Friday, October 21, 2011

HOLLYWOOD AND THE JOB CRISIS - PART 2: TV IS BOOMING UNLESS YOU WORK IN L.A. has posted part 2 of its series Hollywood & The Job Crisis. This time the focus in on the booming TV market...that is passing Los Angeles right on by. 

If your search for television jobs is looking bleak, it may not be your industry's fault.
The problem might be your state's economy.

A record number of TV pilots were made last year, thanks to an increasing number of cable stations getting into original programming. This has been a windfall year for cable and network ad spending. But the money isn't necessarily trickling down to rank-and-file actors, writers and other professionals in Los Angeles, the heart of the industry.

Just as television has splintered from three major networks into hundreds of stations, shows and jobs are branching out to more and more cities.
A record-setting 169 pilots were shot last year, according to Film L.A. The increase was fueled by a cable boom: For the first time, more than half the pilots were for cable networks.
That's good news for the industry overall, and for stars and showrunners pulling big salaries. But in Los Angeles, some struggling actors and writers are still having a tough time finding work. Or making less money. Or both.
The aticle has a good point about how runaway production has affected the television industry here in LA.

What Los Angeles needs are more dramas, which have lost airtime in the last decade to cheaper -- and often more popular -- comedy and reality shows. Dramas employ people by the hundreds, far more than other types of shows. But many of them shoot outside the city that is home to the major studios.

"From an economic standpoint, TV dramas are a golden goose that is not nesting in Los Angeles this season," said Todd Lindren, vice president of Film L.A. The private, not-for-profit group processes permits for on-location shoots in the Los Angeles area.

In the 2010-11 season, Los Angeles produced only 10 hour-long drama pilots for networks and 13 for cable, according to Film L.A.
New York, meanwhile, hosted 10 for networks and five for cable. Canada was home to eight for networks and 10 for cable, and other locations hosted 16 and 19, respectively.
The drama situation doesn't seem to be improving for the shooting capitol: Los Angeles' scripted dramas actually had 20 percent fewer permitted production days in the third quarter of this year than it did in the same period in 2010, according to Film L.A.
The problem is going to get much worse before it gets better.

But the jobs numbers hide the fact that many in the TV industry are doing less work, getting paid less, or both.
From 2009 to 2010, the Writers Guild of America reports a 1.1 percent decrease in the number of its members reporting earnings from television. But those that did report earnings scored a record $532.1 million – a 2.9 percent increase.
That means a slightly bigger pie, and slightly fewer people sharing in it. Not the kind of economic injustice that will make anyone Occupy Hollywood, but still a case of more money in fewer hands.
Part 3 is tomorrow.

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