Category Archives: Best Boy Electric

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My name is Michael Peterson, and I currently work as a set lighting best boy. I graduated from a Massachusetts high school, attended a Massachusetts state college, and have been working in the Massachusetts production world for 19 years. I was also married and had three children in Massachusetts. I know I could not have gotten where I am today without the tax incentive. I would have to move to another state, or across the country, if I wanted to get the position I currently hold. My wife and children are very patient with the long hours I work and the stress that comes with it. But at the end of the day…I love my job. How many people can say that?

We have amassed a spectacular group of creative individuals who continue to pleasantly surprise production companies with their abilities. Project after project is coming through and realizing that the talent is here. We have continued to grow each year of the incentive. More and more local people are filling the positions that were first occupied by out-of-town folks.

To really enjoy your job and to be excited about going every day is something not easily found. Knowing that I can follow my passion and provide for my family is amazing. Thank you Massachusetts!

We continue to work…so the incentive is working.

 

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My name is Tom Keenan. I am a father and I was born and raised in Boston, MA. I have been working in the Massachusetts film industry for more than 25 years. Back in the early 2000s, work in our area was all but dried up. I found myself unemployed, eligible and receiving MA health benefits. Most of my work opportunities were only in Rhode Island, which — at the time — had a decent film tax incentive program. Since its implementation, the Massachusetts film tax incentive has been hugely successful in changing all of that. Today in Massachusetts, our industry is thriving like never before. We now see a steady stream of film productions coming here.

On these productions, I often work as a best boy electric. Part of this job includes buying, renting, and utilizing many local items and services. I get to see how our industry affects so many other businesses in Massachusetts. There are many other people in other departments doing the same thing, most on a much greater scale than me. The money spent locally to support a film production would astound most people.

The Massachusetts film tax incentive has been a game-changer; without it, many in our state would suffer, and not just those in our industry. It might be hard for some people to relate to our industry. We generally don’t work in the same place or during the same hours from day to day. There is a good chance that, when we do get noticed, people will never see past the “stars” involved, or will simply think it’s just “Hollywood” in their town. But our crews are local crews, made up mostly of Massachusetts residents. We live here, rent or own here, buy our cars and groceries here, vote here, and pay taxes here. Like me, many were born here. We are just like so many other hardworking people who are just trying to keep our jobs here! Please help us and support the Massachusetts film tax incentive. GO PATS!

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My name is Lee Ayrton, and I am a set lighting technician, often as gang boss or best boy. I generally work in the pre-rig crew, laying out the power distribution system and setting lights in advance of the shooting crew. The hours are long — I’ve generally got 40 hours on the clock by the time most people are having their Thursday morning coffee break — but I’m not complaining. I love the work that I’ve been doing for more than 20 years.

The film tax incentive is essential to film production in Massachusetts. Motion picture production in Massachusetts has grown over the past two decades from a few hundred workers to over a thousand making an honest working-class living. We aren’t the “Hollywood fat cats” that some want to paint us as; ours are median income jobs. Without the film tax incentive, those jobs will go out of state.

Along with the benefit of our paychecks and the taxes that we pay, motion picture productions inject cash directly into the local economies. I’ve spent thousands of dollars in petty cash on consumables, tools, hardware, shipping supplies, meals, water, coffee. I’ve requisitioned equipment rentals — man lifts, boom lifts, fork trucks, generators — amounting to many tens of thousands of dollars, and this is just a fraction of the total spending of a movie in town. Without the film tax incentive, those dollars will go out of state. Without the film tax incentive, WE will go out of state. We will have to because there will be no work for us here.

 

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My name is Meghan. I’m 31-years old, a wife, and a theater/event freelancer. My husband Fred is a light board programmer/best boy electric.

People outside the entertainment industry think that it is filled with glamour. If I ask a random person what they think of when they hear “Hollywood,” they usually answer, “Glitz, beautiful celebrities, and a date at the movies.” When I am unloading a semi-truck filled with road cases and truss for an event, or my husband is sitting on his film truck eating breakfast at 5pm, people come up with star-struck eyes and ask what we are working on. They ask which stars are in the movie, or what the event is for. What the general public doesn’t see is the 18-hour work days, the not seeing your family for days because you are working all night and sleeping for a few hours during the day, the not truly knowing when you will be off of work for dinner, or the worry about planning a vacation because you might be missing out on the big job that is coming to town three months from now.

So why do we do it? Because of a love and passion for our craft and industry. I currently work part-time as a technical supervisor for the City of Boston-owned Strand Theater, and I freelance for events to fill in the work gaps. After working a week of 14-hour days on a theatrical show, when I see the audience jump to their feet in applause, it makes it all worth it. My husband is also a freelancer in the film industry, but — due to the high volume of movies shooting in Massachusetts because of the film tax incentives — he might as well have a full-time job. I can’t watch a movie anymore without looking at the different camera angles or the color tone of the light in each scene, because my husband excitedly loves to point them out to me.

With the film tax incentives, we have been able to make a happy life for ourselves in Boston. We love our city and its support of the arts. The “glamour” of this industry in Massachusetts has nothing to do with celebrity sightings, but with the jobs the film tax incentives create, the extra money the incentives bring to the state and local businesses (especially those that benefit from a movie shooting during their “off season”), and the families that that can live happily in Massachusetts. Taking away the film tax incentives will take the movies away, hurt our local economy, and snuff out the passion of its workers. People will have to uproot their homes and leave Massachusetts, or work away from their families for months at a time in a different state that does offer film tax incentives.

 

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My name is Jim Mitchell and I have worked in the lighting department on many of the films that have visited Massachusetts since the inception of the film tax incentives.

While I’ve been in the business for 20 years, I’ve been working for the last five years primarily as a best boy electric. A lot of people ask me, “What the heck is a best boy?” Well, in my case, a best boy* is a husband, a father, a consumer, a neighbor, a homeowner, a coworker, a supervisor, an employee, a voter, and a Massachusetts taxpayer.

Every film crew consists of lots of unique jobs with wacky names that don’t fit neatly into boxes that everyone recognizes — but everyone needs to know these are real jobs staffed by real people. The film tax incentives put real food on the real tables of the grips, juicers, boom ops, genny ops, camera ops, carps, scenics, drivers, focus pullers, set dressers, drapers, riggers, seamstresses, prop makers, prop masters, paymasters, gaffers, DITs, POCs, ACs, ADs, PAs, and background artists.

All of these people deserve the right to thrive at their jobs AND sleep at home tonight. Please support the Massachusetts film tax incentives — the crew is counting on it.

*Webmaster’s Note: If you still want to know what a best boy is, a best boy is the manager of their department. Job responsibilities include hiring, scheduling of manpower, paperwork, allocation of tasks to crew, paperwork (including payroll and accounting), and liaising with vendors, other department heads, and producers. The title “best boy” applies to both male and female crew members.

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