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Filmmakers facing difficult first quarter as Los Angeles sees decline in permit applications

© Josh Miller

December was unusually quiet for the local film industry as permit applications declined month-on-month by more than 25%.

The drop is attributed to rising infections in Southern California, and new restrictions being placed on people, causing a slow down in Hollywood productions, and staff issues.

While there is a normal seasonally adjusted drop over Christmas, the film industry is facing a tough start to 2021, with Covid cases wrecking havoc on California’s already strained healthcare system.

TV and movie sets are having to take difficult precautions to protect people on sets, creating additional costs for producers and filmmakers alike.

Hollwood trade unions have been bringing forward new Covid guidelines to help prevent new cases on set, however many productions across the state and in Los Angeles have had to cease where crew members have become infected.

Filmmaking is still considered an “essential” activity however a number of studios have chosen to extend their holiday hiatus.

Despite the difficult conditions, demand for film is at a new record, with Disney+ and Netflix among other streaming companies seeing growing subscription numbers and a big appetite for on-demand content.

We will have to wait and see how the new incoming administration rolls out a national scheme to support the industry, with a multi-trillion dollar stimulus plan high on the agenda to help industries recover.