After years of stagnation and contraction, it appears that the entertainment industry in Los Angeles has turned a corner towards growth, according to a study published by the Otis College of Art and Design.
In the 2012 edition of the Creative Economy Report, the college’s yearly examination of industry-wide statistics and trends, we learn that Tinseltown employed around 124,000 people in 2011. These numbers fall short of its pre-recession peak in 2006, but an incremental improvement over 2010.
These days, any positive news is well appreciated, but a deeper look at the numbers shows some reason for alarm. The Creative Economy Report uses a broad umbrella to cover the ‘Industry’, and it must be mentioned that disciplines such as product design, architecture, and fashion are included in the figures.
Some professional categories fared much better than others, according to the report. The Film and Video Production category experienced the steepest declines over the five year period, losing approximately 6% of its workforce, as more and more productions move out of town to take advantage of appealing tax incentives in other states. Look for this trend to continue as it becomes cheaper to locate productions elsewhere and as the number of qualified film professionals rise in other markets.
Grounds for optimism
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. The field of Digital Media has exploded, with employment sharply up 11% in Los Angeles and Orange County over the same timeframe. The close relationship between Digital Media and Film Production may point to cross-category migration, as multi-skilled professionals gravitate to growth industries with greater opportunities.Film and video production workers can guard against a winnowing job market by investing the time to learn new skills. Take into account what you already know and research what package of competencies will make you an attractive hire in different fields. We can’t stop the trends outlined in the Creative Economy Report, but we can prepare for the future as indicated by the numbers.