LA Times Discovers Local Reality TV Production, For the Umpteenth Time


Reality television is propping up the local production scene, according to the LA Times. Richard Verrier writes in the Business section:

Camera crews tracking the unscripted lives of car buffs, geeky guys longing to date supermodels, wannabe singers and aspiring tycoons are filling streets and neighborhoods, turning the area into the reality TV capital of the world.

Not that this is news. Verrier also thinks that reality TV started in 2000 with Survivor, which isn’t remotely correct–does the Times think Wikipedia is a source?

The WGA strike of 1988 pushed networks to produce strike-proof programming, and Unsolved Mysteries, Rescue 911, and similiar shows featuring re-creations, along with documentary-style interviews, were developed. And then came Cops.

Verrier also makes this not-very accurate claim:

On a positive note, unscripted programs have contributed to a larger boom in local television production, which is helping blunt job losses due to the luring of feature films to other states that offer financial incentives.

Reality crews and feature crews aren’t drawn from the same groups. Porn and features, sometimes yes.
Reality shows aren’t, for the most part, union, and most tech and craft unions penalize members who take non-union gigs. Besides, no one uses a best boy on a two-person shoot. Verrier has covered the industry for years, but non-union, low-budget reality shows must be a new area for him.

FilmLA,Inc. a non-profit that handles permitting for local production, is credited with supplying the names of the reality shows shooting locally (all 8 of them), which could mean that their clients are listed. Not so surprisingly, there are plenty of shows that don’t bother with permits. Cities, such as Pasadena, issue their own.

The piece names a very small sample of reality programming produced in Los Angeles, but never mentions post production. Survivor and Amazing Race, to name two, are posted here, and editing time often costs as much or more than shooting in the field.

Style’s Clean House (disclaimer: this FBLA editor produced the first season, back when it was fun) is all over the piece, and even rates two photos, but none of PAs moving the homeowner’s clutter into camera range.