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TV Bulk of Studio Work

Hollywood may be closely associated with feature film production, but television series accounted for the vast majority of filming on soundstages and studio backlots in 2018, according to a study released Wednesday by FilmL.A. The study marks the second time FilmL.A. has analyzed production activity on soundstages and backlots. For years, it has produced quarterly reports on on-location television and film production. “On location” refers usually to outdoor work. The first study was released in early 2017 and included figures from 2016. Since that report, 2018 is the first complete year for which FilmL.A. has all the data from its studio partners, said Philip Sokoloski, a spokesman for the organization. “Collection of 2019 sound stage records and new (studio) partner recruitment is ongoing,” Sokoloski said. “It takes awhile for partners to review their books and turn in the forms, but we think we’ll be able to publish another update (for 2019) this fall.” The Hollywood nonprofit that coordinates on-location filming permits in Los Angeles, unincorporated L.A. County and other jurisdictions reported that during 2018, one-hour series accounted for 7,459 shoot days on soundstages and backlots, half-hour series for 4,327 shoot days and talk TV shows for 1,128 days. Those figures are well up from 2016 when there were 4,983 shoots days on soundstages and backlots for one-hour series, 3,340 shoots days for half-hour series and 1,560 for talk shows. A shoot day is defined as one crew’s work to film at one or more participating studios during all or part of any given 24- hour period. “This data demonstrates that episodic television series production on studio partner stages, all of which are production facilities with support services in a campus-type environment, continues driving filming activity,” the report said. Feature film production made up only 4 percent of backlot and sound stage shoot days, the report found, while commercial work came in at 6 percent, or 1,039 shoot days. Television production is so dominant locally that very little stage inventory remains for other kinds of production,” Sokoloski added in his email. “Feature production comprised about 11 percent of total shoot days on location in 2018. Assuredly, had we more films in town then we’d have found a place for them,” he said. The report was done with the cooperation of 17 Hollywood studio facilities, including Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Entertainment, both in Burbank, and NBCUniversal, in Universal City. It also included 10 large independent studios operating space, including Quixote Studios, which opened a production facility in Pacoima last year. Based on FilmL.A.’s count there was approximately 5.2 million square feet of certified production space in Los Angeles County in 2018, an increase of about 500,000 square feet from 2016. Ownership of the space was nearly split between the major Hollywood studios with 43 percent and the large independent operators at 40 percent. In 2018, there was 95 percent occupancy rate on average for the soundstages while in 2016 it was at 96 percent, the report found.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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