City’s film industry at all-time high

Penn Badgley, Leighton Meester and the cast of "Gossip Girl" film a scene on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this year.

We’re giving L.A. a run for its money.

Anyone who’s ever walked past filming for the latest TV show or movie in New York, from “Gossip Girl” to the latest “Batman” flick, knows the city is a popular place to film TV shows and movies.

But a new report out today confirmed that New York’s film and television sector is the strongest it’s ever been.

Television production in the city is now at an all-time high; the industry generated a whopping $7.1 billion last year, according to the results of an economic study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. That’s an increase of more than $2 billion per year since 2002, the report found.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the report’s findings from 30 Rockefeller Center this afternoon, where he was joined by members of the “Saturday Night Live” cast.
 
“This report confirms what I’ve been seeing on sets and soundstages around the city – the film and television industry in New York City has never been bigger,” said the mayor.

Film and television production now employs 130,000 people citywide, an increase of 30,000 jobs since 2004.

Adam Weber, 27, is one of those working in the thriving industry.

Weber is a film editor who has worked on HBO’s “In Treatment,” which filmed out of Silvercup Studios in Queens. After moving back and forth between L.A. and New York for a few years, he decided to settle here to produce and direct a documentary .

“The documentary industry is a lot more interesting and sophisticated in New York than L.A.,” said Weber. “Here there are a lot of different opportunities. Every once and a while an ad agency will call us up to work on part of their pitch. Or a friend of mine who is a playwright asked me to direct a play written by children. New York offers me an opportunity to branch out.”

“In New York I find that the jobs I get are more varied and interesting (than in L.A.),” he added.

Ripple-effect felt citywide

The filmmaking sector’s growth has a ripple effect throughout the city’s economy as a whole: Filming provides jobs for everyone from recognizable actors and actress to production assistants, screenwriters, make-up artists and food caterers.

Even passers-by are getting jobs: Last year, more than 11,000 extras were hired to pop up on TV shows shot in the city.

The city’s beleaguered construction industry, often employed to help build sets and stages, is also helped by the industry’s growth.

Last year, a record-number of 23 TV series filmed in New York, including “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Good Wife” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Most of the new shows being created in New York are dramas, reality shows and talk shows, today’s report found.


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