LOS ANGELES — Joseph Mulcrone locks the doors to a prison cell, but it’s not a real one. In fact, it's a set stage used by productions in Hollywood for films, TV shows and more. 

Mulcrone is the vice president of operations at Riverfront Stages, Inc., a film and television production facility in Los Angeles with standing sets, including courtrooms, a jail complex, offices and a bar. RSI, as it's commonly called, also has over 40,000 square feet of open stage space. But last year’s double strike dealt a significant blow to Hollywood, with its recovery proving slower than anticipated for businesses like RSI.

“This part of our business at Riverfront Stages, our standing sets where we have a lot of quick turnaround series or feature coming in for anywhere from one to three days, this part of our business is doing okay,” Mulcrone said.

But it’s the larger soundstages where Mulcrone highlights challenges.

“Typically, this would be booked by a series or a feature long term, several months,” he said.

But when the stages are empty, it’s widely felt.

“The rest of the neighborhood ends up feeling it. The gas station down on the corner, there’s a florist. There’s a car wash and whole strip of restaurants right around the corner. These are places that are also not full when our stages aren’t full,” Mulcrone said.   

The entertainment industry makes up more than 8% of the county’s economy. For many, Hollywood slow comeback is a concern, especially as LA County and city’s proposed budget cite lower than planned revenues as one of the reasons for the city’s financial concerns.

But the budget shortfall isn’t completely alarming, says Ron Galperin, former controller for the city of LA.

“Now, this is nothing that is particularly new, and the city also does not run a deficit the same way that the federal government can run a deficit. But rather, the city has to close its budget each year,” Galperin said. “The budget is all about a set of assumptions, and we never know for sure until you go through that year whether revenues are meeting expectations or exceeding them."

Some of the big-ticket items on the budget include homelessness and support for foster families. When it comes to boosting revenue, Galperin says that property tax, the city’s No. 1 revenue producer, would need some attention. 

He also says the city must fight for its businesses.

“We have to make sure that we make LA as business friendly as it can be or else we’re not going to see those revenues that we all so much want to see,” he said.