My name is Michael Moran. I was born in Brighton, MA, raised in Framingham, and currently live in Dorchester. I am not a movie star or studio executive, but I do have a career in the film and television industry. I have a full-time job at High Output in Canton, where I am in charge of five large trucks worth of lighting and electrical equipment for local film, TV, and commercial productions.
In 2002, I begrudgingly moved to Los Angeles, as opportunities for making a lasting film career in Massachusetts were very slim. If a movie took place here, typically a crew would come in for a week or two to get some exterior footage and then head to Los Angeles, North Carolina, or Canada to get the bulk of their work done in a more production-friendly environment. Thanks to the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit, I returned to Massachusetts in 2009, when there were more movies being shot here than in California. Finally, I could make a career in my home state!
Thousands of people like me have been able to start families, build careers, buy houses, and pay taxes in the Bay State thanks to the film tax incentives. It is people like us, hardworking local professionals, that have benefitted most directly from its implementation. And we are by no means the only ones that have benefitted. As anyone who has spent time on or near a film set can attest, many millions of dollars are pumped into local vendors and service providers during production. Movies, television shows, and commercials require office space and supplies, equipment rentals, hotel rooms, catering, furniture, lumber, tools, paint, greenery, automotive rentals, fuel, security guards, electricity, heating, air conditioning, generators, sanitation, IT support, accounting, dry cleaning, and a few dozen other services on a daily basis. All of this is good for Bay State business.
The Commonwealth also benefits from having Massachusetts locations displayed on screens all around the world. Not only do audiences full of future visitors get to see our famous sights, but our varied geography and talented crew base allow Massachusetts to stand in for locations as far-flung as the Midwest (The Judge), New Jersey (American Hustle), Alaska (The Proposal) and Japan (The Sea of Trees, due out later this year). Studios could have spent their millions in those places, but they chose us instead. We made the most sense. This was nearly unthinkable ten years ago.
Governor Baker wants to help working families. While his intention is noble, eliminating the film tax credit will have the opposite effect. Thousands of working families will suffer. Studios will immediately look to other states to get a better deal, just as they did when former governor Deval Patrick merely proposed capping the FTC. Unemployment claims will surge instantly, houses won’t be bought, and taxes won’t be payed. A local industry that was born and flourished during The Great Recession will decline, as will the incalculable benefits to other Massachusetts businesses.
If you need proof of that, talk to the film community in North Carolina. For nearly thirty years, North Carolina had been an affordable alternative to Hollywood. Like us, they built studio facilities, an enviable talent base, and were blessed with varied landscapes to suit a wide variety of productions. Recently, their state government did away with film-friendly legislation. Productions (and their millions of dollars) swiftly vanished, and thousands of professionals and their families now face the prospect of leaving the state. They are moving to California, New York, Georgia, and Louisiana — states that have wisely invested in the future of cinema and television, two American exports that the world still eagerly consumes. Without the FTC, thousands of our friends, families, and neighbors will join the migration.
Bay Staters have worked tirelessly for years to make Massachusetts one of the best places to film, not just in America, but in the world. Our talent pool has deepened and widened, infrastructure and facilities have steadily expanded, and our reputation has improved immeasurably. Scores of local businesses have profited from the growth of our industry. To kill off that development would be tragic. I am a single man. I do not seek fame or glamour — just the ability to make a living in the state I call home. I do not yet have children or own a house, but I want them someday and I want them to be in Massachusetts. My roots, family, and career are here. I hope my future can be here as well.
Please save the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit.