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HomeIndustry SectorFilmFilmLA Reports 25% Decline in Film Permits for December 2020

FilmLA Reports 25% Decline in Film Permits for December 2020



FilmLA, the partner film office for the City and County of Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions, issued its seventh update about regional filming activity since the reopening of L.A. County to on-location filming last June. It reports having processed approximately 4,213 film permit applications spanning 2,985 unique projects in that time.

Because December was a shortened month due to the holiday break, film permit applications took a steep decline, dropping 24.9 percent from November levels to 613 permits in December, the second straight month that permit requests dropped. In November, monthly activity slipped 7.6 percent from October levels to 813 permits. This activity decline started early and deepened throughout December.

The week before Christmas, FilmLA reports issuing 143 permits, but then the week of the holiday (12/14-12/20), it only issued 58 film permits, and then 50 the following week of New Year’s (12/28 – 1/3).  With only 21 working days last moth, FilmLA released an average of just 29 film permits per day—the lowest daily output since last August.

While the holiday break could account for some of these drops, another factor of the drop in production might be due to voluntary industry efforts to stop the COVID-19 surge.

Click photo for larger version
Click photo for larger version

Television production made up 27 percent of December permits with only a handful of TV series starting to shoot in December, including CBSGhosts, HBO‘s Insecure, Tacoma FD (HBO Max), The L Word: Generation Q (Showtime), and The 3 of Us (CBS).

Feature film production comprised 6 percent of permits for December for 26 feature films, largely independents, including Monstrous, Slayers and This Land.

Some of the reality TV shows that were shooting in the area include Dog Impossible (NatGeo), Jay Leno’s Garage (NBC), Teen Mom OG (CBS All Access), and Season 5 of People Magazine Investigates (Investigation Discovery).

That leaves 28 percent for commercial production permits with spots for products, including Haagen Dazs, Honda, Mountain Dew, and retailers/services such as Carl’s Jr., Lowe’s and Progressive.

If you’ve been reading Below the Line‘s news updates regularly, you’ll already know that on December 24, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urged the film industry to consider pausing production for a few weeks during the COVID-19 surge. The normal two-week holiday hiatus was extended in order to keep cast, crew and communities safe with CBS Studios, Warner Bros. TV, Universal Television, Disney Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television  all pausing production until at least next week. SAG-AFTRA and the Producers Guild further recommended that on-set commercial production be temporarily paused in Southern California.

This is despite film production in L.A. County remaining permissible under stiff health protocols and regulations mandated by the government and with unions. This includes routine employee COVID testing and screening, zone-based set access and proper sanitation.

On the situation, Film LA President Paul Audley says, “The industry has been extraordinarily responsible throughout the time of the pandemic, as demonstrated by their recent actions during the rise in cases of COVID-19 and embrace of strict safety protocols.”

FilmLA’s COVID-19 Resource Center lists the areas served by FilmLA and their current filming availability. This page also includes links to resources from film industry organizations and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, including mandatory Health Orders that apply to filming on location.

We’re also passing on the reminder that the FilmLA offices will be closed on Monday, January 8, to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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