Category Archives: Cinematographer

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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 Rajah Samaroo, and I support the Massachusetts film tax incentives. Like many local cinematographers and independent filmmakers, I benefit from the incentives as they keep a thriving community of artists and crew in the Boston area. The landscape of filmmaking has been changing dramatically over the past ten years, and it’s important that Boston continue fostering the community at all levels to stay relevant.

I’ve been very active in the visual arts community, doing it for the love of it. I thoroughly enjoy both learning from and sharing my knowledge with other passionate filmmakers in New England.

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My name is David C. Miller. I am a cinematographer currently based in North Carolina, but I was born and raised (and camera-trained) in Maine. I moved to North Carolina RIGHT before the state started political talks that eventually — and just recently led to the complete drop of the generous tax incentive. I moved down here initially in search of greater film opportunities and a chance to work on some movies and TV shows like Sleepy Hollow and Under the Dome.

Since the tax incentives dried up, films and television shows have been fleeing the state in droves. Employment in film has disappeared, and my wife and I are already contemplating another move out of state AGAIN. I have lots of contacts and personal friends in Massachusetts who seem to be facing the same dire circumstances that we just experienced.

I dearly hope the government pays attention to the mass exodus of families and workers from North Carolina and contemplates the sorrow and struggle of locals as they consider leaving their home because it no longer supports what they love to do. I’ve experienced this firsthand and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone in Massachusetts. I hope they watch as the economy struggles to maintain itself with a sudden drop of thousands of residents. I hope they see as the other businesses that are indirectly tied to the film industry struggle to maintain their shops and stores without the presence and partnership with the film studios. I hope they make the right decision.

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My name is Harry Pray IV. I am a freelance cinematographer and lighting technician. I have lived in Massachusetts for my entire life. Solely because of the film tax incentive, I am able to remain in Boston and support my family.  When I graduated from MassArt in 2006, I was close to joining the great migration to New York City or LA. What kept me in Massachusetts was the film tax incentive. Over seven years, I have amassed more than 42 credits on local productions. That number would be zero without the film tax incentive.

If the film tax incentive is eliminated, my wife and I will uproot and move to New York City or Louisiana. I love being near my family in Massachusetts. I intend to fight for my right to live here. If you eliminate the film tax incentive, you will 100%, absolutely kill the film industry in Massachusetts for good. 100% of zero is zero.

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My name is Ken Willinger, and I am a freelance cinematographer. I was born in Malden, MA. I have lived in many places over the 30 years I’ve been in the film/TV production business, but I settled in Massachusetts and have raised a family here.

It seems that many people outside of the film/TV industry have a misconception that the film tax incentive is free money that goes into the pockets of bigwig Hollywood film producers and movie stars. I and many of my freelance colleagues have nothing to do with the major motion pictures that are attracted here because of the film tax incentive, yet we have benefited from the many documentary productions, commercials, and TV shows that take advantage of it.

We are all hardworking middle-class families that live and work in Massachusetts, not Hollywood.

We rely on the work that comes to Massachusetts, and the film tax incentive is a big reason the work comes here. Over the years that the incentive has been in place, the industry has continued to grow, more money gets spent locally, and more industries that service the productions benefit from the money spent. To take the incentive away from the thousands of film/TV professionals working in our state will add to the rolls of those collecting unemployment and will see productive middle-class citizens (and their money) moving out of state in order to continue working in the industry. I of course would hate to have to do that as Massachusetts is my home, but I have bills to pay just like the rest of the working class.

This is not a Hollywood boondoggle. This is the livelihood of thousands of people.

Save MA FILM JOBS

I’ve been working in the television and film industry in Massachusetts since 2002. I work on documentaries, TV programs, and nonprofit and corporate videos, many of which have been funded by the Massachusetts film tax incentive. Because of the film tax incentive, I was able to work even when the economy crashed in 2008 and 2009 — it funded documentary projects on which I worked as an assistant editor (managing files for the editor) and a camera assistant. I regularly worked 19-hour days, but I didn’t have to file for foreclosure on my home in Malden. I was able to pay my mortgage solely because of projects funded by the film tax incentive.

The documentary and reality TV projects that are funded by the film tax incentive employed me and gave me the opportunity to grow my career and  build a successful small business as a freelance cinematographer (camera person). I, in turn, employ sound recordists, camera assistants, lighting assistants, and editors on the projects I do. I rent and purchase equipment from local companies like Talamas Broadcast (in business for thirty years in Newton) and Rule Boston Camera. Our businesses thrive due to the amount of production that is coming into this state because of the film tax incentive.

I’m not in a union and I don’t work on feature films. I have been a Massachusetts resident for nearly thirteen years. If this film tax incentive is modified or eliminated, you will put me out of work. Whenever the film tax incentive is threatened, the number of calls I receive diminishes significantly — and I do not work on big-budget feature films. When you talk about eliminating this tax incentive, you will be putting thousands of Massachusetts residents out of work — people who work on NOVA and American Experience; people who shoot and edit museum videos at Northern Light Productions (which has been in business for over 25 years); people who work for Ben Loeterman Productions (Ben lives in Newton) and Larry Hott Productions (Larry is in western Massachusetts); people who work on shows on Discovery ID, Lifetime and TLC; and people who work in our industry rental houses. You will kill off a growing industry. The overwhelming number of people who benefit from the film tax incentive are Massachusetts companies, and a number of projects that come into town because of the film tax incentive employ your constituents. Please don’t put us out of work.

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