Category Archives: Gaffer

image6

My name is Michael Federico. I work mainly in the Grip and Electric departments on shorts and features. The MA film tax incentive keeps me doing what I love for a living.

DSC02640

My name is Moishe Moyer, and I’ve been a gaffer in the film business since 1980. My daughter has grown up in Hanover, MA, where we moved in 1998, into an old shipyard on the North River that we have rebuilt and loved every day (except this past winter). We, as entertainment workers, are responsible for manufacturing the United States’ largest export: entertainment. We, as a union and a community, have done whatever it takes over the years, including lowering wages, to keep the industry on home soil. We need the support.

10420294_10152612697497666_1142429349335916511_n

I’ve only been working professionally for a year now after getting my MFA at Boston University, but I own a house here in Massachusetts and I plan to stay. I have met so many good people working in this industry, and, if the tax credits go away, most or all of the big jobs will too. A lot of my friends and colleagues will have to leave Massachusetts, but those of us who can’t or won’t leave will struggle. I know a lot of us have invested a lot here in Massachusetts in education and equipment and will continue to do so as long as the tax incentive sticks around.

John-D.-and-his-kidsMy name is John, and I work in the film business in this state. I support a family of four, own a home with a mortgage, and pay taxes here. I regularly use local vendors who have invested heavily in equipment rental and services for hardware and other supplies. I also recommend other specialty local services, caterers, and hotels, as well as resorts and recreation for off hours, all of whom have grown and invested in their businesses here as a result.The Massachusetts film tax incentive has the continued potential to truly build a sustainable film industry here — one that serves not only out-of-state productions, but also productions that originate right here, especially as the growing concentration of film craft people stays here. The film industry here as backed by the state is no different than any state initiative to attract biotech or car manufacturing. In fact, providing tax incentives for the film industry here is a far better concept than the state allowing a net negative cash flow out of the state from gambling establishment licensing.

Holt_Family_Composite_sm

My name is Guy Holt, and I am a gaffer (chief lighting technician), father, homeowner, and Massachusetts taxpayer. I started working in film in Massachusetts in the mid-1980s. At that time, there was no film industry in Massachusetts to speak of, so I waited tables and worked in sales for several years while I built a lighting business — first out of my basement and then in the coal bin of an old mill in Arlington. I would have to go to the Dunkin’ Donuts to use the restroom or return pages. I eventually began to find regular work, lighting historical recreations and interviews for documentaries produced by or for WGBH. I was able to buy a house and start a family, but then the economy tanked and the amount of production dropped off. There were many times that I thought I would have to uproot my young family and leave the state in order to continue to do the work I am passionate about and support my family.

But then the film tax incentives were implemented and the local creative economy took off, which has enabled me to put my first two children through college. I won’t be able to give my youngest the same educational opportunities the other two had if Gov. Baker is successful in eliminating the incentives.

From my perspective, what has been missing from this debate thus far is the recognition that the incentives also support the production of quality television programming here in Massachusetts. The qualifying threshold to earn film tax credits was set low, at $50,000, so that local documentary and educational television production companies could benefit from the incentives as well. WGBH locally produces the “best television on television,” including such lauded programs as Masterpiece Theatre, American Experience, Frontline, Nova, and Antiques Roadshow, as well as children’s educational programming like Postcards From Buster. If we include production companies producing for The Learning Channel, The History Channel, The Nature Channel, and HBO, nearly three million dollars of tax credits went to supporting a vibrant and nationally recognized educational and documentary production community in Boston in 2013 alone. Without a doubt, the film tax incentives have made WGBH the flagship station of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and have helped create Boston’s image nationally and internationally as the Athens of America. I feel that is worth supporting.

save-ma-film-jobs_0195My name is Jim Hirsch. After graduating in 1981 with a degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, I started work in Boston in the local film business. Initially a set carpenter, I changed my focus to the electric department and began to work as a gaffer in 1983. Eventually, I teamed up with John Cini and, in 1986, we founded High Output, Inc., now New England’s largest lighting and grip company. Shortly after, we opened Charles River Studios. I have worked on feature films, but most of my work has been on tons of TV shows and thousands of television commercials. Since starting my professional life, I’ve lived in Brookline with my beautiful wife and two wonderful daughters.

Before the film tax incentive, the Massachusetts market had an occasional feature film and usually just a portion of the production was shot here. The film tax incentive changed everything, taking what was a small commercial market to a major filmmaking industry.  It’s all about the jobs. This industry created thousands of lucrative direct hires and countless indirect jobs at companies like mine. Naysayers complain about the portion of the credit that goes out of state. What’s important is not what leaves, but what stays, and it’s overwhelmingly a benefit for the state. I have seen criticisms of the box office revenue of some our larger films. We make our living making the film, hoping it does well, but that outcome doesn’t affect our income. Everyone in the industry knows that if the film tax incentive is eliminated, we will go back to the small business we had before.  Where does that leave the hardworking crew?

save-ma-film-jobs_0186

Hi. My name is Mo Flam, and I am a chief lighting technician (gaffer). I have been working in the film industry for more than 35 years and in Massachusetts for the past five years. During that time, I have had the privilege of working with some of the finest craftspeople I have met any where in the world.

I moved to Massachusetts because my family lives here, and it is a place I truly love. Before moving to Massachusetts, I worked in New York, a state that has a huge tax incentive that has created a massive industry that has benefited many people. I hope the governor reconsiders his ill-advised proposal to repeal the incentive.

11025229_10206270486344402_2447108624160833503_n

I am Frans Weterrings, owner of Red Herring MPL, Inc. and Red Sky Studios, father, husband, and Massachusetts resident. As a small business owner, I pay rent, insurance, employees, electricity, and taxes for my company. I also work on films, commercials, and television shows and live in Medfield, MA. I chose to live and start a company here instead of California because Massachusetts has a great incentive and I could support my family.

I fail to understand how anyone would not see the that film tax incentive is working. If you are one of the Massachusetts towns that has had the chance to be featured in any shoot, you see the benefits. Everyone wants to talk about the money that leaves, but how about the millions that are invested in our towns and businesses?

T A K E   A C T I O N
F O L L O W
L O C A L   F A C E S
L O C A L   B U S I N E S S