Category Archives: Rigging Electrician

save-ma-film-jobs_0089

I am a rigging electrician and generator operator who has lived in the Boston area for more than twenty years. I make sure that film sets and outdoor locations are all wired and powered safely.

Thanks to the Massachusetts film tax incentive, I’ve been able to work full-time in the movie business since 2007. Prior to that, it was very slow going. Massachusetts competes with many other states (and Canadian provinces) for all sorts of film, TV, and commercial production.

Just like other modern industries, film production can easily be relocated and outsourced with only the bottom line in mind. If the Massachusetts film tax incentive is eliminated, there is little doubt that the number of movies shot here will be reduced to a trickle. As a result, many of our skilled laborers and valued technicians will be forced to either uproot their families and relocate to a more film-friendly state, or else consider a midlife career change. Please don’t let this happen.

save-ma-film-jobs_0063

My name is Lee Ayrton, and I am a set lighting technician, often as gang boss or best boy. I generally work in the pre-rig crew, laying out the power distribution system and setting lights in advance of the shooting crew. The hours are long — I’ve generally got 40 hours on the clock by the time most people are having their Thursday morning coffee break — but I’m not complaining. I love the work that I’ve been doing for more than 20 years.

The film tax incentive is essential to film production in Massachusetts. Motion picture production in Massachusetts has grown over the past two decades from a few hundred workers to over a thousand making an honest working-class living. We aren’t the “Hollywood fat cats” that some want to paint us as; ours are median income jobs. Without the film tax incentive, those jobs will go out of state.

Along with the benefit of our paychecks and the taxes that we pay, motion picture productions inject cash directly into the local economies. I’ve spent thousands of dollars in petty cash on consumables, tools, hardware, shipping supplies, meals, water, coffee. I’ve requisitioned equipment rentals — man lifts, boom lifts, fork trucks, generators — amounting to many tens of thousands of dollars, and this is just a fraction of the total spending of a movie in town. Without the film tax incentive, those dollars will go out of state. Without the film tax incentive, WE will go out of state. We will have to because there will be no work for us here.

save-ma-film-jobs_0067

My name is Roger Marbury. My job is to rig lights and run power to sets on location or in studios (makeshift or otherwise). I was born in Boston and have been living back here since the early nineties when I started in this business, and I have ridden the highs and lows of the market since. After having to work on the road in the early 2000s, I was overjoyed when Massachusetts passed the film tax incentive. Since it was passed and work came back to Massachusetts, I have been able to buy a house, raise kids, and enjoy the relative stability of a steady supply of work.

As a department head, I see firsthand what we spend on equipment, labor, and ancillary services. It is a lot. Much of what we spend goes to local businesses that have grown to meet the needs of the industry. While we used to import much of our equipment from NY or California, we can now source it right here in Massachusetts from the growing number of companies that have invested sometimes millions of dollars in gear. It would be a real shame to pull the rug out from under them and the people who have grown their careers here.

Without the competitive incentive Massachusetts offers, the movies and TV shows will go to one of the other 38 states that offers them (or Canada). It’s a fact. Please support our growing industry and its many blue collar workers that call Massachusetts home. Thanks.

save-ma-film-jobs_0041

My name is Dave Cambria. I grew up in Massachusetts, got my BA at Boston College in 1992, and started working full-time in the film/video industry the day after I graduated. As I built my career as a set lighting technician and rigging gaffer, I traveled quite frequently around the country. In 1998, I started a business called Red Herring Motion Picture Lighting with my business partner, Frans Weterrings, a Boston University graduate, to provide lighting equipment and trucks to the fledgling film industry in New England. We were two twenty-somethings taking a chance on our own business. When the tax incentive program was enacted in the mid 2000s, the film industry grew significantly, as did our business!

Through the ups and downs of the film tax incentive legislation, we’ve seen work come and go, and now it is finally taking hold. Last year, we expanded and founded a studio/soundstage in Allston called Red Sky Studios. We both have families now — and have been able to support them and our ten full-time employees, as well as countless lighting technicians we use on many of the large movies that have shot here over the years.

As you can see, the legislation is working and we are building a true production economy in Massachusetts with a highly skilled labor force. Changing this now would truly end any momentum and foster a climate of uncertainty for production companies that have millions of dollars on the line.

Make the decision for the production companies EASY – keep the film tax incentives and they will stay and spend their money in Massachusetts!

save-ma-film-jobs_0003

I am Travis Trudell. I, like many other people, work in the film industry here in Massachusetts. My wife and I moved here ten years ago because it is where we wanted to pursue our careers as filmmakers. We have since raised two wonderful children and have supported them with the money we make in the film business in Massachusetts.

The new roof on my house? Paid to a local contractor with my earnings as a rigging electrician. My children’s pre-school? Paid for with my earnings as a rigging electrician. Groceries? Dentist? Cars? Home? Plumbing? Even my own electrical work has been paid by my paycheck that I make on film work here in Massachusetts. If the film work goes away, so do all of these jobs that I have helped support in my local economy. If the work goes away, I am not going to move, I am going to be standing next to you at the unemployment office or competing with you for the few jobs that the governor is promising. I don’t want to compete with you.

I want to do my job, go home, and kiss my kids good night. What more can any working family hope for?

save-ma-film-jobs_0196Hi. My name is Julia Korona. I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for eleven years, the last eight of which have been in Massachusetts. The FTC has been quite a blessing for me, as film work makes up a good chunk of my income.

Without that work, I would be forced to travel out of state to supplement my earnings. Through my work as a rigging electrician and sound utility, I have seen firsthand how the movies affect communities. While the FTC gives productions a financial break, it is the Massachusetts people and towns that truly benefit.

The majority of materials and services purchased on a production are purchased locally, and hundreds of local workers like me are employed, often for months on a single production. Please do not take the FTC away!

save-ma-film-jobs_0176

My name is Geoff Dann. I am a rigging gaffer and set lighting technician. I moved to the area in 1999 to take a job at a local lighting equipment rental house. Since the inception of the film tax incentive, I have seen an enormous increase in the volume of motion picture work in Massachusetts. It was this increase in volume of work that allowed me to leave my full-time desk job to become a full-time freelance lighting technician. I am blessed to have enough work to provide my family a middle-class lifestyle doing a job that I love.

Without the film tax incentive, there would not be enough work. As a rigging gaffer, I spend my budgets at many Massachusetts vendors for lighting, trucks, aerial lifts, hardware, food, and other production support. I watch my friends and colleagues spend thousands on lumber, cars, radios, cameras, and more at Massachusetts vendors.

Without the film tax incentive, that business will go away, which will adversely affect thousands of workers and many small businesses that are both directly and indirectly involved in motion picture production.

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