Category Archives: Director of Photography (DP)

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I am a veteran of over 30 years in the film and television industry based here in Massachusetts. I have primarily shot for feature PBS documentaries and for local and national corporate clients.

Many of us – individuals, owner/operators, sole proprietors – find ourselves working more in our own state due to economic pressures that have capped travel overhead. The national and world economies have conspired to actually bring work to us here in Massachusetts. Our extensive investment in equipment continues to foster a stronger, more healthy service and support industry. Our collective small operations are certainly a meaningful tax payoff for Massachusetts.

The simple act of my hiring others to work with me as assistants and my being in a position to convince clients to hire locally in Massachusetts for quality and experience in the picture making, sound, lighting, make up, set design, etc. departments is reason enough to make the case for keeping the state tax incentive in place.

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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 Patrick Ruth. I’ve been working in the film business since 1991. We would typically see one or two films come through town for a week or less, getting establishing shots for a Boston “look,” while the rest of the film shot in Canada or somewhere else. Local crew was sparse and never given key positions.

The tax incentives have made a huge difference. We have a burgeoning infrastructure, and local crew members are working the set in positions from production assistant to key grips, gaffers and designers. We have grown exponentially. For my part, the incentives have allowed me to progress from lighting technician to camera operator and cinematographer. Local production companies, post houses, and vendors all benefit and are thriving with the film incentives.

Take the incentive away, and I will be working in NY away from my family and paying NY taxes. You will crush an industry about to come into its own, with healthcare benefits and family livelihoods at stake. No incentive, no productions or jobs. Just look how many films have shot in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont in the past ten years. Zero.

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My name is Martin Albert. I live in Massachusetts and work here and all over the country. I started in this industry in 1990 and have worked (mostly) steadily since then. It’s the only “real” job I’ve ever had.

My wife and I bought a house in the Berkshires in 2005; we have two great kids and two great dogs. Though I mostly work on commercials, I can absolutely feel the positive effect that the tax incentive has had. There are better-trained and larger local crews. There is much better access to great local gear that is keeping larger and larger amounts of the film spending in Massachusetts. You can make an entire picture here and import neither crew nor gear. This makes the benefit to the state even greater. The money comes in and doesn’t leave.

When we do work on our house, the money that I’ve made in the industry goes to those local builders. I’m looking to buy a new truck that I will buy at a Massachusetts dealer. I have camera gear that I use on jobs that I purchased from a local camera shop. Much of it resides at a camera rental shop in Boston that also gets rented to out-of-town companies who again are leaving their money in the state.

We are not Hollywood mucky mucks. We are a hardworking family that would like to keep making a living in a state that we proudly call home.

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My name is Corey Crockett, and I’m a freelance producer/shooter. I graduated from a Massachusetts state college in 2010 (the first in my family to receive a college degree), and have been steadily working in television since.

The majority of the TV shows I have worked on deal with construction and renovation. As a result, I have an entire drawer full of t-shirts from Massachusetts general contractors, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, roofers, etc. All of these local small businesses and companies have directly benefited from these shows after being hired for their expertise, and they continue to receive exposure for their business as these shows are rerun constantly.

My story is what everyone wants for Massachusetts — to keep our graduates here. I love what I do for work. It has paid for my vehicle, my wedding, and the house I hope to buy in the next year or two. If the film tax incentives are eliminated, available jobs in my field will dry up, and I will have to seriously reconsider whether I can purchase a home and put down roots here in Massachusetts.

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My name is Mark C. Helton. I have been a television cameraperson, going on 40 years now. I have been in Massachusetts for 27 of those years.

It might not look like the benefit is direct, but the indirect benefit of feature films, and TV shows coming to Massachusetts is huge! I stay here in Massachusetts because of the great crews, and because I can make a living here doing what I love to do. I put my son through a great Massachusetts college on the money that I have made here. We in this industry are people trying to make a living and support our families, just like everyone else out there. I hope that the powers that be will reconsider this change.

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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My name is Stephen McCarthy, and for more than 30 years, Boston has been my home base as a documentary cinematographer. I’m a native of Arlington, MA, and my teenaged daughter is a student in the Boston Public Schools. My work has taken me to every state in the Union and to more than 40 countries around the world. A thriving motion picture production community means that I’m able to draw on the knowledge, skills, and infrastructure of a mature, professional workforce that is on par with the area’s world-class scientific, academic, and artistic resources. It’s quite clear to me that the tax incentive has succeeded not only in attracting producers to the state to make movies but in sustaining a technologically sophisticated local community of filmmakers well-equipped to explain to the world the cutting-edge scientific, medical, and technology advances being made here.

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