Category Archives: Production Assistant (PA)

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My name is Sydney Sherrell, I grew up and live in Belmont MA. My father is a producer and raised me in the industry. He and my mother made a movie while she was pregnant with me. You could say the film industry runs through my veins. I love my job. My father wanted me to became an actress but I much prefer being behind the scene and the hard work that comes with it. I have tried many other jobs, from organic farming to temping and office work, nothing is as rewarding as working on a set. I have been working freelance in this industry since I was 19, I’m 24 now. I currently work as a Production Assistant, and have a part-time job at Cambridge Community Television. I have been the photographer for the Woods Hole Film Festival for 4 years. I work 7 days a week and love it. I have perused happiness and succeeded. Is that not my inalienable right?

My family is here, if the incentive were to go away I could not afford to live here anymore and would most likely move to New York. My father lives in Massachusetts because I live in Massachusetts. He cannot handle New England winters without my assistance. This past winter I went to his house and helped shovel his driveway, walkway and sidewalk.

This is my livelihood.

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My name is Erica Scoppettuolo. I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a degree in film.  After graduation, I was worried I’d have to make the move to NYC or LA to get work in my field. Because of the film incentive, I was able to acquire an assistant editing job at a local production company only few months after graduating. Coming from art school, I know that it’s incredibly rare to find work in the creative field that quickly in Massachusetts.

I have since become a production assistant for many MA film productions. All of which were shot here because of the incentive. Most recently I worked as a Construction Assistant on The Finest Hours, shot in Quincy, MA. That production kept me employed for 7 months. And some of those months I was working 6 days/week. The Massachusetts Film Incentive allowed me to have a steady income while perusing my career in the creative field.

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My name is Benjamin Zalusky and I am a set production assistant living and working in Massachusetts. Last summer I had the opportunity to work for the first time on the set of a feature film that was shooting in the Boston area. That day gave me my first glimpse at what it was like to work for the film industry and I instantly saw what an amazing career this business could offer me. I continued day playing on several films throughout the fall in order to start to learn the responsibilities of the set PA and to start networking and meeting local crew members who would become my coworkers and friends as I progressed early on in my career. It wasn’t until February this year that I was asked to work on set full time. Of course I did not hesitate to say yes and I was finally able to leave my old job and start focusing all my efforts on working towards a career in the film industry.

Working full time as a set PA has given me a much better understanding of what it takes to produce a film. I have had the privilege to aide the Assistant Director’s department in the production of a number of feature films shooting in Massachusetts. Along the way I have met countless hard working and talented crew members who also proudly call Massachusetts their home. Many of the crew members have become my good friends and there is a strong sense of community among us. I am lucky to see familiar faces on many of the jobs I have been able to work on, while still meeting new people all the time. We all love working here and it really is amazing to be able to work every day in the film industry then come home to our families after we wrap each night.

None of this would be possible without the film tax incentive currently in place in Massachusetts. It has made Massachusetts very attractive to production companies looking for locations to film their movies, television programs, and commercials. The tax incentive has allowed local cast and crew members to progress their careers in the comfort of their home state. Along with employing the local cast and crew, the film tax incentive has been extremely beneficial to local business. The productions buy all their food, gas, construction materials, and rental equipment locally. They get local police officers, firefighters, and security guards to help keep the sets safe. All of the crew pay taxes in Massachusetts and help stimulate the local economy by buying all of their food, gas, clothing and other commercial goods locally. Even crew members that come in from other states benefit the local economy by paying for hotels and rental cars, or by renting apartments.

If the film tax incentive goes away hundreds – if not thousands – of families will have to make the choice of whether to leave home and move to a state that does have a tax incentive for film, or to find a new career, give up on their dreams, and lose everything they have worked so hard to achieve. Please don’t force us to make that choice. Please keep the film tax incentive in Massachusetts so we can continue working in an industry we love from the comfort of our own homes.

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My name is James Connelly. In 2012 I graduated from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire with a degree in media production, media studies and journalism. I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life and have been lucky enough to have a big part of my family also living in Massachusetts. Since graduation I have worked on different sets including commercials independent movies and corporate video.

I fear if this bill gets past I would have to certainly relocate to continue working the way I work now. This would be heartbreaking because I never considered anywhere but Massachusetts my home. Post college I have made so many more friends who also happen to be coworkers. I don’t know many fields that could say the same about the closeness people can have on a production set.

Being able to provide all of these jobs in the Massachusetts area is a big achievement and a big incentive for people to stick around in Massachusetts, an already expensive state. It would be huge mistake and one that would be felt immediately and in the future. I hope with everybody that has reached out with their stories on this site, that the people that oppose the tax incentives are able to visualize how many jobs and Massachusetts residents are on the line.

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My name is Nicole Coakley, and I am a lifelong Massachusetts resident. I have been working in the wardrobe department for the past seven months, primarily in commercials. In that time, I have PA’ed for a number of the incredible stylists that work here in Massachusetts, generally on jobs that were brought here by the film tax incentive.

Without the tax incentive, the majority of the commercial jobs that I have worked on would not have come to Massachusetts. Not only do these commercials keep me employed at a living wage, they also allow me to continue living in the state that I have called home my whole life. All of the stylists that I work for have been able to establish lives for themselves here in Massachusetts because the work has been consistent enough that they have not been forced to go elsewhere. This has given me great hope that I, too, can pursue my dream of being a stylist without having to leave my home state; but if the film tax incentive were eliminated, this would no longer be a possibility, as there simply would not be enough work here for me (or any of us) to make a living.

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Hi my name is Abby Mulholland, and I’m a production assistant. I’ve worked every kind of job, from my first as a cashier at a movie theater, to my last as a volunteer to the county coroner. I went to school for mortuary science as well as cinema studies. It was when I was studying broadcast media at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts that I fell in love with being behind the scenes of a production.

I got a job as an assistant to a stylist and photographer for the Annie Selke Companies and met Sean McLaghlan, who had once been a production assistant. He told me he knew a few people that would be working on The Judge, a film that was set to start shooting in the Berkshires in May 2013. Fortunately, I also knew some of the crew, and Sean encouraged me to make contact and get my feet wet. I did, and I’ve been getting my feet wet ever since.

No more spending my days with corpses (unless they’re cast) … unless the film tax incentive is eliminated. If it is eliminated, I simply won’t have the financial support to move to a place that does offer incentives, and will have no other choice but to fall into my safety net of endless embalmings.

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My name is Ashley Hughes. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I started work as a production assistant about a year ago. Who knew we could live the “Hollywood dream” right here in Massachusetts? The tax incentive is making jobs happen here in Massachusetts.

People are paying their bills and feeding their families. Don’t take it away from us! Keep the film tax incentive!

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My name is Sharmane Franklin Johnson. I am an LA girl living in Massachusetts because of my husband’s job. When I moved here in 2010, I was a full-time office manager and events coordinator for an education company with a film degree that I hadn’t actively used in years. When that company went out of business, I got my first Massachusetts-based production gig on House Across the Street, directed by Arthur Luhn. I didn’t realize when I got here that film work would even be remotely possible, but that first production proved me wrong. Since then I have had wonderful opportunities on various documentaries and TV shows, especially over the last two years.

It has not always been easy to be an LA transplant here. I have been met with questions like “Why did you leave LA?” and “How well do you know the Boston industry?” on occasion, but I can honestly say that my best opportunities have been here in Massachusetts. Removing the tax incentive will ruin that for me as well as countless others who remain here because of the great opportunities or because they just simply can’t or won’t live in LA. The reasons don’t matter, but the impact on this state will. This will affect not only those of us that work in film/TV, but also restaurants, hotels, EMT/police/fire/security, janitors, carpenters, and drivers. So many other jobs and industries will feel the pinch in their pockets because the film opportunities will dry up here.

I have worked as a producer, associate producer, casting director, office PA, set PA, and promoter since I have been here. I have also received my master’s degree in entertainment business. I do not wish to see those opportunities disappear for myself or any of the bad-ass production folks I have met in this state. Just as I was getting ready to leave my part-time non-production office job, I hear this news and second guess my decision. It is a scary time for us. As it is, we are never 100% sure that we will have work next week or next month, but this change will most assuredly have many of us leaving the state or returning to non-production fields, and that will be tragic.

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My name is Ty Taylor, and I am a Set PA and nonunion script supervisor working as a local in the great state of Massachusetts. It was a personal victory for me to forgo a 9 to 5 job I’d held for 13 years and roll up my sleeves to work in this film industry full-time, 12-plus hours a day. I know the incentive program is working because I am working… A LOT… and I’ve never been happier in my life. In choosing this career, I’ve made strides in reaching my personal goals and have built relationships and connections that I feel will span a lifetime. However, the removal of the tax incentive would be catastrophic to me, the industry, and to Massachusetts as a whole. I do not want to see this state lose its foothold in this exponentially growing industry, which aids and supports so very many local businesses and residents. This is my community. This is your community. We are the commonwealth. Please continue to support Massachusetts and its taxpayers by continuing and supporting the Massachusetts film tax incentive.

 

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My name is Christopher Evans. I began as a locations assistant in 2009, and have since served as a production/art assistant with the goal of joining IATSE Local 481 this year. It’s been a very busy time for so many of us. It saddens me to think that I and so many others may not be this busy in the years to come when the film industry is currently at its busiest in the history of the state.

I could go on about all the beautiful people whose lives have flourished due to the tax incentive, the families whose lives have been made greater, the spotlight in pop and world culture that has made New England and its many places and characters household names, and the businesses — prop warehouses; camera houses; costume shops; lighting and grip warehouses; construction outfits; car, van, and trucking companies; local “Mom & Pop” businesses; restaurants; hotels; and so forth — that benefit from the tax incentive. Heck, just the increase in Starbucks sales alone should be a heavy weight to throw around. The aforementioned examples have been so wonderfully advocated by so many.

I thought a lot about these things as I traveled as well as, naturally, my own goals and dreams, but I kept coming back to a certain theme over and over as I recalled my experiences in film going back to childhood. I would also like to add that, to this day and for the last 16.5 years, I’ve worked with kids in residential programs here in Massachusetts. I bring this up because it certainly has influence on why this theme kept coming back to me. See, one of the really cool things about my job is being able to see places and meet people all over New England. So this is the story I’d like to share:

In 2011, I had the fortune to be able to work on the set of the first Ted movie. We were filming in Chelsea at a local grocery store, working our usual 15-hour day. I was across the street from the store doing a “lock up” around 3pm when I noticed this young Latino boy standing near me. He couldn’t have been any more than 12 or 13 years old. Now there were a lot of people out there with us, satisfying their curiosity, but this kid stood out to me because of his facial expression. He looked confused, almost shocked, but excited, too; and his eyes darted around, watching everything at once. I laughed to myself and eventually moved on to another task.

Around 8:30pm, I was placed at the same lock up and, to my surprise, the boy was still there! He kept looking at me and I could tell he wanted to come ask me questions. He eventually came up to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained to him what my job was. He listened intently, smiled, said OK, and went back to his spot. The next day I noticed the young man again in the same spot, only this time it’s 10:30am — clearly he should be in school. The look on his face though was a little different — it was very calm, focused. This kid saw me and quickly and amusingly became a pain in my side!

“Why does that guy have the bear on a stick? Why does that lady have on that funny suit with the balls on it? What does it mean when you keep saying ‘switching, on 2,’ and ‘back to one?’ Does everyone get a walkie? What’s that guy doing up there in that crane? Is that a hot air ballon up there? Why do they wet the street down when it’s not raining?” Barrage after barrage of questions. As the day went, on his expression showed that he seemed to be understanding, like his was piecing together a puzzle — he constantly nodded as if having a conversation with someone no one else could see. It ended when, at 8pm or so, a woman who I assumed was his mother came and snatched him up and marched him home. He waved goodbye to me as he left and I didn’t see him again.

Fast froward to summer 2014. I worked one day on the entire Ted 2 project and, around 6:30pm or so, I see four boys walking towards me, one of them with that “I know you” look on his face. I was on walkie with someone at the time and the boys stopped near me. The “knowing” boy was pointing things out to his friends and seemed to be explaining what was what to them. I thought it was one of the kids I’d worked with in the residential programs I just didn’t recognize. Eventually, he approached me and asked if I remembered him. I looked at him closely, and it clicked immediately! “You’re the boy I met out here when we filmed the first movie!”

His name is Edwin and he was a junior or senior in high school now doing very well in his classes, all so he could go to film school! He told me that ever since that day seeing us filming the first Ted movie, he’d done nothing but watch and study films. He would go online and find out what projects were filming and go sit, watch, and study what everyone was doing. He’d hoped to do well enough in school to go to UCLA or NYU, but planned to set up shop here at his home in Boston and make movies about his neighborhoods; if that didn’t work, he’d become a teacher in some capacity. He reminded me of myself at that age — that youthful fire in the eyes!

As a son of a musician and record producer living in Los Angeles as a child, it wasn’t uncommon for me be around and observe musicians, actors, writers, directors, and producers for TV, musicals, movies, and such. Or to see things being filmed from the freeway, or ride bikes and play in the same neighborhoods where they filmed E.T. and in E.T. Park.  I knew what it was like to work a job for years, one you may even like, but still wonder if you could ever live that dream. Edwin may never had found his passion had it not been for that day. But he got to see that this world is not just in California or New York. He could see it with his own eyes; see that it could be possible for him, too.

I’ve worked in and met people in some of the wealthiest places and some of the poorest. I’ve talked with kids from elementary school, junior high, high school, and college who have been affected the same way I was in California by seeing the art that’s created all over New England because of the tax incentive. In the case of Edwin, I would say that’s one of my favorite stories of my experience so far. I truly believe if this decision were mine to make, his story alone would be enough to allow the incentive to live on. Maybe this is corny or a little too dreamy an approach, but that’s the theme that continued to come to mind.

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My name is Tony Scelsi. I grew up and have lived in western Massachusetts for over thirty years, with the exception of several semesters attending film school in NYC. I’ve hoped of working in the film industry my entire life and was always told I’d have to live in NYC or LA to do so. Upon graduating, I was faced with a simple decision: choose the quality of life and family that waited for me back home in Massachusetts or to stay and rough it out in a city I could neither afford nor truly ever call home. I ultimately returned to Massachusetts and the people I loved, but struggled to find any work, much less work in the entertainment industry in which I had invested countless debt and years of education.

Then the Massachusetts film tax incentive helped kickstart and attract work not only to the Boston area, but to the very doorstep of my rural hometown in Shelburne Falls. My first job was as a full-time location assistant on Labor Day, which filmed in a number of regions throughout both central and western Massachusetts, including Franklin County and the aforementioned Shelburne Falls. The following year, an even grander production came to the town with Warner Brothers, The Judge, on which I was also employed as a production assistant for the entirety of the several-month shoot.

It has been three years now since Labor Day and I have since crewed on nearly twenty film/tv productions throughout the state as my full-time, year-round employment. I am currently in training to join the Director’s Guild of America (DGA). These films have gone on to achieve world-wide box office success and Oscar nominations, but, most importantly, they provided income for hundreds of local Massachusetts-based crew members and the families they support.

Among the projects I’ve been fortunate enough to crew on, I’ve witnessed the employment of nearly every form of local craftsmanship and skill sets each and every film depends upon, including Massachusetts-based transportation, carpenters, electricians, grips, welders, painters, farmers, greens keepers, caterers, cooks, medics, firemen, police officers, cinematographers, directors, actors, producers, production assistants, accountants, location representatives, prop masters, scrip supervisors, animal trainers, hair stylists, makeup, and special effect artists.

Without mentioning the countless local Massachusetts businesses these productions support and rely on daily, these films have the potential to have an even more powerful, long-lasting effect in that they have the means to portray and preserve our irreplaceable New England landscape and culture in otherwise unparalleled quality.

The work these productions bring are truly a unique culmination of every form of hardworking local artists and craftsman who not only love and work tirelessly at what they do, but most importantly, do it in a place they proudly call home. I truly hope to continue to call it my home, and I hope that the infrastructure everyone’s worked so hard to successfully grow thrives with the continuation of the tax incentives that support it.

 

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My name is Chris Malenfant, and I am an PA who lives in Marlborough, MA. I started my career in the post department nearly five years ago. I’ve worked on almost 50 TV shows/episodes in that time, for clients like NBC, Outside TV, Discovery Channel, and the Military Channel. I moved to Massachusetts just over a year ago and have hit the ground running, reinventing myself in the film scene and branching out from the broadcast world I know.

I moved here from Maine because it is nearly impossible to make a living where I’m from. I moved to Massachusetts to be part of a community of film professionals, to make my dreams of working in this industry a reality. I have been consistently busy for the entire time I have been here. This film tax incentive is about more than just a tax credit, or the projects themselves. It’s about people like me who make their living off of the work that is being created. We must keep the incentive and keep jobs in Massachusetts. This is more than just an incentive — it’s our livelihoods.

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My name is Rex. I am a production assistant in the assistant directing department. Last year, I quit my full-time job to pursue a film industry career. So far, I have been able to sustain a living out of film work thanks to the film tax incentive. In May, I am marrying the love of my life and we are relying on the film tax incentive to help us establish our new life together. Please keep films in Massachusetts!

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My name is Dillon Laurino, and I am a production assistant from Forestdale, MA.  I’ve wanted to work in film my whole life and the Massachusetts film tax incentive has made it possible for me (and many others) to make a living doing what we love. Unfortunately, if the film tax incentive is eliminated, many of us will have to move and start over. I really hope we can continue to work in Massachusetts, but the only way for that to happen is for the film tax incentive to continue!

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My name is Stephen Turro. I moved to Massachusetts  when I was 19 years old to attend UMass Boston. At 18 and 19, my now-wife and I struggled for years to make ends meet, bouncing from job to job while in school full-time. When I got my first job as a production assistant on Ted in 2011, it changed my life. I was given a chance at a career and I’ve made the most of it.

I haven’t stopped working in the industry since. In a few months, I will be eligible to join the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) as an assistant director. After a near decade-long engagement, my girlfriend Audrey and I could finally afford to make it official and got married in August 2013. All of my film work has allowed me to support my wife while she finished her bachelor’s degree and eventually her MBA. None of this would have been possible without the film work here in Massachusetts. We were hoping to try for kids in the next year or so, but if the film tax incentives are eliminated, our plans will be put on hold. We’ll have to leave Massachusetts, and the cost of relocating to Georgia, Louisiana, or some other state with film tax incentives will put a financial hold on any plans for a family in the near future. Please keep the film tax incentives and keep Massachusetts filming!

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My name is Mandy Miller. Originally born and raised in the exotic midwest state of Iowa, I moved to Boston in 2010, the day after my college graduation, to start my career in Massachusetts. This was during the height of the recession and I had no family in the area. Needless to say it was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done, and raised some eyebrows back home.

Shortly after arriving, I started getting involved in production on top of my full-time work in corporate communications, from cable access to short film and corporate video production, and — I have to tell you — I firmly believe I would have packed up and moved back to Iowa were it not for the amazing women and men working in this field who helped foster my growth and who still serve as friends and mentors in production. This thriving market has led me to my current job at WGBH (disclosure: we do benefit from the film tax incentive) as well as freelance work, and has inspired me to start my own production company, Magnetic North Media, with three of my best friends, whom I met while working in film.

Moving here on my own was terrifying, but I’m beaming with pride knowing I have built a life in Massachusetts through hard work and dedication. Some of the best years of my life I can credit to living and working in Massachusetts. I’d like to keep it that way.

It’s easy to think of the glitz and glam associated with the industry, but when you’re the boots on the ground, it’s a totally different story. Each day when we’re getting up, that doesn’t cross our mind – just like many others across the Commonwealth, we want to have a successful career and provide for our loved ones and ourselves. Please do not take that away!

My name is Samantha Magnarelli, and I am a 19-yearold freshman film/video major at Fitchburg State University. Being in the film industry has been my number one dream. I channel my passion into my work with Good Natured Dog Productions, my YMCA communications job, freelance work, and my award-winning videos. Coming from learning film throughout high school, and with support of my loving parents, I knew that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

I would love to stay in the Boston area for most of my career, but in order to be successful and provide for myself in the business in Boston, the film tax incentive will have to continue. Becoming a filmmaker in Boston has given me so many opportunities and has given me chances to meet people who are not only mentors but friends for life. Threatening to take away something I care so much about is scary. I have worked very hard to get where I am now. I believe that Boston is one of the new greatest film hotspots.

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Hello, my name is Corporal John Lysander Richmond of the United States Marine Corps. I grew up in North Andover, MA. I’m currently deployed in Kuwait. After being away from my family and friends for most of the past five years or so, I have been looking forward to returning home to Massachusetts this summer and continuing my career in film.

With my sister already in the industry, I had opportunities to work as a production assistant or extra on a handful of movies, pilots, and commercials before I left for boot camp; I continue to do so while home on leave. What started as a way to see movie magic up close turned into a feasible career path. I had planned to use my GI bill to help with film school. Now with Charlie Baker’s proposed elimination of the tax incentive, my plans to return to Massachusetts may be short-lived.

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As a student at UMass Boston, I was given the opportunity to intern on Moonrise Kingdom. It turned out to be the start of a career that has kept me employed in the summers prior to and then since my graduation in May 2013.

Most of my fellow graduates were left feeling unsure of where they would go or what they would do — saddled with debt with very little prospects in the terrible job market for the recently graduated. I was fortunate enough to have a steady flow of work — unparalleled to the budding filmmakers of only a few years prior. I count myself among the few — and the lucky — of my graduating class to be working in my intended field.

A filmmaker born, bred, and educated in Massachusetts should be able to stay in Massachusetts, give back to the local economy, and encourage other young innovators to be here too. The film tax incentives in Massachusetts make this possible.

I don’t want to be one of a few and lucky. I want to be one of many. Keep these opportunities here for future generations.

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My name is Katharine McManus. I am a set production assistant and non-DGA assistant director. I am originally from eastern Connecticut. Before moving up to the North Shore about seven months ago, I had been working for two years  in the film industry in Connecticut.  However, due to long dry spells, I had two part-time jobs and I couch-surfed for weeks at a time, floating from gig to gig, wherever the work was, just to pay my student loan bills. After working six full weeks as an additional set PA on Black Mass, it was financially possible for me to move out of my parent’s house and afford an apartment. Since that job, I have been working consistently and have decided to make Massachusetts my home.

The film tax incentive here has given me a chance to get my foot in the door on union-level sets, and pursue my dreams full-time. Working in and around Boston has been an amazing experience. I have met so many wonderful people and have memories that will last a lifetime. If the incentive is taken away, it would be a door closing in the face of so many hardworking industry professionals that have become my coworkers and friends, not to mention people getting their start like me.

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My name is Glenn W. Kane. I have been working in the Massachusetts film industry since 2004, when I was given the opportunity to use my acting and improv skills in Fever Pitch. Since then, I have worked on more than 25 projects, in jobs ranging from PA, to boom operator, to actor. This experience has allowed me to observe many talented actors and crew members, and I have in turn been able to teach and encourage my students to work towards being a part of this growing industry. Some of my former students have been employed as actors in films and one was just hired as a consultant for a film.

Without the tax incentives, these opportunities will dry up, not only for the current workforce but also for those graduating from our universities and hoping to live and work in a state they call home.

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My name is Eric Anderson, and I am currently working film/television production in Massachusetts as a production assistant. I was born and raised in Canton, MA. Both of my parents were born and raised in Canton, MA, where they still reside.

I never went to college. I found myself in an industry that gave me an opportunity; an industry that solely relies on resilience; an industry that thrives on stubborn heritage and a true strength in character. It’s undeniable that there’s a pride in being from Massachusetts. Part of that pride is being the complete opposite of the “Hollywood stereotype.” We are hard workers. We see past the frivolity of glamor and gratuitous excess. Our history is full of headstrong, intellectual people.

We attempt to act as ambassadors for our region by representing the qualities of hard work and reliability that have formed the character of Massachusetts and New England, not just nationally, but worldwide.

There are many options for filmmakers out there. We are a welcoming family, and the best at our jobs, and hold pride and awareness for the communities we were raised in. Please do what’s best for the Commonwealth and keep this tax incentive active.

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I’ve worked as a production assistant steadily for five years because of the productions that come to Massachusetts for the film tax credit. I’ve worked in several departments on locally produced low-budget and studio films. I am picking up more freelance camera and editing work because of the industry expanding here. This is my career, and I get to work and establish myself where I grew up, also watching and helping my niece and nephews grow up. We’re very close; I would hate to have to leave.

I’ve seen a LOT of money get spent here, and a lot of it put into local businesses, which I really support. Any time I’ve been sent to buy anything, from a massive food order to printed graphics, I’ve been instructed to go to local “Ma and Pa shops.” We all care very much about local businesses and the working relationships we create with these vendors; any chance we get, we send money their way.

It’s great advertisement for these businesses, as well. Just one example: my uncle appreciated the exposure of his landscaping business, when he was compensated to use his beautiful home as a location in a film shot in Central Mass by a local film company that utilized the incentive. There is a permanent stamp on his business that says “a film was shot here, and I designed this yard.” His clients and friends will never forget that.

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My name is Erik Johnsen and I have worked on movies in the Worcester, MA, area.

I lost my job in 2008, and while trying to figure out my next step, I became a film PA. Hard work and long hours were paid back by becoming a second AD and in getting to connect with over a thousand people. They showed me how powerful Massachusetts filmmaking can be.

Massachusetts film incentives work!

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Hi, my name is Haley McHatton. I have been living in Saugus my whole life and recently graduated from Fitchburg State University with a BS in communication media with a concentration in film/video production. I have interned at Tipping Point Labs in Newton, and Redtree Productions in Boston.

I have been able to work professionally as a PA for about a year now, thanks to the film tax credit. I have worked on many commercials, some TV, and recently started working on my first feature. Most of these jobs would not come here without the film tax incentive, and I will not be able to have a successful career here without it. I have made so many friends in the film industry and would hate to see all those jobs disappear, and see people out of work or being forced to relocate. The film tax incentive benefits everyone around here in ways they can’t even imagine. 

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My name is Kendra Long.  I was born in Boston, raised in Roslindale, and later Needham, and attended Boston University, where I studied film. About a year after I graduated, I got my first gig as a PA. I lucked out and bumped into a regular from my local coffee shop on set one day, and she hired me as an art PA later that year. Since then, I’ve been able to support myself learning more about the department I want to get into (art!). In my job as an art PA, I can attest to the number of non-industry workers we keep employed at places like lumber yards, screen printing companies (thanks, Cambridge Reprographics!), and art supply stores, not to mention the flood of business we bring to any coffee shop near the production office.
I’m 25, still paying off my college debt, and I’m working at an entry level wage.  The idea that people in the industry are spoiled or greedy is insane to me. We work weekends, we work nights, we work overnights, we work 60-80+ hours a week, even when it isn’t busy. The film industry isn’t exclusively super wealthy producers and actors. Not even close.

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My name is Toshadeva Palani and I am a camera Production Assistant, amera assistant, and music video director. I initially moved to Boston just four months after my 18th birthday in order to pursue a career in film. Avoiding the more traditional film cities, such as LA or NYC, I found in Boston so much more than I imagined. Just two short years later, I have been able to build the foundation of my career and be apart of the most welcoming community I’ve ever known. This community is a direct response to the FTC–the individuals who work in the industry contribute not just to the local economy, but to the local arts community. In fact, every crew member I’ve hired on my own directorial works I met on a film that benefited from the FTC. There’s no other place I would rather live than New England and the biggest reason for that is the FTC.

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Hi. My name is David Duncan. I’m a production assistant here in Massachusetts because of the film tax incentives. The first time I attempted to enter the industry was 2003. I wanted to stay close to my family and, at the time, wasn’t willing to move out of state for my dream. I settled for a few other jobs completely outside of the industry. At 28 years old, I went back to school to get my bachelor’s. I loved the program, and as I approached the final semester, my internship, I was happy but lamenting that I was moving away. My internship adviser at Fitchburg State also told me about an opportunity in Boston, at Redtree Productions. I was elated when I was offered the internship at the interview. During my internship, I worked with some awesome people in the industry. I also discovered that, because of the film tax incentives, I would be able to actually make a living working in the industry I love while remaining in the state that I love. I graduated from FSU in 2013. Since then, I have been hard at work, working with some of the best people I can imagine. They aren’t just co-workers anymore, they are family. Without the film tax incentives, the work will dry up and I will be forced to move away.

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My name is Jenn Driscoll, and I’ve had the privilege of working full-time as a PA for nearly three years, due largely to the increasing amount of film production that has come here as a result of the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit. From the time I was 15 years old and my Walpole High School began its film festival program, I knew I wanted to work in film. I’m so happy and thankful it has become a reality.

I just want to share my story with the voters who may not know the faces behind the films. When I was growing up, I was told I could be anything I wanted to be, provided I worked hard and tried my best. But nobody ever included the part where, after working hard for years, I might have to uproot my life and move hundreds of miles away to continue to pursue my dreams due to state legislation. Let’s do everything we can to make sure we don’t have to add that caveat for the next generation.

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My name is Benjamin Zidel, and I am a production assistant living in Somerville, MA. Boston-born and raised, it’s an honor to be able to work in the state that inspired my imagination and shaped my determination to be a filmmaker. When I graduated film school on 2009, I was torn between heading to LA or coming back home. Due to the increasing production schedule and my love for the bay state, I drove home and began working right away. As a production assistant, I am the face of production to many local vendors and get to see the positive impact we have firsthand. It’s a pleasure dealing with the good folks of Massachusetts and I will fight alongside all of my fellow crew members to keep the creativity and productivity here, where it belongs — in the hub. #‎savemafilmjobs‬

save-ma-film-jobs_0219My name is Sean. I’m a production assistant, working my way towards being an electrician. I moved to Massachusetts a little less then a year ago, hoping to continue my career. I came from Maine, which suffers from a lack of tax incentives. Although I am a couple states away from my family, it’s still not that far of a trip to go visit. If the tax incentive went away, I would have to move further away, which would make it more difficult to visit my family. I would hate to choose between seeing my family often and pursuing my career.

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My name is Nikolas Diaz. I have worked in the film industry on and off while in college for the past three years. I have always been into photography, but during the latter half of my teen years I became more interested in film. Then my dad, Dan Diaz, started working with the film industry by opening a prop shop. After that, I realized it was possible for me to go into a field of work that I would enjoy without having to move to the other side of the US. I can tell you that I love working with and being part of the Massachusetts film crews. They all have been supportive of me and helped me grow in great ways. Taking away the Massachusetts film tax incentives would not only hurt the state but would also stop young people like me from ever even realizing that they can do what they love, where they love to live.

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Katie Marie ValovcinKatie Marie Valovcin

My name is Katie Valovcin. I am a production assistant, born and raised in Massachusetts. I went to college out at Chapman University in Orange County, CA, to pursue film, because I believed that was where I needed to be to work in the film industry. After graduation, I heard about a movie in Boston, so I interviewed, got the job, and became a part of the Boston Film Family. I ended up moving BACK to Massachusetts, because I kept getting jobs here and I couldn’t leave! This would not have been possible without the film tax incentives. Now, I am closer to my family and I am able to pursue my passion.

My fellow crew members are really why I love working in Boston. I have met some of my best friends and my boyfriend working here; even my family members have been hired as extras on multiple occasions.

It has been a dream to work in the industry I love, stay close to my family, and work with such talented, amazing people. The film tax incentives have made this possible. We all pay taxes, mortgages, and rent here; we vote here, too. We are active citizens of this commonwealth and our jobs and livelihood matter. Support the film tax incentives. Support us, your friends and family in this industry, who give you the movies you love.

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My name is Cameron Morton. I left film school in LA six years ago, after realizing I could return to my home state and have an opportunity to start my career doing what I love while still being close to my family. Since I started, I’ve worked on numerous projects in other states, exploring what the country has to offer. Now, as I look to step up from production assistant to a DGA assistant director, I can see no other place I would rather work. The talent and hard work that the crews in Massachusetts put into their productions is unmatched, making Massachusetts widely known as one of the best places to shoot a film. My second family, my film family, is here. Without the tax incentives, I fear we could lose some of our country’s most talented artists and crews. They all live, work, love, and care for their state.

I’ve seen this industry do a lot of things, but I’ve never seen it hurt the great state we live in — only help it. I only hope I can continue to have the privilege to live, work, and enjoy time with my second family so we can continue to bring great entertainment to theaters around the country. Please support the Massachusetts film tax incentives!

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My name is Kate. I work in Massachusetts as a production assistant and set medic. The film, television, and commercial jobs I worked on here in Massachusetts supported a graduate degree that assisted me in working with low-income families at a Boston hospital.  Because Massachusetts has both health and film industries, I was also able to work with physician researchers who focused specifically on opportunities at the intersection of health and media. Please support the growing film industry here in Massachusetts, support the film tax incentives!

11046485_10101382300101454_1392422096835756822_nMy name is Eric Altieri. When I graduated from college in 2006, I knew I wanted to work in the film industry. Thanks to the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit, I’ve been able to do just that. As a lifelong New Englander, I’ve been able to work on major motion pictures and television shows all over Massachusetts. I have since gathered more than 500 days (of the 600 needed) towards joining the DGA to reach my goal of being an assistant director.

I have worked very hard to get to where I am today, as have so many of my friends who rely on the film industry in Massachusetts. The film tax incentives allow us to do so.

save-ma-film-jobs_0197My name is Riley Fearon, and I am a production assistant. The film tax credit in Massachusetts has been incredibly important to me. I’ve lived in Massachusetts nearly my whole life, and I want to continue to do so. Because of the film tax credit, I have been able to be with and support my family through some tough times. I’ve created a vast network here in the state, and I’ve just now slowly been able to climb up the ladder, getting that much closer to achieving my dreams.

Without the film tax credit, I’ll have to start from scratch in a new city with new people. I don’t want to leave this city and my family. It’s my home and it’s my life.

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Hello, my name is Timothy DuBois, and I am a production assistant. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I started out in the locations department on the film Labor Day in 2012. I worked my way up to PA over the past few years. Even though I have lived in Massachusetts since the 1980s, I would surely move to another state that had a film tax incentive if Massachusetts gets rid of theirs!

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My name is Dana Nelson, and I’m a production assistant. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and went to a film school in Chicago. I came halfway across the country at the drop of a hat — quit a low-paying part-time retail job and left home — just to work in Massachusetts. Why not stay in the Midwest? Because there’s simply no industry out there.

When I came to Massachusetts, I couldn’t believe hearing that the vast majority of the people on the crews I was working on lived and worked consistently in the area. I was also surprised to realize the sheer amount of people in the state working in the industry — I assumed I’d see the same people over and over because there wouldn’t be that many. But I’m always seeing rotating faces — people I’ve never worked with but local all the same — and hearing about those people I knew before working on any one of a handful of things being made simultaneously. The number of people who are employed in the film industry out here constantly surprises me, particularly the number who work not feature Hollywood films, but almost exclusively in commercials, television, and reality TV.  People ask all the time if I’m from LA, or how many people on the crew are, and I get to tell them, “No. And actually, most of the crew are Massachusetts residents.”

My roots aren’t here, so if the tax incentive went away, I would move to where the work is — because no doubt the business here would dry up and fast. But right now I live in Quincy, I pay rent for an apartment and a parking space, I eat at the local restaurants and shop at the malls, and I pay Massachusetts taxes. Having lived and tried to work in a place where there isn’t an industry, I can tell you how different it is. There are thousands of people in the Midwest who want to work in film and end up working for free — a lot of good that does anyone — or are forced into unemployment or odd jobs just to make it by.

People get to work here in Massachusetts — a lot of people, you’d be surprised — and so much money gets put back here, from things like coffee shops and tire stores to the Shriners. The tax incentive here is an opportunity a lot of states just don’t have.

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I’m Erika and I’m a production assistant and lifelong resident of Massachusetts. I was graduating from college with a bachelor of arts in mass communication at the same time The Fighter was filming in my backyard of Lowell. While my friends were traveling to LA for work, I wanted to trust that the film tax incentive meant that I could stay in my home state and work in a field related to my degree. In the face of so many young people going to college only to be unemployed, this is a fantastic mark for Massachusetts.

I either lucked out or I worked hard to get on set, but it was the film tax incentive that made my career possible, because the volume of work made room for me. I am often hired to do miscellaneous work, from facilitating paperwork on set to wrangling all of the radios for each department. My paperwork, which is submitted to the payroll department daily, shows 100 to 175 working Americans on set each day (that figure doesn’t include riggers, construction, off-set dressers, or the office, who I’m sure would probably double my figure).

Speaking of “timing,” I am taking the next career jump to being an assistant director at the same time that the film tax incentive is being threatened. My local is listed as Boston. People argue that film jobs are not “permanent jobs,” but I am a freelancer depending on this work and looking forward to settling down here, raising a family here, and continuing my career here, which is all dependent on the film tax incentive. I will not have work here without the tax incentive.

imageMy name is  Stephen and I moved to Massachusetts when I was 19 years old to attend UMass-Boston. At 18 and 19, my now-wife and I struggled for years to make ends meet, bouncing from job to job while in school full-time.

When I got my first job as a PA on Ted in 2011, it changed my life. I was given a chance at a career and I’ve made the most of it. Within a few months, I will be eligible to join the DGA. The amount of work I’ve been able to do over the past few years has allowed us end to our seven-year engagement — we could finally afford to make it official and we were married in 2013. All of my film work has allowed me to support her while she finished her bachelor’s degree and MBA. None of this would have been possible without the film work and second family I found within the industry here in Boston.

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When I graduated from BU with an MFA in film and screenwriting, most of my classmates hightailed it out to LA. But my partner and my family are here, and packing up wasn’t really an option. I was thrilled to be able to get actual paid work and film experience after graduation right here. I worked as an assistant to the director of Grown Ups 2, on set as a PA for Larry David’s Clear History, and as an office PA for both a TV pilot and for The Judge.

On set, I was amazed at what a large percentage of the crew lived in Massachusetts and were able to make their living here. It meant seeing the same faces on different jobs, and creating a real community of working crew members, local suppliers, and local sites that grows larger every year.

I go back and forth working film jobs and non-industry jobs, since what I ultimately want to do is write and produce and that’s not completely possible living here … yet. But Massachusetts is getting closer and closer to having a strong enough film industry to attract steady TV series and permanent production company offices, which will mean even more jobs, so let’s not derail it now.

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My name is Tony Kress, and I live in Jamaica Plain with my beautiful wife. I’m a production assistant. While working on a movie and talking to local people, one thing that I am always asked during these conversations is, “Are you from LA?” People are always surprised to hear that the majority of our crews are Massachusetts residents. It’s so easy for people to wrap the film industry up into one giant suit, puffing a cigar from a large leather armchair in some Hollywood office, but that is just not true. I wish I could invite everyone to step onto the swarming beehive of blue-collar workers that is a movie set. It’s a great big phony construction site of exhausted, overworked, but all-around great, humble people trying to get ahead.

I know that most folks tend to get up and leave the dark movie theater once the credits start to roll, but if you look at the names as they scroll by, those are the people that worked for 14-plus hours a day to entertain you. They are hardworking middle- or lower-class folks. Despite the long hours and hard work, I don’t know anyone in this industry that isn’t proud of what they do. Killing the film tax incentive in Massachusetts would not only put all of these hardworking people out of work, but it would mean there would be no film industry that Massachusetts can tax. Hurting working class families to help working class families just doesn’t seem like the very best plan, especially when the “help” picks up and moves to another state. Look at all those names in the tiny white text after the movie finishes, and think of their families!

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