Heeding warnings that runaway production has reached the "crisis" stage, the City Council took steps Tuesday to create a commission tasked with marketing Los Angeles to filmmakers.

With its 13-0 vote, the council directed the Chief Legislative Office to research how a film commission would operate and be financed.

"The loss of productions to other states is no longer a trickling effect; it is a crisis," said Pamm Fair, chairwoman of FilmLA, the nonprofit agency that coordinates film permits.

"We are talking about 300,000 clean, good-paying jobs that we are losing. And we are not only losing the jobs," she said. "We are losing the people, who are relocating to other states."

The film commission is the latest effort to stem runaway production, which has resulted in TV and movie work heading to Canada and overseas. Officials say local film production has dropped by more than half since 1996.

"This is intended to fill a gap," said Councilman Richard Alarc n, who proposed creating the agency.

"It is needed, because we need to market the film industry in a way that we can compete with cities that are developing their own film industry and taking production away from us."

Alarc n said he sees the commission as complementing FilmLA by working with the industry and studying efforts by other cities and states to lure filming to their locales.

Council President Eric Garcetti suggested the new panel include the hiring of a film czar, who would work as a liaison with city agencies and officials to deal with problems as they develop - whether it is with neighborhood complaints or the need for changes in city regulations.

"We need to have someone here to work with FilmLA, and to serve as an advocate for the industry," Garcetti said. "We need someone who has a powerful voice to advocate for the industry and make sure it comes back here where it started."

Councilman Tom LaBonge said the panel should also look beyond the city borders.

"This is not just in Hollywood," LaBonge said. "We have people living throughout the region who could be working in the industry if we had the jobs here."

Paul Audley, executive director of FilmLA, urged the council to enact the proposal, saying he is prepared to work with it to help market Los Angeles to the industry.

"We serve as a partner to the city and will be a partner with this new commission," Audley said. "Merely by showing the interest of the city to the industry will be a key role in helping bring production back."

Garcetti said he believes the new commission can be filled with working and retired members of the industry and the unions most directly affected by production.