Entertainment Industry Slowly Returns to Work in Los Angeles
Hollywood has been the lifeblood of Los Angeles for over a century, with L.A. stripped of its most famous industry by COVID-19. The surge in COVID-19 cases in California and across the U.S. halted productions from coast to coast in 2020. The reopening of Southern States started a tentative return to work for the TV and movie industry, with California seeing a surge in permits for TV shows and moviemaking.
The Los Angeles Business Journal explains the TV and advertising production industry are driving the return to work for entertainment professionals. In the first quarter of 2021, the number of permits for shooting on location in Los Angeles grew by 45 percent compared to the previous quarter. In addition, the overall entertainment industry has begun to reopen and is operating 60-percent above the usual March levels.
The introduction of social distancing and the huge surge in COVID-19 cases throughout 2020 made the production of TV shows and movies difficult to achieve. Even those already in post-production were forced to shutter their offices as the pandemic made face-to-face meetings impossible to complete. Among the issues facing directors, producers, and editors was the inability to come together to complete a final cut. The production of TV, movies, and advertisements is a collaborative process that needs interaction between professionals.
The focus of many is on the film production sector and its return to work. Los Angeles has seen the reopening of movie theaters and restaurants, which drive the industry. Without open movie theaters, the release of movies has been limited to streaming platforms. Using streaming platforms has robbed Hollywood of the direct injection of funds provided by a successful opening weekend for movies. Fears had grown about the closure of independent movie theaters and large chains, with the opening of cinemas bringing in important revenue.
Entertainment executives have expressed their concerns about the pandemic’s effects on the industry. Along with lost revenue, executives explained they conduct in-person meetings and network at events regularly. Without these opportunities, executives believe the creative process will have stalled and take years to revive.
The TV industry is driving the reopening of Hollywood and the Los Angeles production sector. The number of TV shows and advertisements in production in L.A. in March was a 45-percent jump compared to the same period in February. Some experts have urged caution because of the restrictive COVID-19 protocols that need to stay in place until COVID-19 vaccinations become the norm. Masks and social distancing are being used to limit the spread of the virus, with productions conducting regular testing to protect the members of each production.
Los Angeles County has been hit hard by the loss of the entertainment industry and the employment provided. The latest figures have shown the overall employment numbers in Los Angeles County have fallen to 92,000 from 152,000 before the arrival of COVID-19. Entertainment industry experts believe the loss of employment has been larger as it does not include those who work seasonally with the entertainment industry. The return to normalcy will be welcomed in Los Angeles when the vaccination program becomes widespread.