This is an interesting question so I pulled out my copy of David Bordwell's Film History and... he doesn't have a lot to say. Companies were shooting in LA as early as 1908 and the Selig company set up a studio there in 1910, the New York Motion Picture Company set up a studio in 1909 and starting around that same time Biograph would send D.W. Griffith to L.A. during the winter. As some other people have already mentioned, the MPPC's failed attempt to create a monopoly is part of what drove people out of New York and New Jersey.
From reading Bordwell, I'd say the biggest reason was that Hollywood happened to be where the bulk of the studios and producers decided to settle. Carl Laemmle opened Universal City north of Hollywood in 1913, Adolph Zukor started Famous Players in 1912 in Hollywood, and W.W. Hodkinson banded together eleven local distributors to create Paramount in 1914. Paramount, in particular, was incredibly…show more content… That atmosphere is admittedly lacking in Los Angeles, although not completely nonexistent, as many New Yorkers would have you believe.
Commercial and music video director Will Joines moved to L.A. from the sticks of North Carolina right after college. “I didn’t particularly care for L.A. at the time,” he says, “though I think that was the smack-in-the-face of my first foray into a big city more than L.A. itself.” Will ended up moving to New York after his then-girlfriend, now-wife was accepted to Columbia. “I immediately loved New York and felt at home there right off the bat.” He adds, “Side note: ‘Loved’ is synonymous with ‘broke.’”
“If you want a vibrant indie scene in film and music, you can’t really beat NYC,” Will says. “If you want to be working in A-level film and television, you have to be in