Category Archives: Locations

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My name is Tim Gorman and I moved to Boston in 2002 after working in film production in Prague for a decade and have watched Massachusetts grow a thriving film industry which I have been proud to be a part of. In my role as a liaison between the film crew and the communities we film in, I have seen first hand the benefits bestowed upon the countless entities we write checks to: schools, churches, homeowners, businesses large and small.

I have also seen the hometown pride displayed by those who get a thrill out of having something filmed in their neighborhood. It’s these benefits, tangible and intangible, that will disappear if the tax incentives that draw filmmakers to our State go away. I have chosen to make Massachusetts my home and my wife and I are raising our children here. We too will likely have to go away if Governor Baker’s proposals are enacted.

 

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My name is Michael Ricci, and I am an assistant location manager and scout. I went to college for media arts and have always been passionate about film. I am very lucky to do what I love in the state of Massachusetts, where my family resides. I have worked on a range of projects in the Bay State and have seen firsthand how the tax incentive benefits our communities and our state. I truly love showing off this beautiful state. If the tax incentive is eliminated, I will be forced take my family to NY to pursue my career there instead.

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My name is Ben Dewey, and I have worked as a freelancer in the film industry since 1984. I have served as a line producer, unit production manager (UPM), production supervisor, assistant director, location manager, and scout. I have had the distinct privilege of working with many of the businesses and people on this website and remain deeply impressed by the depth and commitment of our production community. The stories on this website are simply fantastic and deeply moving.

I have seen all sides of the Massachusetts film tax incentive — the many lean years before its implementation, the pullback of work after its threatened cap in 2010, and the resurgence thereafter. From that 2010 episode, we all know that any threat to the tax incentive will send the work elsewhere in a flash. Look what has happened to North Carolina.

In the independent world, every budget I have prepared since the advent of the tax incentive is utterly dependent upon these monies. These films cannot be produced without the benefit of the film tax incentive.

There are multiplier effects for the film tax incentive that may be difficult to quantify but readily apparent. I disagree with the calculations employed by the DOR with regard to job creation and spending as those studies fail to capture the actual hiring and neglect the downstream effects of production spending from any and every type of business that one can imagine. A case in point would be the independent film The Last Harbor, which I line-produced in the fall of 2008 in Rockport and Gloucester. We employed over 125 people in the course of the production, which we will recall as a season of impending financial doom. While filming in December, we were hit by a storm, but had to keep to our schedule. The grips, electrics, and the rest of our crew spent $4,000 at the John Tarr store on Main Street during that day for foul-weather gear, monies that establishment would never have seen if we were not there working.

In my work as a location manager, I have supervised the giving — in terms of location rental fees, labor, business loss, holding and catering areas, parking, etc. — of far beyond $2,000,000 to private, public, and civic institutions. More than $200,000 has been spent with the Trustees of Reservations, $100,000 to colleges and universities, $100,000 to other public and private schools, $250,000 to churches of every denomination, and $75,000 to other civic associations and groups. Those institutions need this income. With regard to our state government, please consult with our ongoing production partner, the DCR, for their input on the donations that we have made during the years in which the film tax incentive has been in effect. Those donations have been extremely helpful for their operating budgets.

The politics of division are ugly in this context. The approach to support the EITC unquestionably has its merits, but not at the expense of an entire industry that employs all these families. Please let’s keep the film tax incentive working for everyone in Massachusetts.

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My name is Jamie Merz, and I am co-founder and owner of Good Natured Dog Productions.

I worked on my first film outside of college in 2008 in Worcester, MA, where I met my film family. I came from Ohio to Massachusetts to work in film, unlike many of my peers who left for LA or New York. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’ve risen through the ranks of production, purchased cars, rented apartments, and contributed to my adopted state in many ways, including starting a company here. None of this would have been remotely possible without the support the state gave to my industry of choice. The film tax incentive is a powerful piece of legislation and I urge you to fight to keep it going.

Peter-GobenAfter a 26-year career in broadcast television, I began working in the film industry (2013). The film industry gave me purpose when my chosen profession put me out due to the recession. In the short time I have been working in this industry, I have learned a lot and developed friendships that will last the rest of my life. I have a lot more to learn and hopefully more films to work on.

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My name is Karen. I have been in the business for almost 40 years, starting in NYC and moving here in 1981. At the time, I was a single mother trying to make a living in the film and commercial business. I had to travel out of state to make a living more times than I cared to, having to leave my son. When the film tax incentive was implemented, it brought in enough work that I didn’t have to travel out of state anymore. The film tax incentive is important to me as it allows me to stay home, be with my husband, and have a better quality of life here in Massachusetts.

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My name is John Whoriskey, Jr., and I am an assistant location manager. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. After high school, I moved to Orlando, FL, to go to college. Orlando was of course known as a major production hub in the 90s and early 2000s. By the time I began school, production in Florida was dying. The world-famous Universal Studios was basically a tourist attraction and Panavision (now gone completely) had only a handful of employees. All of this was a result of Florida placing a cap on their film tax credit (just placing a cap, not even eliminating it).

Upon graduation, I moved back to Massachusetts to be closer to my family and work here. This was a year that tested our local industry. Gov. Patrick merely proposed capping our FTC and it completely scared studios away. I was fortunate enough to get my first my first job rather quickly on the movie Sunny Side Up (now known as The Love Guide) through the help of the amazing Tim Van Patten at Central Booking Service (which has proved invaluable to countless productions and crew members in this state). I connected with the locations department on that movie and never looked back. Every year after 2010, we have had more productions come in. Our business is rapidly growing in Massachusetts.

Working in the locations department, I have seen directly not only the number of people that actually work on a movie (crew, extras, etc.), but also the amount of money that is constantly being dispersed to neighborhoods, towns, cities, and countless other businesses and services. This list goes on and on, and the benefits are both tangible and intangible. On top of every single person on the payroll paying directly into Massachusetts income taxes while on the clock, we are — while off the clock — eating at local restaurants, buying clothing to survive a 16-hour day in a torrential downpour from local retailers, or going to the movies to see the results of our hard work and dedication to our industry.

I’ve been fortunate enough to continually work in the industry that I went to college for and the one that I grew up dreaming of being a part of. All of this has been made possible by the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit. If there is NO film tax credit, the studios WILL go elsewhere. It happened in Florida. It happened in California. None of us can afford for it happen here.

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My name is Jason Fritz; I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and have worked in the film industry for ten years. I started in the industry in New York City, but it was the increased production, driven by the tax incentives, that allowed me to bring my family back to Massachusetts.

For those who say the money isn’t spent in the state, I offer this: My job is to interface with the communities in which we film. On a recent project, we filmed in Chelsea for four days. I personally made deals, requested payment, and handed out checks totaling over $230,000. All of that money was spent in the community of Chelsea in the form location fees to residents, compensation for driveway rentals, lighting positions, crew parking lots, catering hall rentals, and police and fire details. This is not a hypothetical trickle-down business; all we do is spend money every single day.

For those that think the movies will continue to come without the incentives, I offer this: I am often the first crew member hired, months before anybody else. When I receive the script from the studio or producer it is almost always written for a different city. It is written for New York, LA, even Miami. By the time the rest of the crew gets the script, it has been changed to Boston. Why, because it doesn’t matter. There are very few movies that actually depend on where it is shot. The studio is driven by the bottom line. Half of The Departed, a quintessential Boston movie, was shot in New York, because — at the time — it was cheaper to film there. Bottom line: if there are no incentives, productions will not shoot here.

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My name is Ryan Cook and I’ve been working in the locations department here in the Boston area since 2008. When I graduated Emerson College, all of my classmates were moving to LA, but because of the Massachusetts film tax incentives, I was able to get work here at home and stay close to my family. Seven years later, I’ve gotten married, established a career, and have firmly planted my roots in the Massachusetts community. If the film tax incentive were to go away, unfortunately my wife (who is a nurse at MGH) and I would have to move.

I’ve attached a picture of myself (right) and the newest addition to the locations world, Ben Stoll (left). Ben is just about to graduate from Emerson College and because of the Massachusetts film tax incentives, I was able to give him work last summer on Black Mass. Ben has now decided NOT to move to LA or NYC, but to stay here and become a part of the local crew and a member of our community. It’s people like Ben and me that prove the tax incentive is working. People are choosing either to stay here or move here because of the work the incentive provides. In turn, we’re putting the money we make right back into the local economy.

Lastly, it’s very important for people know that the locations department budget is spent entirely on the local economy. From paying owners of locations, to hiring police and fire department details, to renting church halls for catering and parking, to donations to neighborhood groups, and paying local vendors for tents and bathrooms … all of our money gets injected directly into the businesses and people who need it most. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve handed over a check and had the response, “You have no idea how much this means to me.” The thing is, I do. I can see how much of a difference we’re making while we go about our work. Please don’t take that away from us.

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My name is Tyler Cox. I was born and raised here in Massachusetts. I work in the locations department for feature films.

I have always dreamed of working in the film industry. I did not attend college; I couldn’t afford it. I was trying to find any way to get to film school. I worked construction and saved my money. I looked for scholarships or night classes. I scored a production assistant gig on an overnight shoot at Coogan’s Bar in Boston. It was there that I met Ryan Cook and my life was changed forever.

In the last two years, I have worked on seven feature films, two pilots, a TV show, and six commercials — all of this without having to leave the comfort of my hometown. I have seen firsthand how we help communities. I’ve watched our craft service companies walk into small family shops and buy hundreds of sandwiches for the crew. I’ve seen underdressed crew members walk into stores and clean the shelves of coats and rain gear. It’s sad but true, but without the tax incentive, these movies would no longer come to Boston. And my friends, my colleagues, and I would no longer have work, or would have to travel for months on end without seeing our families to get work. Save the Massachusetts film tax incentive. Save our livelihoods. Continue to make dreams like mine a reality.

 

save-ma-film-jobs_0165My name is Mike Buonanno, and I’ve been working locations for almost six years. Unfortunately, there was an attempt to cap the tax credit by Governor Deval Patrick in 2010, and even though he was not successful, the work declined significantly. Thankfully, Body of Proof came to Rhode Island and breathed life into us while we all waited for another big job to come. The Rhode Island tax incentive went under review at the end of Body of Proof, and that alone stopped the studios from considering Rhode Island as a film location until that got sorted out.

R.I.P.D. was the next big job. I believe the locations department spent $90,000 just on fire detail at the stage! Working in locations, we get to put money directly into the cities and towns we film in: the churches for holding and catering; the parking lots or garages for crew parking; the neighbors for inconvenience fees, cable runs, window dressings; the local police and firemen for traffic control; and — not to mention — the actual location we film at.

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