What’s driving L.A. film boom?

Marketplace Staff Mar 31, 2010
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What’s driving L.A. film boom?

Marketplace Staff Mar 31, 2010
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Kai Ryssdal: All right, so living in Los Angeles has its pleasures. Good weather and lots of outdoor recreation. But it does come with some downsides, though. The occasional earthquake and the joys of movie-making. Streets clogged with trucks full of props and camera equipment and crew members crowding the sidewalks.

The entertainment industry in the United States is worth about $120 billion. L.A. gets about half of that. The recession did take its toll. But now filming is up again on the streets of L.A. And Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek-Smith reports the boost is all about what’s happening behind the scenes.


STACEY VANEK-SMITH: “Grey’s Anatomy” is set in Seattle. “Mad Men” takes place on Madison Avenue. “CSI Miami,” well, let’s just say it’s not set in Los Angeles, but all of these shows are filmed here.

CSI Miami: They killed her and then moved her here. You have a great eye for detail.

To film on location in Los Angeles, you need a permit. The number of permits given out in the first three months of this year is up roughly 25 percent over 2009. That’s thanks, in part, to tax incentives the state put in place last year.

The biggest boost in filming came from ads as companies started spending again. Commercial shoots in L.A. were up 60 percent over last year.

Bill Carroll is a programming consultant for Katz Television Group.

BILL CARROLL: We’ve seen levels that are consistently better than last year. Particularly automotive advertising, which had pretty much left broadcast T.V.

Ads aren’t the only engine driving the L.A. film boom. TV filming in Los Angeles is up by nearly 20 percent so far this year.

Jack Kyser, an economist with the city of Los Angeles, says he can see the difference from his office.

JACK KYSER: There’s a lot of those big white trucks that are out on location shooting, all around the downtown area. It probably has a lot to do with Jay Leno.

Namely “The Jay Leno Show.” When it went off the air, it took five hours of prime-time programming with it. Now NBC is on the hunt for new shows to fill that space and dozens of pilots are vying for the spots.

In Los Angeles, I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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