Category Archives: Rigging Grip

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My name is Tim Catz, and I’ve been a member of IATSE Local 481 as a grip for more than a decade. The working men and women of the movie industry and the families they provide for are part of a larger community fabric that make Massachusetts a true commonwealth. Each and every production brings much-needed revenue into the towns and neighborhoods in which we work. Food, hotels, coffee, lumber, and much more are purchased from local businesses. As local hires, our union members spend their earnings in the very places we live.

And something that often goes unmentioned is how these locally produced movies contribute to the ever-growing community of artists and innovators in which Massachusetts takes much pride. All of this is made possible with the tax incentive. Without it, our strengths are diminished.

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I am Woody Bell, married father of two boys. I work in the grip department and own a grip rental company called Black Flag Grips. I have been in this business for 20 years, and because of the Massachusetts film tax incentive, I have been able to support my family without having to spend long periods of time away from my loved ones.

Since the tax incentive was introduced in 2006, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the country’s most experienced key grips that have come here to film. In the past few years, fewer and fewer key grips have come to Massachusetts because the crew base here has matured to the point of being able to staff positions all the way to the top. This is a direct result of the film tax incentive.

I do not want be be one of those key grips who have to travel to other incentive states. I want to stay home. With my family.

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My name is Jason Coffey, and I am a prop maker, welder, and rigger. My first film was Shutter Island in 2008, and I fell in love with this job. I am blessed to work with some of the greatest and most talented people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.

I live in western Massachusetts and know firsthand that the film industry helps feed many families, including my own. I also know that the funds are spread around.  As I do not live in the greater Boston area where many productions have been located, I commute or stay in hotels or rent apartments (and eat three times a day at local vendors).

We are all just trying to make a living. To lose the tax incentives would be a great loss to many of us as well as the New England area, and will no doubt put many of us in very grave circumstances. Most people on the outside looking in do not see how much revenue is pumped into local businesses — lumber yards, steel yards, hotels, stores, flooring suppliers, restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, equipment rental outfits, to name just a few. I hope and pray that the powers that be see that to lose out on the film industry will without question hurt many of us and, worst of all, our families.

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My Name is Amanda Dobson. I have been working in the film industry as a rigging grip and set dresser for five years now. The year I started working in the film industry, Gov. Deval Patrick proposed putting a cap on the incentive. The proposal was voted down, but the damage was already done, and the film industry in Massachusetts almost disappeared completely.

Since then, productions slowly started coming back to the area, and the industry has really started ramping up again. This has allowed me to continue working doing something I love and remain in Massachusetts.

Make no mistake — if Gov. Baker is successful in eliminating the tax incentive, the Massachusetts Film Industry WILL CEASE TO EXIST. This will mean that thousands of jobs, including my own, will be lost; millions of dollars spent in the local economy by productions, cast, and crew will be lost; and the opportunity for Massachusetts to have a thriving film industry will disappear.

Massachusetts is my home. I am not one of these “Hollywood types” I keep hearing the news articles refer to. I am a Massachusetts resident who works hard, pays taxes, and spends money locally just like many of my co-workers. We are all real people, and we have a lot to lose if the incentive is eliminated.

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I started working as a rigging grip in 2008. Up until then, I was a furniture mover. I don’t have to move furniture anymore because I make my living now working on films. I don’t want to go back to moving furniture, and I don’t want to have to move all my unemployed friends out of Massachusetts when our jobs are eliminated along with the tax incentives. Do the right thing and keep us working!

 

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My name is Deborah Kehs Barbour. My husband Abel and I have worked in the film industry since 2008. I work as a set dresser and he as a rigger, set dresser, and now a CDL driver. Between the two of us, we have 40-plus productions under our belts.

We have seen firsthand how the local economy benefits from this industry. Every penny we make goes back to local businesses, because we live in Massachusetts and are raising our child here.

On the job, as a set dressing foreman, I have overseen the distribution of goods to numerous charities at the end of a production. We donate to battered women’s shelters, veterans’ organizations, homeless shelters, animal shelters, schools, and daycare centers. We give any materials and goods we can to those who need them. Over the years, I have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations given to organizations that directly benefit Massachusetts residents.

Without the movie and television industry, my husband and I will lose our income, health insurance, and home. And all of the groups listed above will lose as well.

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