Category Archives: Equipment Technician

Hi, my name is Tim Hughes, and I am the dolly technician at High Output in Canton. Also, I am a freelance video/photo editor. Being a dolly tech, a lot of my knowledge and work goes towards films and other project that will be affected by the elimination of the film tax incentive. I am just one of a vast number of hardworking people who love making films happen — films that bring a lot of money to not only the people working directly on set, but also catering services, local businesses, and transportation services, people who have a trade and work very hard at it to make a living. Please reconsider eliminating the tax incentive not only for how it will affect people financially, but for the fact that a lot of great people have a passion for the art of bringing scripts to life.

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On Tuesday, November 4, 2015, Martha Coakley’s campaign managers peeked out from pipe and drape on a poorly lit stage being broadcast on all the local television stations. The scene couldn’t have been better lit by a first year film student trying to capture the mood and outcome of the evening.

Across town in a hotel ballroom by the waterfront, Charlie Baker’s campaign managers had quite a different feeling. Cameras and news crews swarmed in on a white balanced and perfectly lit stage. They received crisp, clear audio from the press boxes. Party goers enjoyed music from a DJ as video monitors that were sprinkled around the room displayed results of an election soon to be over, its victor the Republican candidate for governor.

The race was close, and though he did not get to make the speech he wanted to that night, the scene looked and sounded like victory party. One might ask why. The answer is because of the professional film and production equipment provided by High Output, a company owned and operated in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a company whose employees and families depend largely on the film industry to be able to provide such services in Massachusetts and keep those dollars in the commonwealth.

My name is Kevin Boldwin. As a special events project manager, I may not work directly for the film industry, but it works for me. Our clients in the theater and special events world benefit from the unique equipment and skill set specifically developed in the film world. We are able to offer them unique solutions because of this, giving us an edge in a highly competitive industry.

I must admit, I am not a huge fan of giving breaks to large corporations, and I feel no sympathy when they are asked to pay taxes in full. However, I think eliminating the film tax incentive means Massachusetts will be overlooked by those big budget films that could shoot anywhere yet choose to bring that revenue here. Perhaps a different perspective could be to look at the tax incentive as an investment in future business in this state. From my understanding, this is not money we have to pay, it’s just not as much money as we could be collecting.To eliminate it would be to say: Give us more money or we don’t want your business. Business that creates jobs. Jobs that we need.

I was there on that night in November. I set up the stage, focused the light, and pushed the faders on the sound desk. Not for any political reason, not for any ideology, but for the sole purpose of earning a living and contributing to this great state. Getting rid of the tax incentive may not eliminate my job, but it will likely have great consequences for many people I work with and respect. That night, I saw the sea change. I just hope these waters don’t erode the foundation of a thriving industry in our state.

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My name is Aaron Barbatti. I have been working with/for High Output Inc. for almost three years. I am a live event specialist. My department is part of a larger company that is going to be dramatically affected by the removal of this film tax incentive. Many of the people I work with everyday will have to change the way they take care of themselves and their families. Please don’t let this happen to the hardworking people of the Massachusetts film industry.

Oscar2My name is Oscar Escartin, and I have been working in the local Massachusetts film/TV industry for over ten years now. Most of that has been spent working at High Output, which is currently New England’s largest film and theatre rental house. I would say that when I started back in 2003, it was more than just a job — it was an expansion of my film and TV education. It is one of the very, very few places where recent grads can get good hands-on experience with what real big-budget film and theatrical equipment feels like.

Without a tax incentive, this work eventually will go away, and so will film studies programs at many Massachusetts universities. As an incoming employee, I was able to grow and expand my knowledge of the industry, thanks to the tight-knit group of High Output staff and personnel, both past and present. A majority of these people have become my best friends and feel like family. Breaking this apart would be a loss for so many people, and it would trickle down to a great many other mom-and-pop shops that thrive on this business around Massachusetts and surrounding areas.

The majority of close friends I have are friends with families and kids. They support their loved ones with the revenue that the films that shoot in New England generate. Sometimes that income can be very unpredictable, since the number of movies that come shoot in this great state varies from season to season. For that reason alone we need every bit of support to get MORE films to shoot here, not fewer. Especially during the winter months.

Massachusetts has real potential in becoming a serious bustling film state with more studios and production houses potentially opening up shop and creating a healthy monetary flow for the state.

The film industry around here isn’t just some small idea that failed. It is thriving and can’t be ignored. And it’s here to stay. It would be absolutely devastating and an insult if the film tax incentive ended.

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My name is Michael Moran. I was born in Brighton, MA, raised in Framingham, and currently live in Dorchester. I am not a movie star or studio executive, but I do have a career in the film and television industry. I have a full-time job at High Output in Canton, where I am in charge of five large trucks worth of lighting and electrical equipment for local film, TV, and commercial productions.

In 2002, I begrudgingly moved to Los Angeles, as opportunities for making a lasting film career in Massachusetts were very slim. If a movie took place here, typically a crew would come in for a week or two to get some exterior footage and then head to Los Angeles, North Carolina, or Canada to get the bulk of their work done in a more production-friendly environment. Thanks to the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit, I returned to Massachusetts in 2009, when there were more movies being shot here than in California. Finally, I could make a career in my home state!

Thousands of people like me have been able to start families, build careers, buy houses, and pay taxes in the Bay State thanks to the film tax incentives. It is people like us, hardworking local professionals, that have benefitted most directly from its implementation. And we are by no means the only ones that have benefitted. As anyone who has spent time on or near a film set can attest, many millions of dollars are pumped into local vendors and service providers during production. Movies, television shows, and commercials require office space and supplies, equipment rentals, hotel rooms, catering, furniture, lumber, tools, paint, greenery, automotive rentals, fuel, security guards, electricity, heating, air conditioning, generators, sanitation, IT support, accounting, dry cleaning, and a few dozen other services on a daily basis. All of this is good for Bay State business.

The Commonwealth also benefits from having Massachusetts locations displayed on screens all around the world. Not only do audiences full of future visitors get to see our famous sights, but our varied geography and talented crew base allow Massachusetts to stand in for locations as far-flung as the Midwest (The Judge), New Jersey (American Hustle), Alaska (The Proposal) and Japan (The Sea of Trees, due out later this year). Studios could have spent their millions in those places, but they chose us instead. We made the most sense. This was nearly unthinkable ten years ago.

Governor Baker wants to help working families. While his intention is noble, eliminating the film tax credit will have the opposite effect. Thousands of working families will suffer. Studios will immediately look to other states to get a better deal, just as they did when former governor Deval Patrick merely proposed capping the FTC. Unemployment claims will surge instantly, houses won’t be bought, and taxes won’t be payed. A local industry that was born and flourished during The Great Recession will decline, as will the incalculable benefits to other Massachusetts businesses.

If you need proof of that, talk to the film community in North Carolina. For nearly thirty years, North Carolina had been an affordable alternative to Hollywood. Like us, they built studio facilities, an enviable talent base, and were blessed with varied landscapes to suit a wide variety of productions. Recently, their state government did away with film-friendly legislation. Productions (and their millions of dollars) swiftly vanished, and thousands of professionals and their families now face the prospect of leaving the state. They are moving to California, New York, Georgia, and Louisiana — states that have wisely invested in the future of cinema and television, two American exports that the world still eagerly consumes. Without the FTC, thousands of our friends, families, and neighbors will join the migration.

Bay Staters have worked tirelessly for years to make Massachusetts one of the best places to film, not just in America, but in the world. Our talent pool has deepened and widened, infrastructure and facilities have steadily expanded, and our reputation has improved immeasurably. Scores of local businesses have profited from the growth of our industry. To kill off that development would be tragic. I am a single man. I do not seek fame or glamour — just the ability to make a living in the state I call home. I do not yet have children or own a house, but I want them someday and I want them to be in Massachusetts. My roots, family, and career are here. I hope my future can be here as well.

Please save the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit.

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