Back then, the local L.A. industry was hit very hard by the triple-threat of impeding strikes by the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America, as well as the unfortunate trend for producers to take production out of L.A. and up to Canada or elsewhere. These three factors served to depress further an L.A. economy that was already down and also served to put many of my friends out of work.
Some of the shows that recently shot in L.A. and are helping with the recent boom include Sam Rami's Spider-Man: 3, Michael Bay's Transformers and the unfortunately named Live Free or Die Hard, directed by Underworld helmer Len Wiseman. Plus (yes I know this is not a TV site) there are several TV shows currently shooting in L.A. and contributing to the economic upswing as well -- including the new ABC hit Ugly Betty, The Nine and Jericho, starring Skeet Ulrich of Scream fame.
Now that the trend of sending production to Canada seems to have wained slightly -- mostly due to it being less of a bargain to shoot there than it used to be -- and with no potential strikes looming on the horizon, it seems like things are looking up for the L.A. based film and TV community. Unfortunately, even with this upward trend, production is still down overall from its 1996 peak, so there's still a long way to go.