Category Archives: Producer

11081205_10152906927344121_2839784531970334842_nMy name is Ashaki “Saki” Fenderson. I was born and raised in Boston. I left my hometown to learn the craft of filmmaking, but returned to Boston in the mid-90s only to be greeted by a lull in the film/video production industry. I remember the frustration and grind for work. I remember the struggle of coming from the Roxbury and Dorchester communities without the financial support to remain in such a unconventional and inconsistent industry.

At the time of my return, Boston was competing with NYC, Canada and, at one point, New Orleans and Providence — all cities which “subbed” for Boston because of their tax incentives. The boon created by the film tax incentive has not only benefited crew members with steady income, but also home owners and businesses in lower-income communities, including Roxbury, Lowell, and Chelsea. Large studios have come to the state with rentals that home owners and local businesses could never have received from most other industries.

Supporting the film tax incentive is not an issue of offering a tax break to big studios but rather supporting careers for Massachusetts residents and opportunities for local businesses…same as every other industry coming to the state.

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I’m a local first-time director, working on Olancho, a documentary about a group of musicians who perform for drug cartels in Honduras, which is the most murderous country in the world. Having finished shooting, my co-producer and I are now moving into post-production here in Boston, where I was born and raised.

Though Boston has a vibrant, budding film community, we constantly feel the pull of New York City, where a vast community and infrastructure for film provides endless resources. With this balance so off-kilter, the Massachusetts film tax incentive is a big reason for our choosing to stay here in Boston. Without it, we’d be more inclined to move down to Brooklyn to finish post-production.

 

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My name is Tiffany Crosby and I am a SAG-AFTRA actress, producer, and comedian in Massachusetts. I started living my dream in 2010 with the goal to make storytelling a living and I knew that getting my SAG-AFTRA card was a must. To say that the Massachusetts film tax incentive helped me achieve that goal is a HUGE understatement. Because of the draw of the Incentive, Paul Feig brought The Heat to Boston in 2012, and I was given the unforgettable experience of being Melissa McCarthy’s stand-in and got my SAG-AFTRA card with flying colors! As “actor-preneurs,” my husband and I thrive when films come to town. The Massachusetts film tax incentive helps working-class people like me get off the ramen diet and eat some pretty stellar set food during shooting!

It is because I am following my dream to tell stories and make a difference that my family has become inspired to follow and find their inner champion. Please don’t let Massachusetts be just another stepping stone for the dreamers searching for their inner champion. Let them stand strong and say IT IS HAPPENING IN MASSACHUSETTS!

JenSSMFJMy name is Jennifer Sargent, and I am a freelance film/video producer who works primarily on commercials. I started my career in LA over 15 years ago. I met my husband and moved home to Boston. I have been able to stay busy and work on more and more large-scale productions. My husband is a touring musician and, since he is on the road quite a bit, I have tried to make sure I am home to take care of the family. If we both have to be on the road, our girl will not get the attention and love that all kids need. I don’t want to have to travel outside of Massachusetts to find work. There is so much here! And since the film tax incentive has been in effect, I have seen so many businesses thrive. I want to keep the crews that I hire working in Massachusetts. Thanks to all who are fighting this battle, and let’s keep the incentive!

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My name is Jenny Glanville, and I’m a producer. Born and raised in New England, it is a pleasure to stay true to my roots and be able to do what I love. The film tax incentive is what allows me to do that.

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Hi. My name is Eric D’Amario, and I’m an executive producer at Redtree Productions. I live in Holliston, MA, with my wife and two children. I was raised in Springfield, MA, graduated from Fitchburg State College’s film/communication department, and landed an internship at Redtree, which turned into a 15-year (and counting) career. From a personal and business perspective, I have seen firsthand how the Massachusetts film incentive has positively impacted the state and the film community as a whole.

For a local production company like Redtree, we are able to bring projects that would normally shoot elsewhere to Massachusetts, because there is an incentive in place which enables us to offer more “bang for the buck” — a ten-hour day that becomes a twelve, or a two-day shoot that becomes a four-day package. The incentive also brings in production companies from other markets, including New York and Los Angeles, because they too realize the savings they can extend to their clients, and because we have the tools and infrastructure to produce large-scale work with local assets. The crew, equipment, vendor, actor, and post-production base that exists here enables us to deliver a product of the highest level across the board. While there has always been commercial production work here, there are now many more projects and work opportunities because of the incentive.

It’s not only “Hollywood” that benefits from the film tax incentives. Sure, they come for the incentive and added profits, but they leave the majority of the money behind, spending it HERE. If the Massachusetts film tax incentive goes away, Hollywood will be just fine. They’ll move along to the next state that wants their business and understands that it’s an investment more than an expense.

We are ones who will suffer: the Massachusetts residents who rely on this work to pay our bills and feed our families; the freelance crew that may have to consider moving out of state to follow the work or consider a complete change in career; the local businesses, retail stores, hotels, and restaurants that will see their businesses hurt by the drastic and sudden loss of business and likely be forced to reduce staff as a result. It’s not as black and white as the press is making it out to be, and I can only hope that the “big picture” is considered, as well as the impact on the state as a whole.

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My name is Mary Bosley, and I’ve been fortunate to be a working member of the Massachusetts film community for more than 20 years. I’ve worked on commercials, feature films, corporate pieces, music videos, web projects, and more. I’ve worked in production, locations, props, and wardrobe. I’m proud to work amongst some of the hardest working and most creative thinkers in the film business. Our crew members are skilled, smart, resourceful, and resilient. They are my colleagues and your neighbors.

I’ve worked on hundreds of commercials and, as a line producer, I am responsible for the working budget of a project. There are 329 lines in a standard commercial budget. Each line represents a dollar amount spent on a person, place, or thing. On commercials shot in Massachusetts, that translates to direct revenue shared with individuals and small businesses across the commonwealth. Keeping the film tax incentive is important to retain both this revenue and our hardworking colleagues.

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As a resident of Massachusetts and a producer at Northern Light Productions, a film production company located in Allston, MA, I can assure you that the Massachusetts film tax incentive has been a boon to the film production community in our commonwealth.

Massachusetts is home to some of the most prestigious film schools in the nation, yet before 2006, we were a state that exported much of our filmmaking talent to Toronto, New York, and California.

All of this changed in 2006 with the initiation of the commonwealth’s film tax incentive program. As a result, since 2006, the state has captured thousands of taxpaying filmmakers and new small businesses that otherwise would have left the state or would have never come into existence. Beyond this, there are many other Massachusetts individuals and entities that would have never benefited from our vibrant media production community, from caterers to actors to costume supply companies, for example.

In summary, the film tax incentive is not for Hollywood — it’s for Massachusetts residents and for Massachusetts businesses like the one for which I work.

It’s for me.

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My name is Cindy Gengras, and I’ve been fortunate to be a working member of the Boston film community for the past 25 years. I’m a producer/production manager working on commercials, photo shoots, and mixed media projects. I love what I do, and it puts a smile on my face every work morning when I wake up. We work very hard and, yes, there are some days that are tougher to face than others….but, in the end, it’s all good in so many ways.

Our business touches so many aspects of the Massachusetts economy that if we made a film to cover it all, you’d be watching something akin to the seven-part John Adams mini-series. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do in life — this is it! — and it all came together here in Massachusetts.

Film work in this state has made so much possible for our family — my husband, son, and myself — including owning a home and putting our son through college. The film tax incentive has effected a monumental change in the Massachusetts film industry; it touches and enhances so many people and businesses of every shape and size. Let’s keep moving in THIS direction.

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My name is Carlyne Fournier, and I am a producer, director, actor, and voice over artist. I live and breath this industry. There is not one day of the year that I am not working on one project or another in this VERY state. I take pride in projects that promote awareness and change on social issues, using the power of the media. But I also work on fictional creative work with a large number of directors and producers. I often find myself working on two or three productions at a time — and very thankful to be.

Aside from affecting me, taking away the film tax incentive program would hurt countless businesses, services, professionals, and families that I have come to work closely with in the last seven years, all of whom offer an important piece of the puzzle needed for each production (major or small). I don’t see why it is so hard for policy makers to understand that, for the cost of having a tax incentive program in the state, we actually pour a tremendous amount of money into our very own economy and create jobs all year long.

When a production company decides to shoot in Massachusetts, they hire, buy, or rent people, equipment, space, trailers, etc. for the production. Adding to that is a very long list of services that are needed for the productions and actors as well (such as casting agencies, food catering, hotel, transport, police details, MUA, and SFX, to name a few), which again pour MORE money into our economy. Furthermore, when such productions packs their bags and leave, WE still all pay income taxes right here. Isn’t this a win/win situation? We need to stop looking at the immediate cost of having such programs and look at the long-term benefits of it all.

Taking away the film tax incentive this early in the game would jeopardize the whole industry that we take such pride in promoting and representing. Didn’t we just build a $42 million studio in Devens? Can we give it a chance to thrive? Eliminating the tax incentive does not hurt Hollywood productions (they just will go someplace else) — it hurts Massachusetts families!

We all have to make it a priority to speak up and save the film tax incentive program before it’s too late.

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My name is Margie Sullivan. I am an Emerson alum, an executive producer at Redtree Productions, and current president of the Massachusetts Production Coalition. My husband is John Kaplan, also an Emerson alum and a 30-year grip in Local 481. We both come from the New York metropolitan area, but decided to raise our children here in Massachusetts. Our daughter Anna is now an assistant post producer, and our son Jack will be interning this summer in the business. We are not “Hollywood fat cats.”
It is essential to keep the film tax incentive in place for production in Massachusetts. Film is a business. Producers will go where they get the best for their dollar. As beautiful as Massachusetts is, we will lose out to states with better incentives. The industry has grown over the past ten years and has created thousands of jobs. It has injected cash into small businesses and towns across the Commonwealth. Without the film tax incentive, this two-generation industry family will have to consider moving out of state. There will be no work here.

 

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My name is Stephanie Roulic, and I am the marketing manager and a producer for Good Natured Dog Productions, a start-up video production agency. I am a huge supporter of the film industry staying here in Massachusetts. For nine out of twelve months a year, the film industry brings a tremendous amount of business to Massachusetts. What most don’t realize is that although Hollywood will fly their A-level team (producer, director, director of photography, etc.) out to Massachusetts for a particular movie, they employee hundreds of locals to work on set per film. Not only is the film industry creating jobs in Massachusetts, they’re buying supplies from local vendors, renting local office buildings and hotel rooms, and ordering food from local caterers. So, with all of the jobs and revenue Hollywood films are creating for local Massachusetts businesses, what’s the reason for taking away the tax incentive?

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I’m Blythe Robertson, an independent producer who has lived in Charlestown for 19 years. I began my career in the film business in Boston working on documentaries and features as an assistant production coordinator. Over the past few years, I’ve produced a number of independent films and am currently developing an upcoming feature that is set in Boston. We are planning to shoot here next year and the goal is to employ as many local crew members and actors as we possibly can. Sadly, if the Massachusetts film tax incentive is eliminated, we will have no choice but to relocate the project to a state that offers an incentive.

Film tax incentives are found in many other states that have been able to build a thriving movie business. It’s a cold, hard fact that any state that cuts their incentive sees film business dry up almost immediately. Just ask North Carolina. Let’s give the hardworking folks of Massachusetts opportunities for employment, not take them away.

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When Governor Baker announced his plan to kibosh the film tax incentive, I was floored. Yet in the face of despair, everyone here recognized the severity of the threat, and the immediacy of the action required, and reacted. I am blown away and inspired by the response of this collective, but not surprised. It is this sense of community and kindred spirit for filmmaking that drew me to this industry in the first place.

I started in 2010 in the editing booth; from there, my interests quickly spread to colorist, compositing, directing, and producing as well. My wife, Cate Carson, and I started our company, Sensorium Pictures, in 2011 and have been learning via the school of hard knocks since. We are finally reaching the point where we are producing pieces that qualify for the tax credit, and contrary to Gov. Baker’s belief, it is an important deciding factor for us moving forward.

It is very difficult to procure finances for a film. Telling a client that 25% of the budget is a GUARANTEED return is huge when it comes to mitigating investment risk. For us, not having this would most likely be a deal-breaker. There is an ever-expanding infrastructure for film growing right here in our home state, with potential for so much more. And other companies have seen it, too. I remember last year at a BOSCPUG meet, a gentleman from Boston-based Zero VFX said they decided to set up shop here in part because of the growing film economy. Unfortunately, eliminating the tax incentive would be a severe detriment to this end. I am lucky to call Massachusetts my home state. With our rich culture and history, it is an ideal spot for many films, although I think our governor underestimates how important the tax incentives is to our future and to our community HERE, not just Hollywood.

One final note: I understand Gov. Baker wanting to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. I do not take kindly, however, to his comment that he wants to send a signal that he believes in “supporting people who are working real hard to get ahead.” Since I cannot afford to be a full-time filmmaker as of yet, like many of you out there, I work a “pay-the-bills” job in construction. Then I come home, and work on the several projects that are always on our plate at any one time. The point is, we work hard; we all work very hard. The governor’s comment was not only a bit insulting, but tells me that he is unaware of that fact that he will be distressing an entire region of working professionals.

 

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I am Federico Muchnik and I have never worked on a major Hollywood feature made in Massachusetts. Yet I am the beneficiary of the tax incentive, having written, produced, directed, and edited a feature film called This Killing Business here in Boston. The budget of the film was in the high five figures and much of that money was spent on paying cast and crew for their services. For starters, let me say I am enormously proud of this film which premiered at the BIFF (Loews Boston Common) and was then distributed by Filmbox/Arthouse.

The camaraderie, professionalism, talent, focus, and endurance (the film was made incrementally over a one year period) brought to the project by cast and crew has provided me with positive memories to last a lifetime.

Second of all, after wrapping the project, I learned through a pal that my film was eligible for the tax incentive, retroactively, and for a considerable amount. Wow, I thought … where do I sign up? I’ve begun the process — working with an experienced film tax incentive accountant — and I’ve submitted my application. To be frank, if I am approved (and there’s every reason to believe I will be), I’ll be very pleased.  The point is that I am encouraged to continue producing in Massachusetts. I know I’m not David O. Russell, chock full of money and responsible for generating millions of dollars of ancillary business, but in my own small way, my cast, my crew, and I all benefit from the tax credit.

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My name is Stephen Marchessault, and I am an entertainment producer, casting manager, and accountant clerk for some of the shows coming to and working in Massachusetts. I work on independent films/projects and also on Hollywood sets when I can. Seeing and working in the business in Massachusetts has opened up my eyes on how communities grow and stay connected. Working with local businesses helps projects move forward both financially and creatively. Film is a teamwork industry!

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My name is Tara and I’m a producer/director, but spent much of my career in production management. I moved back to Boston in 1998 after working in Los Angeles for multiple studios and post houses for four years. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the variety of filming happening in the Commonwealth. Over the past 17 years, I have watched this production community grow substantially and blossom into a thriving industry. Many of my colleagues, who normally would have gone to New York or LA, have decided to stay here because there have been enough jobs to support that choice. That wasn’t always the case.

It’s mind-boggling to see how far we’ve come, especially over the past ten years, and it has a ripple effect. When studios and production companies come into Massachusetts to film and a have great experience with a talented crew base, that news spreads. Massachusetts has finally earned it’s reputation as a wonderfully user-friendly and varied landscape for filming.

At my last production staff job, we were able to take on several national public service announcement campaigns because of the tax incentive. Those projects could have been produced in other states. But we could bid and secure the job knowing that, on the back end, there were some savings. In the meantime, we were able to employ 15 to 30 crew members on each job, and provide production support business to caterers, drivers, props houses, restaurants, port-a-potty companies, mobile home and van rentals, police details, art supply stores, grip and electric rentals, camera package rentals, costume shops, dry cleaners, hardware stores and home goods outlets. There is a direct correlation between the film tax incentive and people being able to sustain a living here. Equally important, it provides a source of revenue to countless local businesses.

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My name is Cate Carson and I started working in film in 2010 after being honorably discharged from the Navy. I continue to work in law enforcement, and am also juggling running an independent film company, Sensorium Pictures, as well. The goal this year is to transition to film full-time, and I feel I deserve to have this chance as I have served my country for 15 years and now want to follow my passion.

If this tax incentive goes, there’s absolutely no way for me to work here as an actor, never mind as a filmmaker. There is an excellent infrastructure here, now more than ever, and this translates to more productions on both the independent (like my company) and studio levels. We have projects that, once financed, will provide countless local cast and crew with jobs. In addition, we will be utilizing stages, catering businesses, housing accommodations/hotels, printing services, transportation services, and the numerous other types of resources that are required for each production. BUT, if this tax incentive leaves the state, we won’t be able to survive here. With other states offering tax incentives, quite simply, we won’t be able to afford staying in this wonderful community, or bringing films back to the area once we get financing in other places.

The loss of the tax incentive means more and more people will be uprooted from their lives and their families, because there will be no sustainable jobs. This will wipe out an ENTIRE INDUSTRY, which will have a domino effect and cause hardship to other local industries.

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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 Mike Bowes and I am a Cambridge-based producer. I am a lifelong resident of the Commonwealth and live with my wife and amazing three-year-old son just five miles from the home where I grew up. I have been a part of the local film community for 17 years.

I’m a graduate of UMass Amherst’s communications program. Prior to the film tax incentives, I had a second, non-film-industry, job to make ends meet. Though I was surviving, without a doubt I would not have the home and family I so cherish without the steady flow of work brought into the Commonwealth by the incentives. They are what’s keeping my family and me in the place where we were born, raised, and educated.

In my job, I am charged with the responsibilities of creating and managing production budgets. On every production, film department heads and I discuss “maximizing the Massachusetts spend,” i.e., spending as much money as possible locally. The calculation used by some to justify opposition to the tax incentives — the annual tax credit amount per year/the amount of logged film crew members = how much each job “costs” — is inaccurate. It ignores the downstream effect of the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars spent from each production department with local vendors and services — from food services, local lumber, and construction yards, to dry cleaners, retailers, transportation services, etc.

I often receive inquiries from productions considering coming to the Commonwealth, and I help them understand the benefits of filming here. Film tax incentive programs exist in dozens of states throughout the US, and there is no doubt that if ours is removed, these films will simply stop coming to Massachusetts. This business comes to the Commonwealth because the incentive is reliable and we have an incredibly skilled local workforce. The removal of the film tax incentive will have a direct negative effect on the thousands of crew members and all of the downstream vendors and services that directly benefit from this program.

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Hello, my name is Chris Palermo. I’m an actor, producer, and teacher of video and audio production. I’m also the founder of “Mass Movie Mavens,” a blog covering the growing film and TV business here since 2007. I’ve appeared in more than 40 films and shows. I believe the positive impact of the film tax incentive program in Massachusetts is immeasurable. My kids are just as eager to see where The Town was filmed as they are to see Old Ironsides or the Bunker Hill Monument when we sail over the Tobin. I have recommended (and assisted) many students and others for positions that brought happiness money could never buy.

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My name is Jan Waldman and I’m from Swampscott, MA. I am an actor and producer. I became interested in the Massachusetts film industry after Adam Sandler spent three months filming in my town and the area.  Twenty-five million dollars was spent on housing, food, rented parking spaces, and police detail over those three months. Since the fall of 2012, I have been in 60 film projects, including feature films, indies, student films, documentaries, and commercials.

I have also been involved as a producer, where I have invested significant amounts of money on renting space, wardrobe, props, and food for the cast and crew. I have taken many classes and have invested in 50 local productions. I am contributing to the economy and also benefiting from my paid film and commercial work. The loss of the film incentives would basically end all I do as an actor/producer.

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I am the founder of Goldilocks Productions, which is in independent film and video production company located in Worcester, MA. I am a producer and I currently have a feature film in development, which we plan to shoot in the central Massachusetts area this fall. We are a homegrown production company that benefits from the Massachusetts film tax incentive!

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