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Film Production In LA Hits Lowest Point In 25 Years

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Film and television production in Los Angeles during the coronavirus pandemic fell to its lowest point in more than 25 years, according to the latest numbers released Wednesday.

FilmLA, the nonprofit group which serves as the official film office for both the city and county of L.A., reports that production in 2020 plummeted by 48% compared to 2019.

There were 18,993 shoot days in 2020, according to FilmLA, compared to 36,540 in 2019.

Filming was completely shut down from mid-March, when the pandemic first took hold, to mid-June, when FilmLA began to issue permits again, a period of about three months. In late December, L.A. County public health officials asked the film and television industry to voluntarily pause production again because of the surge of coronavirus cases.

Hollywood productions are operating with strict coronavirus protocols, including mandatory testing schedules and personal protective equipment guidelines. There is also a zone system designed to keep different groups working on a production set separate in an effort to mitigate the potential spread of the virus should a crewmember test positive.

"The impact of COVID-19 on local film production and jobs cannot be overstated. With production paused for 87 days and the industry responsible and cautious in returning to work, total annual production fell to unprecedented lows," Paul Audley, FilmLA president, said in a statement.

Shoot days occur when a crew for either a film, television series, reality show or music video shoots on location. It does not includes shoots on sound stages.

Feature films saw the largest decrease in 2020 filming compared to 2019, with a 55.8% drop, compared to a 40.2% drop for commercials and a 38.3% drop for television.

"COVID-19 decimated the traditional broadcast pilot season this year, which typically runs from late February to early May," FilmLA said in the report.

The report also analyzed 2020 filming locations, and California remained the top filming location.

Twenty-nine new broadcast shows were filmed in California, 10 were filmed in Canada, six in New York, one in George and nine in other U.S. states.

For cable shows, nine were filmed in California, eight in Canada, nine in New York, seven in Georgia and 17 in other U.S. states.

California was the leading location for streaming projects, as well, but Canada was close behind. Twenty-nine streaming projects filmed in California, 24 in Canada, 17 in New York, six in Georgia and six in other U.S. states.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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