L.A. Production Rebounds After Strike, but Still Well Below Peak Levels

Los Angeles film and TV production has begun to rebound from last year’s strikes, but still remains well below pre-strike levels, according to data released Thursday by FilmLA.

Total location shoot days increased to 6,823 in the first quarter of 2024, up 23% from the fourth quarter of 2023. But the level remained below the same quarter in 2023, and 20% below the five-year average for the period.

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Production levels were declining even before the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA went on strike last summer, shutting down the lion’s share of scripted production nationwide. And though the strikes have been over for five months, the return to work has been gradual.

“There was a really delayed return to production,” said Philip Sokoloski, a spokesman for FilmLA. “We knew could take six to eight weeks for TV, and for feature films it might be a little longer.”

FilmLA issues permits for location shoots across the Los Angeles area. Though its data does not include production on soundstages, it is considered a reliable indicator of overall production trends.

The overall data covers all types of production, including commercials, reality TV, scripted shows, feature films, documentaries, and music videos.

The agency also provides a detailed breakdown by production type. That data shows that while film and scripted TV have started to rebound, reality TV — which was not directly impacted by the strike — declined in the first quarter of 2024.

Sokoloski said the data show that the strike is only one factor among many in the general decline in production.

“We know there’s a scale-back,” he said. “The streaming bubble has popped. Fewer episodes are being ordered of the shows that are in production, and a lot of shows have been canceled.”

The agency has also heard that a lot of commercial production has relocated to other parts of the country or overseas.

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