Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the film permitting costs for digital productions will be cut by two-thirds in order to alleviate the financial burden and red tape for the productions.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the film permitting costs for digital productions will be cut by two-thirds in order to alleviate the financial burden and red tape for the productions. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In a move designed to encourage more local production of short-form online videos created by sites such as Buzzfeed and Funny or Die, the city of Los Angeles is lowering the cost of film permits for these kinds of productions as part of a new pilot program scheduled to roll out later this year.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an announcement Friday that the film permitting costs for digital productions will be cut by two-thirds in order to alleviate the financial burden and red tape for these modestly scaled productions.

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In the past, digital producers have tended to be priced out of expensive permits that cater to big-budget projects. Motion picture permits currently cost $660, not counting other costs.

The pilot program, the Digital Makers Initiative, is set to kick off in October with participants that include Buzzfeed, Fullscreen, Tastemade, mitú, Funny or Die, CollegeHumor, and 72andSunny.

Short-form online videos represent the fastest growing category of on-location production in L.A., according to data from FilmL.A., the organization that oversees film permitting throughout the area.

Last year, on-location filming for these types of productions created 2,113 production days in L.A., up 45.8% from 2015. For the same period, TV production rose 4.8%, while feature film production climbed 12%.

"Los Angeles has always been home to pioneers of the entertainment industry, and we should take down barriers to the kind of creative, future-minded innovation that small digital filmmakers represent," Garcetti said in a statement.

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