Category Archives: Camera Operator

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My name is Brian. I have worked in film, TV, and video for 20 years.

I was born in Boston. I grew up in Massachusetts. I have lived here for most of my life. I received a BA from U-Mass Amherst. I have lived in Somerville Massachusetts for the last 10 years. Some day I hope to start a family in Massachusetts.

I tried living in Atlanta GA for 4.5 years when I worked for CNN, and in Harford CT for 3 years when I was a photojournalist at a local station there. However, after almost 8 years in news, I decided to move back to Boston Massachusetts because it is HOME to me.

I have been freelancing mainly as a Director of Photography / Camera Operator / Video Journalist, and also as a Field Audio Recordist, Field Producer, and Video Editor since I moved back in 2005. I have worked on all kinds of productions including documentaries, “reality” shows, docudramas, concerts, feature films, independent films, network news, corporate videos, events, etc, etc, etc…

I don’t often work on feature film sets, yet the Massachusetts Film Tax Incentive is crucial to my career, and those of my colleagues. It means there is more work over all. Having higher end work come to the state has also greatly increased the quality of the work done here. Higher quality (usually) = higher wages. More work = more people employed = a growing industry.

The money I earn mostly goes right back into the Massachusetts economy. I rent and purchase much of my equipment locally at places like Talamas and Rule Boston Camera. I buy a lot of lighting equipment from Kaye Lights and Barbizon (both in Woburn MA). When I need something fixed, I take it to Macie Video in Dedham. I also pay for a lot of parking in garages all over Boston and the rest of the state, I buy a lot of gas from local stations, I buy many meals when I’m working from all kinds of restaurants, I pay tolls on the Pike. The producers I work with who come in from out of town stay in the hotels, rent cars, hire taxis, buy meals, etc, etc.

I hire sound recordists, gaffers, camera assistants, production assistants, editors, etc etc. When I am too busy to do a job that has been requested by a client, I always recommend other local camera people, sound recordists, gaffers, grips, assistants, editors, etc who can fill the client’s needs.

If you get rid of the MA Film Tax Incentive, A LOT of work will disappear, and with it jobs. At the last hearing at the State House, a representative from Disney (which has shot at least a dozen films in the state) who testified was asked directly if Disney would still come to Massachusetts to hire the crews and locations that they have for so long even without the credit. Her answer was a simple, unequivocal “NO.”

The money doesn’t go to Hollywood stars (who have to pay Massachusetts taxes on what they earn) or to big companies. It goes to local Massachusetts residents like me, and my colleagues. It helps to grow this industry here. It is spent in YOUR town at YOUR businesses. You will be killing small businesses in YOUR community. Any money allegedly saved by stopping the incentive will be immediately balanced by the cost of the costs unemployment help that will be needed by the thousands of people in the production business here in Massachusetts that you will be putting out of work. Please don’t be foolish enough to end the Massachusetts Film Tax Incentive.

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My name is Joseph Lavallee. I joined the industry after having my first child. I wanted her to believe me when I told her she could do anything she wanted when she grew up.

I went to film school in Boston. I’ve worked my way up through the industry, as many have. I have found myself in a dream job, loving what I do everyday. I travel some, but most of my career, from its simple beginnings until today, has been in Massachusetts. Hopefully we can stay here!

My wife and I have three kids now. While we’ve had some slow times, we’ve worked enough to get by. She’s just started her own career in the art department.

While we would feel pressure to relocate from an expected slowdown from Gov. Baker’s proposal, the reality is that we might not be able to. Our family support is here. Our clients are here. Our lives are here. For us to hit a reset button and move into a new market would put our kids’ future at risk.

My oldest daughter is now interested in working in film. Help me make that possible!

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My name is Benjamin Knight. I work in camera and electrical departments primarily and have been blessed to be able to follow a career path that is my passion. I am one of the few who actually pays their student loans with money made from a career that is what they actually went to school for. I love Massachusetts and never want to leave. My family has been here since the boat landed, and I intend to keep it that way. Although if the Massachusetts film tax incentive were to be eliminated, this will not be the case.

I would love to buy a home in Massachusetts one day, but — once again — eliminating the Massachusetts film tax incentive would make that impossible and pointless; I’d have to move. Please help me and the thousands of other film workers in this great state to continue working and contributing to our community as members of society.

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My name is Wally Argo. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I began working in the film industry in 1978 to support myself while in college. I went to school to become a journalist, but discovered that working on movies, television commercials, documentaries and the like was where I belonged. I have since raised a family here, and both my children have gone to Massachusetts colleges. My 24-year-old son is now working in the business to support himself as he figures out how to navigate a career in the music industry.

I know that eliminating the Massachusetts film and television production incentive at this time would make it virtually impossible for hundreds like me to continue supporting their families here. It would also cause large-scale losses for many other businesses in Massachusetts that have profited greatly from the motion picture industry over the years.

Keep the incentive alive, keep Massachusetts working!

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My name is Craig Shannon, and I work in camera and post. I have spent a long time working and traveling, from the Caribbean to South America, Alaska, and California. However, no matter where I go, my favorite place to work and live is here in Massachusetts and New England. I believe it is full of the most creative and diverse group of talented filmmakers and craftspeople. It is my home and I do not want to lose the tight-knit group of people who are not only fellow professionals but friends. Do not take away the tax incentive. Doing so will be a devastating blow to the art and culture we have cultivated together, and it will mean the loss of jobs for not only the filmmakers but also other businesses and other industries who are regularly called upon to work with us in creating our film and commercial work. The film industry is not just a group of artists but a serious industry that produces a good just as sought after as any other industry in Massachusetts. Leave the tax incentive be and let us do our work.

save-ma-film-jobs_0004My name is Robert Beinhocker. For the last ten years, I have worked as a camera operator/cinematographer and a lighting technician. I was born and raised in the wonderful state of Massachusetts, and the film tax incentive made it possible for me to stay and make a living here while caring for my elderly mother.

I’ve witnessed how the tax incentive changed the industry here from a small dedicated core of folks scraping by to a large community of highly-skilled craftspeople who are able to offer services on par to what productions expect in LA and NY. There were more Massachusetts-based stories that came out during the film tax incentive period than any other time in our film history. I can’t imagine The Fighter, Finest Hours, Black Mass, or any other film rooted in local lore to be made in another state or country. But they could be. This is something that Massachusetts should be proud of; our historic state deserves to be on the A-list of storytellers in our country.

While filming for a television series or lighting on a feature, we relied innumerable times on local vendors for our gear, on hotels and office spaces for production offices, and on the many restaurants and coffee shops who, after a while, knew our names. Learning how the film Zookeeper helped save the landmark Franklin Park Zoo made me feel grateful in the impact these productions have in our community. Best of all is when my friends and colleagues share the news that they are able to buy a home and start a family with the money earned in Massachusetts-based productions. If the sign of a healthy economy is defined by how well the money circulates within all areas of the community, then the film tax incentie is a good investment. Come by a film set, see us work, talk to us when we’re free, and get to know our stories and the hard work we do.

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My name is Brant Fagan. I have been a Steadicam and camera operator for 24 years. After my initial Steadicam purchase, my first trip to Boston was to buy a C-stand from Ben Blake down in Roxbury. I still have it and use it at home! Since then, I have traveled the country and to two other continents working on feature films, commercials, and episodic television shows. I began my Steadicam career in New York, but expanded to Boston once I bought my home in Charlestown, NH, and have worked on many large and small productions over the years. While I do not live in Massachusetts, I have strong family and professional ties.

Since I do not live full-time in Massachusetts, I have to commute into the area, so I am one of those guys who spends money each and every trip into town — at least on food for me and for my truck! I pay taxes in Massachusetts every year, but since I live outside the Commonwealth, I do not use up all those services my tax money provides — a good deal for residents!

The film tax incentives spread money and energy throughout the economy of the Commonwealth and keep people coming and going throughout the year. People want jobs here because they desire the New England lifestyle and values that have been built up over the decades into lives, homes, towns, businesses, and families that mean something more than just numbers.

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My name is Skoty, and I’ve worked in the film industry in Massachusetts for five years as a camera operator and audio engineer. The film tax incentives have meant so much to my family and me. If they are taken away, it will severely impact a good portion of my friends and loved ones, and it will severely impact the whole state.  Think of this when you sit down with your family in front your TV to watch a movie or a show.

image001My name is Michael Mulvey, and I have been a professional cameraman in the Boston film and television production community for the past 34 years. I graduated from Emerson College in 1980 and decided to make Boston my home, instead of relocating to NYC or the West Coast. As a director of photography and a video production business owner, my clients and producers have had access to the film tax incentives, which keep and grow productions here in Massachusetts. I have shot independent films, documentaries, commercials, and television programs that otherwise probably would not have come to fruition or would have been taken out of state. As a result, my business has grown, and I have had the opportunity to hire some of the best and and most talented professionals in the industry right here in my hometown.

I used the word “community” earlier because I strongly feel that, although the film business is an industry, the professionals who make a living from this work in Boston are also a very tightly knit community. We share our talents and expertise freely. I, for one, have watched younger professionals strengthen their skills and talents and, in turn, benefit from increased income. This has allowed them to buy homes and raise families.

My wife and I have raised two wonderful young women, one of whom attended a four-year private college here in Massachusetts. We were able to afford her full tuition because it was supported by our income. Otherwise, she would have pursued an out-of-state college with a lower tuition and probably remained there after graduating. She is now a working professional here in Boston and contributing to our local economy as well.

It is so hard to track how much the film tax incentive benefits the Commonwealth, since so much of the money spent here gets filtered right down into the local economy. There are the obvious beneficiaries, like hotels, restaurants, and large retail establishments. But what about dry cleaners, cabs, florists, lumberyards, and all the local police who are hired for detail work? The list goes on and on. The impact of all that revenue leaving the state and the effect it will have on our profession’s families will be felt for many, many years to come.

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