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L.A. Filming Slump May Be Easing

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Film, television, commercial and music video shooting on the streets of Los Angeles fell again in March, albeit it at a slower rate than in previous months.

The filming figures continue to be affected by last year’s writers and actors strike threats, which led to a rush of filming in the first half of 2001, followed by a lull.

Figures from the Entertainment Industry Development Corp. permit agency showed that the total number of days spent shooting in public areas dropped 13.6% in March from a year earlier and is down 25% for the first three months of the year.

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The drop is the smallest this year, compared with a 33% decline in January and a 29% falloff in February.

The EIDC numbers include projects shot in areas of Los Angeles County requiring permits, such as streets, parks and public areas. It does not include projects on studio lots, but nonetheless is considered a key barometer of overall activity.

Current EIDC numbers are difficult to compare with figures in previous years because of the threat last year of a strike by actors and writers that never materialized. The mere threat of a strike caused studios to increase production dramatically through spring, then put the brakes on new shooting because they had stockpiled so many projects.

The number of days of shooting television projects rose 6% to 1,305. Days shooting feature films, which have been hardest hit because studios completed so many of them, declined 32% in March, while commercials dropped 24% to 487.

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