My name is Benjamin Zalusky and I am a set production assistant living and working in Massachusetts. Last summer I had the opportunity to work for the first time on the set of a feature film that was shooting in the Boston area. That day gave me my first glimpse at what it was like to work for the film industry and I instantly saw what an amazing career this business could offer me. I continued day playing on several films throughout the fall in order to start to learn the responsibilities of the set PA and to start networking and meeting local crew members who would become my coworkers and friends as I progressed early on in my career. It wasn’t until February this year that I was asked to work on set full time. Of course I did not hesitate to say yes and I was finally able to leave my old job and start focusing all my efforts on working towards a career in the film industry.
Working full time as a set PA has given me a much better understanding of what it takes to produce a film. I have had the privilege to aide the Assistant Director’s department in the production of a number of feature films shooting in Massachusetts. Along the way I have met countless hard working and talented crew members who also proudly call Massachusetts their home. Many of the crew members have become my good friends and there is a strong sense of community among us. I am lucky to see familiar faces on many of the jobs I have been able to work on, while still meeting new people all the time. We all love working here and it really is amazing to be able to work every day in the film industry then come home to our families after we wrap each night.
None of this would be possible without the film tax incentive currently in place in Massachusetts. It has made Massachusetts very attractive to production companies looking for locations to film their movies, television programs, and commercials. The tax incentive has allowed local cast and crew members to progress their careers in the comfort of their home state. Along with employing the local cast and crew, the film tax incentive has been extremely beneficial to local business. The productions buy all their food, gas, construction materials, and rental equipment locally. They get local police officers, firefighters, and security guards to help keep the sets safe. All of the crew pay taxes in Massachusetts and help stimulate the local economy by buying all of their food, gas, clothing and other commercial goods locally. Even crew members that come in from other states benefit the local economy by paying for hotels and rental cars, or by renting apartments.
If the film tax incentive goes away hundreds – if not thousands – of families will have to make the choice of whether to leave home and move to a state that does have a tax incentive for film, or to find a new career, give up on their dreams, and lose everything they have worked so hard to achieve. Please don’t force us to make that choice. Please keep the film tax incentive in Massachusetts so we can continue working in an industry we love from the comfort of our own homes.