FilmLA Report Into 2020 Filming Finds Demand For Sound Stages, Backlots

Film crew

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A report released today by FilmLA, the nonprofit that coordinates permitting in the Los Angeles area, found that there is strong demand for sound stages and backlots in Los Angeles, and the average occupancy rate of sound stages in 2020 was 94%, up slightly from 93% the year before.

The report added that even though the COVID-19 pandemic shut down filming in the second quarter of 2020, most stage operators did not lose any lessees, and those that did have sudden vacancies were easily able to attract new customers.

The total number of projects shot on stages declined 47% compared to the previous year, reaching 898 projects in 2020, and the total stage-based shoot days decreased 49.7% to 6,191 shoot days. However, the decline is consistent with on-location production, which saw shoot days decrease by 48% in 2020.

FilmLA added that studio partners that had access to backlots saw higher levels of pandemic-era use, with backlot-based shoot days dropping only 15% from 2019 to 2020, and many studios reporting their backlots as full.

``We predicted that we would see a high level of interest in stage and backlot use on return from L.A. County's 87-day pandemic production pause. But that's not to say it was easy for our partners to say `yes' to filming,'' said FilmLA Vice President of Integrated Communications Philip Sokoloski.

``Just as we saw with on-location filming, there were new safety- related protocols to apply, parking and people logistics to master, PPE procurement challenges and new costs to absorb. What this data really highlights is the resiliency of an industry unified in its effort to get people back to work.''

Seventy-two percent of all stage and backlot-based shoot days were for television series production, according to FilmLA. In 2019, television series production made up only 62% of stage and backlot-based shoot day activity.

FilmLA said that it is tracking 14 new studio projects or studio expansions underway in the Los Angeles area, including the new stages on the Warner Bros. Ranch. If all projects are completed, it would increase the number of certified stages in the L.A. area by about 27%.

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