My name is Joe Fantasia. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I’m a lifelong resident and have been a homeowner in Dracut, MA, for the last nine years. Like many people in Massachusetts, I nearly lost my home five years ago because of a job loss due to a down economy. If not for my work in the film industry, I would have for sure lost my home.
Over the last four years, I have worked on several movies in craft service as a member of Local 481. Craft service provides food, beverages, and snacks for the cast and crew throughout the filming day. Because our filming days are very long, craft service will provide two pass-around meals per day. The first pass-around is usually three hours after we start and the second is usually three hours after catering serves lunch. If the filming day goes more then six hours after lunch, craft service will provide what is called “second meal.” We work in different cities and towns all over the state and always order our pass-arounds from local restaurants and lots of family-owned businesses.
We create a lot of excitement when we walk into a business and order 180 sandwiches for our cast and crew. Just last night we ordered from Nick’s Roast Beef in Beverly, MA, and the bill came to $1,000. On other recent movies, we have ordered from Floramos, Santarpios, Bill and Bob’s Roast Beef, Sparky’s Wings, Kowloons, South Street Diner, Kings Pizza, Regina’s Pizza, and Taste of Brazil, to name just a few. Lots of times we place orders and the restaurants don’t even know who the order is for; from now on, though, we will make sure that they are all aware that it is for the film industry.
Our coffee machines and specialty coffee come from Boston Bean, from whom we just got a $2,400 order of coffee this week. We have fresh produce delivered to our truck every week. Every day, we have fresh muffins and bagels from Panera and sometimes donuts from Kane’s. I can only talk about craft service, which is just one element of money being spent by the film industry in the local economy. Just think about the cost of materials for building sets for the movies or the cost to supply fuel for for all of the productions trucks — costs that are funneled into the Massachusetts economy.
Local 481 has close to 900 members, and most of us will be working later this month when there are four movies filming at the same. Also, the teamsters from Local 25 will be providing the transportation and will have hundreds of members working as well. Also working on these movies are local actors and actresses and people in production who may or may not be union members who are employed by the film industry as well.
Governor Baker and staff, we urge you to look closer at this and fully understand economic impact of the film industry before eliminating the tax incentive.
We are the people who work on the other side of the camera. We are not movie stars, but hardworking blue-collar men and women who have been virtually unknown. Now it is time for us to speak up and be heard!