the year before for features. However, this quarter, both features and TV production exceed their respective 5-year quarterly average with the former up a mere 0.1% while the latter rocketed up 34.0%.
Some tidbits, none that earth-shattering, have trailed out of the Star Wars production, as they’ve scheduled a two-week break in August and added two newbies to the cast. The Lucasfilm/Disney production of Star Wars Episode VII picked the two actors after an open casting call across 11 U.S. and U.K. cities that garnered (as you can imagine) almost 70,000 applicants. The two-week hiatus in August was called as a result of schedule adjustments after star Harrison Ford broke his ankle last month. We’re told that Ford, who is undergoing physical therapy for the next few weeks, has been recovering well and is expecting to return to the set soon.
After wrapping on-location filming in Abu Dhabi in May, principal photography continues at Pinewood Studios in London. LucasFilm said that the production remains on schedule, even with the hiatus, and should wrap in the fall in time for the Dec. 18, 2015 release.
It isn’t the golden days of the 1990s, but FilmLA. reports today that feature film production is on the rise in Los Angeles while TV production slipped from last year. A Q1 2014 report released today by the nonprofit permitting group said on-location feature production in LA County jumped 24.2% over Q1 2013 and that the category had a big leap of 39.4% over its five-year quarterly average. Despite the small number of tentpole pics made in California and the lure of hefty incentives in other states like Louisiana and NY as well as Canada and the UK, the latest results build on similar advances in past quarters and shows increasing traction from the all-time lows of 2009.
It is no coincidence that 2009 was also the same year California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was first introduced. With overall production steady with Q1 2013 and legislation presently moving ahead in Sacramento to expand and evolve the program, FilmLA today praised California’s incentives as helping to stem the tsunami of exiting production. “This quarter’s report hints at what would be possible if California were to truly step up and compete for new film projects and jobs,” said the organization’s President Paul Audley in a statement. “Just imagine where we could be five years from now if current efforts to expand the state’s incentive program are successful.”
The debut season of NBC‘s Chicago PD isn’t just going to see characters crossover with parent series Chicago Fire. It will also feature a Chicago-NY crossover with the network’s crime drama juggernaut Law & Order franchise – and that’s just the beginning, exec producer Dick Wolf teased today at TCA. The new police-focused series debuted earlier this month to OK ratings, focusing on Chicago Fire character Detective Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and a new cast of cops fighting crime in the Windy City. Overlap with Fire began with episode 1. “[David] Eigenberg was there with Pouch the dog,” Wolf noted, adding that storylines between the two Chicago dramas will arc “over a couple of episodes” with some regularity. PD star Sophia Bush revealed that she’s heading to New York this week to film a scene with Law & Order: SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay. Last fall it was reported that a PD/SVU crossover would air in February after the Sochi Olympics in which the New York unit comes to Chicago in pursuit of an interstate perp. “There is going to be a major crossover at the end of the season, a story that is so big it involves everybody,” Wolf teased.
The planned multi-series crossovers could pave the way for more integration within the Chicago Fire/Chicago PD/SVU TV universe.
The CW came to TCA this morning to announce it had bought a barbershop competition series hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, a magician reality series hosted by Penn & Teller, and a four-hour event series about the Holy Grail.
Barber Battle visits different barbershops across the country in each of its 10 episodes. The most talented barbers will compete to showcase their artistry — from portraits to landmarks to ballparks — on someone’s head. Judges, locations and contestants will be announced later. Cedric exec produces along with Mark Efman (Charlemagne & Friends, A&E Biographies).
On each of the nine episodes of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, aspiring magicians are invited to perform their best trick. Anyone who succeeds in fooling Penn & Teller wins the right to perform with them at their show at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A live studio audience and viewers watch along with Penn & Teller as they try to figure out the secrets. Penn & Teller see the trick only once and have to try to work it out immediately. British television and radio personality Jonathan Ross (Friday Night With Jonathan Ross) serves as host. Penn & Teller: Fool Us is created and produced by 117 Productions and September Films (part of DCD Media) for ITV, with executive producers Peter Adam Golden and Andrew Golder, David Green and Peter Davey.
Think Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s going to sign this legislation? Hint: He co-authored it. The LA City Council voted unanimously today to approve the final version of a measure aimed at luring more TV pilots to the city. It will waive municipal fees on pilot production, continuing Garcetti’s pro-filming stance that is catnip to his constituency. The move comes week after FilmLA reported that Los Angeles saw more on-location filming for a third consecutive quarter. But attracting more pilots has been a priority for the city, following the June release of FilmLA’s latest TV Pilot Production Report. It noted that, while production was up in terms of dollars spent and filming days, LA has been losing market share — down to 52%, off nearly double digits from 2012. Today’s move by the City Council follows its approval of an unpolished version of the pilot-production fee-waiver measure in February.
It isn’t the halcyon days of the mid-1990s, but production in Los Angeles has had a good 2013 so far. For the third quarter in a row, on-location filming is up compared with 2012, FilmL.A. said today. There was a 9.5% increase over the same July to September period last year according to a third quarter report the non-profit permitting group released Tuesday. That translates into 11,792 permitted production days compared to 10,773 in Q3 2012. Not that FilmL.A. is opening the champagne. “The small incremental increases are a good sign, but they do not represent a true recovery. We are not seeing a return of the high economic value productions to Los Angeles. Instead, we are seeing an increase in new media, like direct-to-web production, and very low budget films,” FilmL.A. president Paul Audley told me today. Low-budget film or not, Feature production in L.A. County and nearby regions saw the biggest bounce among the categories that FilmL.A. tracks. The category had a 19.5% jump (1,959 PPD) over Q3 2012. Perhaps more telling in this era of runaway production is that Feature production in Southern California beat its 5-year quarterly average by 14.6%. Now that’s still a steep fall from the record-setting 13,980 total PPD of 1996 and before states like Georgia and Louisiana ramped up alluring tax incentives programs to attract production.
BREAKING… The former AMPAS President today was appointed to the new LA Film Czar post by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The announcement of Tom Sherak‘s immediate appointment to the $1 a year position comes close to the 100 day deadline Garcetti gave himself to find someone to lead the effort to halt runaway production and work with the industry soon after being sworn into office in late June. “Tom will lead our campaign for production incentives in Sacramento and is empowered to work across city departments to make L.A. the best possible location for production,” the LA Mayor said in a statement Thursday. The appointment of the former Academy chief and Fox exec comes just hours after Garcetti told delegates at SAG-AFTRA’s national convention that he intended “to make sure we bring production back to LA” at a reception on Wednesday night. “The entertainment industry has a true champion in Mayor Garcetti, and I’m honored to work with him to make sure L.A. is always the entertainment capital of the world,” said Sherak today of the SAG-AFTRA card-carry politician. Having said that, Sherak, who was AMPAS President from 2009 to 2012, will have an uphill battle with getting more money or tax credits out of Sacramento for LA. Gov. Jerry Brown has shown little appetite for increasing the state’s $100 million annual TV/Film tax credit program since signing the latest two-year extension on it back in the summer of 2012. …
Things are looking up a bit production-wise in LA County says FilmLA. On-location production rose 8.6% over the same period last year said the non-profit permitting group in a second quarter report released Tuesday. While features production inched up just half of a percentage from last year, the biggest bump was in the TV category which rose 26.6% from 2Q 2012 to 4,310 PPD. “Television is the really the growth area this quarter. In the case of TV Dramas, it’s just getting us back to where we were before the disaster that was 2012. We’re also seeing growth in new areas, like Web TV. We’re happy to have these new projects here, but we recognize that the job and spending impacts aren’t the same,” FilmLA President Paul Audley told me today. On his inaugural address upon being sworn into office on June 30, new LA Mayor Eric Garcetti pledged to curb runaway productions taking work out of LA and appoint a Film Czar to coordinate the film industry’s relationship with the city. Back in February, LA CIty Council unanimously passed a measures to eliminating fees that TV pilots pay to film in the city and waive similar fees for the first year for any LA-filmed pilot that is picked up to series. Garcetti first introduced the measures back in 2012.
Overall, FilmLA’s report estimates that there were 12,173 PPD in the second quarter of 2013 as compared to 11,209 PPD during …
Pilot production in LA is up for the 2012-2013 season, but the region’s market share hit near record lows, according to a report released today by FilmLA. Additionally, the non-profit permitting group says that California’s $100 million a year Film & TV Tax Credit program has only stopped “a tiny amount of runaway production.” In its wide-ranging ninth annual TV Pilot Production Report, FilmLA mixes a lot of the good news with the bad. The good news is that $277.8 million was spent in the region during pilot season, up from the $262 million paid out last year. Production days were up 40% from the last pilot production cycle of the comparable January 1-June 10 period last year. And the group says that 96 of the 186 broadcast and cable pilots produced during the cycle were made in LA. “By one measure, this is the second largest annual tally in Los Angeles’ history, totaling four projects more than the prior cycle and just six fewer than L.A. handled during its peak year of ’04/’05. Indeed, the Los Angeles region saw a large increase in the amount of on-location pilot filming,” says the report.
The bad news is that only 52% of the pilots that were produced this year were made in Los Angeles. While not the all-time low of 51% from 2011, the results are down almost double digits from the 61% of last year and way down from the 82% peak hit in 2007. Just 22% of drama pilots were shot in LA, with many moving across the county or to Canada. “After L.A., the top four competitors for pilot production in ’12/’13 were New York (19 pilots), Vancouver (15 pilots), Atlanta (9 pilots) and Toronto (6 pilots). Trailing the top four were New Orleans and Chicago, which each hosted five pilots,” today’s report notes.
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: