Category Archives: Set Dressing

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My name is Penny Cariolo and I work in the film industry in Massachusetts. I am a stitcher working with costumers and set decorators. I worked on my first movie in 2011 and have worked on 12 movie or television productions since then. I love my job and would love to continue to do it in the place I call home.

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My name is Jill Reurs and I work in a few different capacities. I work as a Script Supervisor, I also work as a Production Office Coordinator and I work as a Set Dresser. Boston is a great place to work and has a terrific reputation among producers, directors, studios, networks, ad agencies and new media. Because of the MA film tax incentive we attract a lot of projects. In my position I work closely with Producers and Directors and they tell me over and over they like making their projects in Massachusetts and they want to come back and make more projects. Happily this has happened many times over thanks to the MA film tax incentive. I’ve also seen firsthand how money is spent in-state in terms of hiring local people and local companies and buying supplies and services in-state.

When a movie production sets up shop it’s like an empty department store. There are approximately twenty departments (construction, lighting, rigging, props, camera, costume, casting, set dressing, and catering, to name just a few). Each department has to be fully staffed and fully stocked for the length of the production. And if there are multiple movies shooting in Massachusetts at the same time, (which there often are), that means each movie has to have their twenty departments staffed and stocked. It adds up to a lot of people, a lot of materials and a lot of service and support. That means jobs and business for many Massachusetts residents and Massachusetts-based companies. Thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in in-state spending. It also provides terrific ‘product placement’ for the Commonwealth in terms of beautiful shots of our state and/or seeing intriguing places that the viewing audience will want to visit. And they do visit. So for my money the MA film tax incentive is doing exactly what it was designed to do – create an incentive and attract business to Massachusetts on many levels. It’s working and it’s working well. Please keep the MA film tax incentive in place.

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My name is Tim Lewis. When I started out before 1997, it was near impossible to cobble together a decent living. There was no FTI and we were lucky to see one or two movies each year. At the time I had a young child and another was soon to follow. Family demands were such that I had to leave the business I loved twice, for regular jobs. Each time those jobs dried up or the money couldn’t compete with movie money, and I came back to the job I always wanted. The FTI has been such an amazing success for me and my family. The FTI has allowed me to enjoy several years of solid work in the field I love and to continue raise my children in Massachusetts.

The film and media industry can be a major boon to the economy of Massachusetts. Since the FTI, roots have taken hold for a vibrant and creative industry. If we preserve the FTI, someday Massachusetts will be known for film/media along with fields it has traditionally been known for such as education, high tech, bio tech, medicine and pharma. Now that would be a diverse, dynamic and powerful economy!

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We are Alyssa and Lindsay; we both grew up in Massachusetts (Cape Cod and Brookline, MA) and have made careers in the film industry over the past five years here. We met working on Moonrise Kingdom in 2011 and, last year, we got married and purchased a house in Medford, MA. We both feel so fortunate that we can live and work in the place where we grew up (doing the work we love!) and be close to our amazing friends, parents, siblings, and adorable niece and nephews.

Alyssa joined the DGA two years ago as an assistant director with her local designated as Boston, MA. She also works as a VFX coordinator with local company, Zero VFX. Lindsay is a member of IATSE Local 481 and works as a props assistant, on-set dresser, and doing SPFX.

Please keep the tax incentive so we can continue living, working, and being part of the Boston community that is our home!

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I’m Will, and I’ve been working in the movie and TV industry for eight years now. As a result of the constant work in Massachusetts, I have been able to purchase a home, support my family, and join the ranks of blue-collar, middle-class tax payers. For the good of my family and many dedicated co-workers who love to work in the film industry in our state, please keep the film tax incentive.

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My name is Cris. Less than two years ago, I lost my mother tragically. In my deepest darkness, it was my co-workers who burned a guiding light. The wake had barely begun when a pair of my union brothers came into frame. The following months were filled with the work and camaraderie that I needed to keep myself together. This past Christmas, I was blessed with a baby boy. I have my industry and the community surrounding it to thank for his happiness and health. My ability to provide for my growing family is dependent on the Massachusetts film industry. If my industry dissolves, not only would my family’s income be challenged, but the community that made my family possible would be lost.

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My name is Robert. Originally a mechanical engineering undergraduate at UMass Lowell, I ended up graduating with a bachelor’s in graphic design after realizing that engineering was just not a good fit for me. Through my senior year internship at Barbarian, a local web design company, I met a local set designer by the name of Larry Sampson. Soon after the internship, I started an apprenticeship with Larry; that was the start of my film career nearly eight years ago.

Through those years working in the Massachusetts film industry, I’ve come to realize that it’s made up of an incredibly diverse mix of professionals from many walks of life — from freelancers and contractors, to tradesmen, designers, carpenters, laborers, painters, seamstresses, caterers, teamsters, electricians, grips, gaffers, lighting designers, gardeners, welders, and so many others that go unseen. They’re all local, and they all represent our town and what we, as a city, have to offer to the rest of the national film community.

It’s not just the direct impact of employing hundreds of local tradesmen and crafts people. Films also spend a great deal of money and time on local vendors that wouldn’t normally see this huge volume of work. The construction department alone spends hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing wood, steel, hardware, and other goods from local Boston vendors such as Burnett and Moynihan and Central Steel; the catering department spends thousands at local food suppliers to be able to feed our large crews; the scenic department spends thousands at local paint shops for all their supplies — not to mention the money spent renting out local warehouse space and office space to house the actual production.

How about all the local restaurants, markets, hotels, and entertainment establishments that benefit from the huge influx of workers that come here from out of state to film their movie? And what about the publicity the city of Boston gets having it be the backdrop to great films, past and present?

I think I speak for everyone in our local film industry when I say that we take great pride in the work we do and great pride in the state that we call home. I think one would be doing Massachusetts a great disservice by jeopardizing the local film industry that we have worked so hard to nurture into the blossoming industry it’s become.

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My name is Zack Gorman. I was born and raised on the south shore of Massachusetts, where I continue to make my home with my now-pregnant wife. This is our first child, and I strive to provide for all my family’s needs today and in the future.

I have been working in the film business for more than ten years, and have worked my way through the ranks from a production assistant, with zero experience in the entertainment business, to a leadman in the set decoration world of feature films.

Among other things, my job comes with the responsibility of hiring personnel for my department. I hire exclusively local crew and have always been able to do so with confidence, based on the quality of our workforce. These jobs provide a fair wage and benefits for those who work them. These men and women are able to provide the same to their family that I strive to achieve myself.

The film tax incentive signed into law in 2006 under Mitt Romney is the reason our business has been able to grow and flourish. The incentive is approved to run through January 1, 2023. Production companies, like any company, need to know that the parameters under which they do business will remain stable. Without the knowledge that our film tax incentive is stable, future investment in Massachusetts is jeopardized.

Like many, I witnessed firsthand the effect of jeopardizing the film tax incentive in 2010. The number of productions slated to shoot in our state evaporated overnight when an ill-advised bill was submitted to cap the film tax credit. During that time, I watched many friends and co-workers struggle to make ends meet. They were able-bodied, hardworking, and willing employees that had no employer to hire them.

That year, I was fortunate that a previous employer had work for me in Michigan. This project was slated to last six months and may have chosen Massachusetts had they known our incentive was stable. Michigan had a tax incentive, but lacked the quality film professionals Massachusetts has.

I was put up in a hotel, and given a rental car and per diem for living expenses. I earned my income, paid taxes, and spent money on everyday life in another state — all money that could have gone into the Massachusetts economy had this project come here to shoot instead.

This job also coincided with the passing of my father, which had an immense impact on my life. He had battled cancer for seven years and unfortunately lost his battle on July 4, 2010. Thankfully, I was able to be home to say my last goodbye, due to a holiday break from the film.

As painful as that experience was, the next few months were even worse. I was unable to be here for my family as they grieved. They had to deal with all the arrangements, on top of dealing with their grief, alone. They were unable to lean on me in their greatest time of need. I apologize that this may sound old fashioned, but I was unable to be the man of the house immediately after my father passed away. Things I had been able to help with during my father’s illness now fell by the wayside. The only way I could earn a living was to go back to a job halfway around the country. I had no choice but to return to Michigan!

That is an experience that I hope never to live through again and that I would wish on no one. The last four years have allowed me the opportunity to return to work in the state I make my home — the state I was born in, the state I remain in, and the state I pray doesn’t forsake my way of providing for my family.

It’s as simple as this, Massachusetts films = Massachusetts jobs!

save-ma-film-jobs_0081Hello, my name is Alys Vincent and I live in North Dighton, MA. I have worked professionally in the film industry for 27 years, mostly as a carpenter and a set dresser.

When we started our family 13 years ago, my husband and I decided to move to Massachusetts so we could be closer to his parents. At that time, there was no tax incentive. We were new to Massachusetts and we tried to find jobs here in our industry, but there just was not enough work to employ new people. There were a few commercials, and maybe one or two movies a year, but those jobs were filled.

To make things work for our new family, my husband, who is also a carpenter on films, would frequently travel to other states for work and, consequently, would be gone for months at a time. So we lived here and our kids were here, but we worked in other states; we were always separated somehow.

I can tell you I was pretty excited when the film tax incentives were implemented. It was amazing how the work started pouring in and our film community exploded. There were more jobs than people and sometimes, to be honest, there still are.

In 13 years, I’ve seen hundreds of jobs swell to thousands of jobs. I have witnessed millions of dollars going into local economies statewide because of these films. I’ve seen new businesses appear and older ones grow and stabilize. I myself have spent tens of thousands of dollars in our local economy because, instead of paying for hotels and nannies in other states, we can spend our money right here where we live. These films support my family and all their growing needs.

These incentives provide so many exciting opportunities to hardworking residents of this area and add such impressive revenue to a broader community. But the most exciting growth in our local film community I have seen is in the investment of education and training offered to our film professionals. These tax incentives are not only providing well-paying jobs with health benefits to thousands of people, they are also bringing opportunities for industry-specific training to our growing workforce.

I myself started out in this business through an apprenticeship program at National Scenery Studios in Washington, DC, and I know how valuable this education is. After my apprenticeship was over, and within a year of leaving that shop, I was offered an amazing job at the Kennedy Center, where I stayed for over ten years. It was obvious to me the training I received created a solid career for me, and, to this day, I enjoy many, many opportunities taking me all over the world.

I am proud to be part of the film community in Massachusetts that gives back in such an important way. These jobs created are not just for today — they are solid careers and, if given the chance, they will last for generations.

These tax incentives are not wasted. The film business is transient and easily moves to other locations. Without these incentives, they will move, taking with them our most important asset, the educated workforce we just created.

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My name is Chris. I work in the film industry as a set dresser. I have lived, worked, and paid income tax in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1984, when I moved here to go to college. Working in the film industry for the last 12 years has been extremely rewarding, both personally and financially, for my family and me.

My employment within the film industry has given my family the opportunity to buy and sell two homes in the last ten years. Now living with my young family in our new home, I’m looking forward not only to our boys beginning their first year of school, but to our family’s future as well.

Without the film tax incentive bringing jobs and revenue to Massachusetts, I know without a doubt that I would be forced to relocate elsewhere, most likely out of state. Moving my family is not an option I would ever volunteer for, but that would be the harsh reality for my family and countless others if the tax incentive is eliminated.

The bottom line is that a loss of jobs in our industry means a significant loss of income for Massachusetts.

Let us stay and work together in a state that we love and want to call home!

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I worked six years as a production assistant before my current job as set dresser. It has been a daunting but ultimately rewarding experience, unlike any other in my life. After decades under the poverty line, I finally have a chance to move off my mom’s couch.

Please don’t take away my job, my friends, and my purpose in life.

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We are Wayne and Liz, an engaged couple, and lifelong New Englanders working in the Massachusetts film industry. We have been able to stay in the area, close to our families, by working full-time in the movie and television industry here in Massachusetts. Wayne works as a set dresser in the art department, and Liz works as a costumer in the wardrobe department. We both graduated from local colleges, Wayne from Northeastern University and Liz from Boston University, and we have remained in Massachusetts to pursue our careers. Working in the film industry has made it possible for us to purchase a home in Arlington, MA.

A loss of the Massachusetts film tax incentive would crush the local film industry and affect the livelihood of many extremely dedicated, hardworking, and creative people and their families.

Every department that makes up a film production utilizes various goods and services throughout the Massachusetts area. If the film tax incentive were to end, it would have a dramatic effect on these businesses.

Without the film tax incentive, an entire industry of people would be hurt. We would not have these opportunities here in Massachusetts, and many would be forced to relocate to other states that have tax incentives.

Please consider us, the local working people who rely on the Massachusetts film productions, before ending a thriving and prosperous industry.

Thanks.

 

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My name is Aileen Sovronsky, and I have had the honor of working in the film business in Massachusetts for the last 25 years. I love what I do and I love living in Boston. I work on television commercials, television shows, and movies. I work in the art department as an art director, set decorator, art department buyer, and prop master.

We own a home in Dorchester and have raised two sons while working in the film business in Massachusetts. My children both went to Boston Public Schools and are now entering and completing college respectively. A big part of my job is to spend money on props and items to “dress” sets. This is money spent at local businesses, big and small. Our community has cultivated great relationships with vendors, and many of them count on the work brought to them as a direct result of the film tax incentive.

Our film community is a hardworking, dedicated “family” who support and care about each other. It will be crushing if the tax incentive is taken away. A thriving and successful industry will be destroyed, leaving many families in its wake.

Film=Jobs.

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My name is Alexandra Mann. On paper, I am a set dresser. But I am not only that — I am a taxpayer, worker, buyer, and professional spender of money in Massachusetts. And that money is generated from my career in the film industry, a career directly correlated to the film tax incentive.

When I first decided to take a leap of faith toward the career of my dreams — pre-2006, pre-tax credit — I attempted to find work in Massachusetts. I did not want to leave my New England home. But, between 2000 and 2006, not many films were shot in Massachusetts, making it impossible for someone just starting out to find work. Instead, I was forced to go where the work was. I moved to Chicago for its tax incentive and then to LA for bigger opportunities. But I missed my home, my family, and my friends.

After 2006, films began rushing to Massachusetts. I joyously moved back and have been working successfully in the film industry ever since. In fact, the number of movies made post-film tax incentive is triple the number that were made pre-film tax incentive, a gain that has been made in only 8 years!! We have a booming industry in the state that has tripled its numbers in less than a decade, keeping thousands of workers and businesses employed.

I don’t want to be forced to choose between the home I love and the work I need to survive. Workers will leave Massachusetts for other states with reliable tax incentives, like Illinois (30%), Louisiana (30%), Georgia (20%), and New York (30%). And the ones who don’t leave may likely end up on unemployment, welfare, and food stamps.

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My name is Mark Turpel. I reside in New Bedford, MA, where I was born and raised. Love where you live.

I’ve been a carpenter for over ten years. Employed and self-employed, it was always a struggle trying to make a living. Within the past year, I joined the film industry to seek more opportunities, benefits, and a secure future here in Massachusetts.

Since day one, it was easy to see how much the film industry contributes to Massachusetts and how very important the film incentive is to the industry.

Massachusetts should be in support of the film tax incentive. Eliminating it would cost thousands of jobs and a huge amount of business throughout local communities.

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I’m Stefan and I’ve been working in the film and television industry for seven years. I primarily work in set decoration and greens. This industry has changed my life. As a result of the constant work in Massachusetts, I’ve been able to buy a home and become a member of the working middle class, doing a job that I love while working with people who have become family.

I am one of the hundreds of people you see when the trucks come into your neighborhood to film a scene. I’m not from New York or Los Angeles, and neither is just about everyone you see doing the work to make the magic happen. We are your neighbors. We are mothers and fathers supporting our families. We are vendors who have been able to stay open for business and hire more people. We are restaurants and hotels that see business we otherwise never would have. We are carpenters, welders, set dressers, decorators, greensman, riggers, grips, electricians, costumers, background actors, and caterers. The list goes on and on. We are some of the the most soulful and hardworking people you will ever meet. We are an industry of thousands. We are the face of the Massachusetts film tax incentive.

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My name is Jessica Ginsberg. I was raised in Massachusetts and returned to Massachusetts after graduating college. Before working in the film industry — and before the art programs at our school were cut — I taught art in the Boston Public School System for two years.

After working on a few independent shorts as a production designer, I quickly realized this was the career move I wanted to make. I worked on many commercials, first as an art PA, then as a set dresser and toy stylist. Working in the art department allows me to shop at small local businesses and support the economy. I have worked with vintage stores, local fabricators, and many other vendors in Massachusetts. Eliminating the Massachusetts film tax incentive would negatively affect not only my fellow crew members and me, but all of the local businesses that contribute to commercials, television, and movie productions as well.

In January, I officially joined IATSE Local 481, and have since worked on commercials, films, and television shows. I feel like I have my whole career ahead of me, thanks to the film tax incentive! I was recently married, and my husband and I would love to buy a house in Massachusetts in the near future and settle down in the state we love. However, if the film tax incentive is taken away, it could jeopardize my job, as well as my hopes of becoming a homeowner in Massachusetts and continuing to call it my home. Please consider how this change could negatively affect all of the hardworking and talented individuals in our industry and the businesses that contribute their goods and services.

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I’m Tracey Doyle and I’ve been working in the film industry in the Boston area since 1983. When a film comes to town, the ripple effect is enormous. There is a lot of money spent locally on the production itself, but even more spent by the people who work on it in all avenues of business in the city. Another aspect of having a film community is that the union members avail themselves of union health and pension programs. I don’t think I have to explain how important that is in today’s political culture.

The last job I did in Boston I spent $965,000 in five short months to decorate the film. That’s one job in one department of one film project. Why wouldn’t you want to continue incentives so films come to Massachusetts?

 

11045440_10100674434764615_2919685809897810398_nMy name is Benjamin Regan, and I have been working on films since 2006. I have worked as a carpenter, welder, prop maker, greensperson, and set dresser. The Massachusetts film industry has provided me with a career and hopefully a future as a studio shop mechanic. Before joining IATSE Local 481, I was a typical construction worker, struggling to pay rent and living from paycheck to paycheck. This job has presented me with countless opportunities and a fair living wage.

In my nine years as a member of Local 481, I have seen firsthand the effect of the film tax incentive and the direct impact it has on our industry. In 2009, I made the most money I had ever made in a year.  In 2010, however, following Gov. Deval Patrick’s mere proposal to cap the tax incentives, I and many of my union brothers and sisters struggled on unemployment or were forced to work outside of the film industry to make ends meet. Legislators don’t often understand the ripple effects of their actions. Make no mistake, producers only bring films to Massachusetts for the tax breaks. Take Vancouver as an example: there used to be a booming film industry there, but when their government revoked the tax credit, the film industry dried up. It is basic economics: the incentive brings money from wealthy investors/producers to this state; without the incentive, they would simply spend their money elsewhere.

Supporting the film tax incentive directly supports working-class families all around Massachusetts. Without the incentives, there would be no film industry in Massachusetts. Without the incentives, most of my coworkers would be unemployed and in need of state assistance. I would like to urge Governor Baker and his fellow legislators to continue to support the local people making a living in the Massachusetts film industry.  FILMS = JOBS

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My name is Peter Regnier. I am a set dresser, and my first show ever was Disney on Parade in 1973. In 1995, I moved to Vermont; I became a member of IATSE 481 16 years ago. My first film in the Local was What Lies Beneath. It’s fitting that there must be something “lying beneath” the belief that it’s a good idea to eliminate film tax incentives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Film tax incentives equal film projects. Film projects equal jobs.

The locations where films are being shot and produced generate revenue for many ancillary industries, and the list is too long to print here. The lush beauty of Massachusetts and the variety of locations available makes this state perfect for our industry. A few years back, it was proven that for every dollar spent in the film industry in New York State, it returned $1.50. I ask, where else do you get a 50% return on any investment?

I know that all of the people on this page can agree with me when I say there is nothing quite like sitting in the theatre after watching the credits (whether your name is on the roll or not) and remembering how hard all of us worked, and how great that feeling is. Save our jobs.

save-ma-film-jobs_0044My name is Brian Hakala, and I have worked in the film industry since 2011. I began as a production assistant and worked my way up to set dresser.

Prior to working in the film industry, I worked at an antiques shop on Cape Cod. During my time there, we received a great deal of business from local theater and film productions, many of whom rented pieces for sets. Through those connections, I secured my first job in the film industry working as a production assistant on That’s My Boy. Working on this film highlighted to me the extent to which film productions rely on local businesses. Whether it was food or lodging for the cast and crew or materials for the set, a great deal of my time was spent working with local vendors. Since That’s My Boy, I have worked on numerous productions across Massachusetts. In doing so, I have visited innumerable restaurants, hardware stores, and even office supply stores, all of which have benefited financially from film production taking place in their vicinity. Over the past few years, it has become very clear to me that, although my entry into the film industry began through a single relationship between a local antiques vendor and a film production, relationships such as these span across a variety of industries and locations in Massachusetts.

Personally, I have benefited greatly from working on local film productions. Without my work as a PA, then set dresser, I likely would not have been able to pay my student loan, buy a new car, and move closer to Boston for work.

Given the symbiotic relationship between film and local industries, as well as the personal anecdotes I have shared, I hope to have demonstrated the importance of retaining the Massachusetts film tax incentive in our state. Not only has it provided me with a living wage, it has also provided thousands upon thousands of dollars to local businesses, revenue that otherwise would not have been generated were it not for the film tax incentive.

At the end of the day, the drives may be long and the days even longer but I love what I do. And without the film tax incentive, I wouldn’t be able to do that here in Massachusetts.

 

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My wife Jessica and I have both been Massachusetts crew members for over ten years. Spending most of that time in the art department, we have seen, firsthand, the money that gets put into the local economy. The film tax incentive affects hundreds of businesses each season. Five years ago, we started our own business; two years ago, we had our first child. Our business has since become our main source of income, though we still enjoy working on films. The local film industry is populated by brilliant and hardworking individuals and families who depend on the influx of productions. We never would have been able to start our business if it weren’t for the film industry. Since we have started, we’ve grown and extended our reach. Our business, Presto Strange O Coffee Co. is often hired by productions. We experience, firsthand, production money getting reinvested into small businesses, and see additional taxes being paid into the state. Our business would suffer a blow if the incentives for films were to disappear.

When films happen, it’s the hundreds of families, small businesses, mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and people — either with voices too small or hands too full to talk about the money that is coming in — who benefit. Big productions help the little people. The film tax incentive is so very important.

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My name is Robert D. Fisher III. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. Growing up, I worked as, among many other jobs, an auto mechanic and a carpenter. I always found myself chasing work or looking for something better. In 2008, I was fortunate enough to find that something better here in Massachusetts. 2008 was also the year my beautiful daughter Kirra was born.

Thanks to my new-found career as a prop maker/set dresser, I’ve been able to provide for my family without leaving the state we love so much. And without the constant struggle of trying to find a busy enough auto shop, or working as a carpenter and dealing with the economy and housing market, chasing work all the time.

Simply put, if Governor Baker’s proposal to eliminate the film tax incentive goes through, my career and means to provide for my family here in Massachusetts will be ELIMINATED as well. I love my job, so please support the film industry here in Massachusetts. Don’t chase it away!

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My name is John Burke. I’ve worked in the movie and television industry in Massachusetts since 2007. Most people know me for working craft service, which is the department that provides snacks, drinks, and smiles for the cast and crew throughout the day. Spending thousands of dollars each week, all of our supplies, food, beverages, etc. are bought directly from local Massachusetts vendors, all of them extremely happy and appreciative of our patronage and we of their businesses.

I myself was born and raised in Medford, MA. I was married, had my daughter (my wife helped), and bought my house in Medford, MA. All of my paychecks from the movies, TV shows, and commercials I work on helped with much of this and every day go right into my community.

All of my paychecks are possible because of the tax incentive. The tax incentive also allows me to go home to my family at the end of the day and sleep in my own bed. The Massachusetts film tax incentive is GREAT for the PEOPLE of Massachusetts. Please, don’t let it go away.

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My name is Cristina Bauer, and I have been working in the film industry in Massachusetts for about eight years. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and most of my family lives here.

As someone who has worked as a set decorator, set decorating buyer, and set decorating coordinator, I have been directly responsible for both spending and tracking the budget for my department. Across all the productions I’ve worked on, in the set decorating department alone, I have seen millions of dollars spent in the state of Massachusetts at local businesses on things like furniture, appliances, carpeting, tile, antiques, signage and graphics, framing, plants and flowers, drapery, lighting, labor, etc. And at the end of every show I’ve ever worked on, when production has wrapped, we donate many of these goods to local charities.

To think that the film tax incentive only helps wealthy Hollywood actors and producers is incorrect and uninformed. Because of the tax incentive, skilled and talented Massachusetts residents earn salaries working as set dressers, carpenters, electricians, graphic designers, office managers, accountants, etc. We work long days (often 12 to 16 hours), and these are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.

Without the tax incentive, movies will simply not come to Massachusetts. Productions will always go wherever they can make their show for the least amount of money. If the tax incentive goes away, so do the local jobs, the local economic boost, and the local charity donations.

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My name is Bridget Keefe, and I work on major motion pictures and smaller films in Massachusetts. My role, whether it be set decorator or set decoration buyer, is to shop local vendors for all of the decorative items the audience sees on screen. Furniture, art, lighting, home goods, etc. are all purchased right here in Massachusetts from furniture stores, antique shops, grocery stores, art galleries, thrift stores, etc. My entire budget is poured into local shops and retailers throughout Massachusetts each day that I work.

Personally, I’ve also benefited from the film tax incentive on many levels. The challenges, growth, experience, and exposure to interesting people and projects has placed me on a path I feel fortunate to have found. I’ve been able to save money for my future, build a life for myself, and work close to home in my dream job, all thanks to the Massachusetts film tax incentives.

I have thrived in my film career here and, like so many others, I can’t imagine my life or Massachusetts without it. If the tax incentive doesn’t stay intact, we won’t only lose a flourishing industry, we’ll lose its loyal people, and that will be the more regrettable point for Massachusetts.

 

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My name is Justin Bliss, and I work in the art department on films shot in the New England area. I began working in the film industry about six years ago as I finished my film degree. Having been born and raised almost exclusively in New England, the film tax incentive has been a true gift that has allowed me to work in a field that I love, all while staying close to my family and friends.

The elimination of the film tax incentive would surely stifle the great film community that has sprouted here and force not only me but also many other hardworking film crew into a difficult predicament with no ideal outcome. A choice would have to be made between leaving the career we love in film production or leaving the New England we love and call home in order to seek refuge in one of the states that offers the film tax incentives. Although that sounds like a bleak fork in the road, I hope to remain optimistic that our political leaders will realize the value and importance of preserving this great art form in the great state of Massachusetts and preserve my livelihood in the process.

If the curtain is drawn on the film tax incentive, it will mean an abrupt end to my career in Massachusetts as well. This is a plea to keep the film tax incentive so I can continue doing what I love, where I love, for years to come.

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Hi, I’m Brian Buckley.  I have been a tax-paying resident of Newburyport, MA, for over 20 years. A carpenter by trade, I joined the crew for the movie The Crucible in 1996.  Since then, I’ve worked on over 30 movies as a prop maker and a set dresser.  It’s hard work with long hours, but fun.

I consider myself fortunate to work with other highly skilled, talented professionals in many trades: from designers and artists to electricians, construction workers, and general laborers who also make their livelihood in this exciting industry.

The film industry is how I provide for my family, how I helped my son attend Amherst, and how I could afford my home in Newburyport. And Massachusetts is also where I recently relocated my parents so I could care for them locally. Massachusetts is where we live, work, and pay our taxes.

If Governor Baker is successful in eliminating the film tax incentive, no one will benefit – except perhaps Canada or another state where filming is encouraged.

Local business owners will not feel the influx of cash when a film crew comes to town, the tourism industry will not benefit from the international exposure of how great Massachusetts is as showcased in many films, and, more importantly, hundreds of my co-workers will struggle to find work. And thousands of Massachusetts residents also employed by the film industry will likewise be affected.

Please urge Governor Baker to continue to support the local folks making their living in the Massachusetts film industry.

 

11001890_10204880930240661_4997616009821001672_nMy name is Katrina Parsons; I was born, raised and educated here in Massachusetts. When I graduated with a bachelor of science in communication, I chose to stay in the state and work towards making a living in the industry to which I had been gearing my education. Because of the film tax incentive, I now have a viable career in the set decoration department, a house, and a growing family in the state that I love.

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Being born and raised in the Far East, I had always dreamed of moving to the US and making a living here. But being the youngest and the only girl in an Asian household, leaving home and family behind to move halfway across the world seemed like a far-fetched idea. Even more absurd was my dream to eventually work in the movie industry. Growing up, I remember looking forward to evening movies (often from the US) on the only two English-speaking TV channels, and was absolutely fascinated by the world of visual story telling and the life in the movie industry — Hollywood.

After convincing my parents of my determination to pursue my life in the US, I attended a well-known university in western NY and graduated with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in art. Luckily, I got my first job out of college with an international corporation, which brought me to Boston, and I began my career in corporate America. All the while, I thought my dream job would be just that — a dream — until two life-changing events happened. Firstly, I met my husband, who was born and raised in Massachusetts, got married, and then settled down here; secondly, I was laid off during the 2008-2009 economic crash.

Instead of looking for another corporate job, I decided to take a leap of faith and give my dream a try, despite having no connections in the movie world. I began working hard, volunteering as a PA with no pay on ultra-low budget movies and interning at local production companies. Within a year, I was getting hired consistently to work on locally-produced commercials and music videos, thanks to the increased number of productions coming to the area since the introduction of the film tax incentives. My big break came when I finally got hired to work as a PA on RIPD from 2011 to 2012. Since then, I have worked steadily, on five features and a TV show, mainly as a set dresser or a props assistant, not in Hollywood, but here in Massachusetts.

The movie industry, to outsiders, seems glamorous and star-studded, but the industry is built upon and supported by the local crew and vendors, who outnumber out-of-town stars and above-the-line crew. Because of the film tax incentives, many local crew have been hired on numerous projects that have come to New England over the years. We work long hours (usually 12 to 16 hours per day), sometimes in brutal weather conditions and physically taxing — and often dangerous — situations, but we do so because we love what we do. Throughout the years, we’ve been building good relationships with local suppliers, purchasing tons of lumber, steel, set decorations, meals, and services from local stores, and renting thousands of dollars worth of equipment, props, housing, locations etc., thus pumping money into our local economy. Furthermore, we live, work, and have families in the New England area, so we shop and dine locally, pay local taxes and utility bills, and put our children through local schools.

Without the film tax incentive, I would not have had my start in this business and life here in Massachusetts. I most certainly would have moved to other states in search of my movie career, paying taxes and living costs elsewhere. Personally, I have recently purchased a new car, have four locally rescued pets as my “children,” and am currently looking to buy a condo in the Greater Boston area. Without the film tax incentive, I would not be living the American Dream that has been decades in the making.

My name is Risa Uchida Battis. I am a proud member of the Massachusetts film community, and one of many film tax incentive success stories. Please keep working families working. Here. In New England.

save-ma-film-jobs_0247My name is Lauren Mooney. I was born and raised on the South Shore of Massachusetts. I am in my third year in the Massachusetts film industry as a set dresser. In those three years, I have realized that I can, in fact, enjoy what I do. I fell in love with the camaraderie, the hustle, working with my hands … the whole process. I have bounced around from retail to Corporate America. I was laid off after five years due to financial cuts and decided to take the plunge into the arts. I finally found my niche and have been striving to fulfill another dream of mine: to own a home. I am again facing an uncertain future. The Massachusetts Film Tax Credit is the only reason I am currently employed. Without it, production companies will go elsewhere. Will I move? Will I change careers? Will I make it? Will I be happy?

I’M MASS FILM.

Photo #1: I grew up with a tradesman as a father and we have always bonded in the shop. This is where my fondness of tools and all things crafty comes from. He is also a born-and-raised local and one of many reasons I hope to not have to relocate.

Photo #2: On the set of Good Kids, Duxbury, MA, 2014.

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I’m Lisa and I work in props on films, commercials and TV. I love what I do and I love where I live.

I hit the ground running working in the film industry in New England as soon as I graduated Emerson College in 1992.  I met my would-be husband, Jake, in 1994 and we supported each other as we cobbled together careers working in film.  We purchased a condo in Roxbury in 2005; the same year that the film tax incentive was implemented in Massachusetts.  Though Jake had begun battling cancer, he worked as a rigging grip and as a vital part of the film community with full throttle zeal.  Because of the film tax incentive, we were each blissfully busy with work, so we didn’t sweat medical bills or the mortgage.  When Jake’s health worsened, our New England film community rallied around us in an extraordinary fashion.  I suffered no financial grief when Jake passed away because our incomes were so steady.  I felt fortunate to be able to jump back into the stream of films and commercials, working alongside the strong base of talented and hard-working film technicians that this state boasts.  I relish working in this business not only because I love my craft but because I love all the crew members I’ve come to know throughout the years working together, and I enjoy checking out the variety of locations this region offers.  I also appreciate interacting with the many local vendors that have become an integral part of the Massachusetts film infrastructure that the tax incentive has built.
If the film tax incentive is phased out of Massachusetts, I worry that a family in our community  facing a serious health issue or similar hardship will suffer profoundly because of financial insecurity.  The film tax incentive supports a huge community of passionate, hard-working families.  I can’t imagine bearing witness to flat-lining the film community.

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My name is Melissa Cooperman. I grew up in Holliston, MA, and have lived over 30 years in various parts of Massachusetts. I have been working in Massachusetts for the past 17 years in set decoration and props for movies, commercials, television shows, documentaries, and industrials. Throughout the years, I have seen quite a lot of changes. What originated as a humble holding of additional jobs to compensate my living has turned into a growing career that has allowed me to buy a condo in Medford for our family, maintain health insurance, and purchase a car. In the past, we’ve seen local companies and crew leaving for NY and LA for a more lucrative industry, and the big movies crewing up with out-of-towners. Now, WE fill all of those crew positions, and some people have moved back for that very stability Massachusetts offers. Countless jobs and businesses have been created because of a prospering production industry thanks to the film tax incentives.

My job in the art department involves, well, shopping for a living. Whether the budget for my department is $3,000 or $1 million (yes, I said that!), it’s my job to spend that money on set pieces and props. I have hundreds of Massachusetts stores and individuals I purchase and rent from, including furniture, fabric, lighting, carpet and flooring, antique, and hardware stores; frame shops; consignment and prop shops; artists; event rental outfits, and craigslisters, to name a few. My current job as a set decoration buyer has led me to new vendors in automobile parts, scrap yards, rope suppliers, and many others. From names you recognize to small businesses you might not yet, we spend millions of dollars in the state. From New Bedford to Worcester to Boston to Gloucester, from the north to the south to the east and the west, we support local businesses in the communities. This is just ONE department, on just ONE film. The state currently hosts about 100 productions every year.

The mere mention of possibly eliminating (or even just capping) the film tax credit sends productions flying out of state. We saw it in 2010, and we are seeing it now. Productions will not even location scout in Massachusetts if we do not have incentives in place. This also hugely affects the businesses built on our industry, such as production houses, documentary companies, post-production facilities, gear rentals, studios, and prop houses, let alone every vendor we’ve been spending money with for years. It is not Hollywood who experiences the major benefits of the film tax incentive, it is thousands of your fellow hardworking Massachusetts residents.

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My name is Shann Whynot-Young, and I found my career and my future in the film industry in 2002, working on a reality TV show for PBS. Since then, a lot has changed in my life: marriage, family, and a home, but my love for the art department and the film industry has only grown.

The people that I work with (and we work hard) are some of the kindest, hardest working, and most professional people I have known. To not have the opportunity to work with these local professionals would be a great loss for me. I know as well that I would have to follow the work wherever it goes, which would certainly be hard on my family.

With the help of my fellow crew members, I have been able to see Boston transformed into Chicago, New York, and even Boston of 400 years ago! We have a lot to offer here in Boston, but it is not necessarily just the city itself — it is the talented people here and the tax incentives that keeps the industry coming back year after year.

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My name is Sophie Carlhian, and 2015 marks my 25th year in the art department of the film and TV industry in Massachusetts. Born, raised, and educated in Massachusetts, I live 15 miles from my childhood home (where my elderly mom still lives). Before working in the industry, I had neither health insurance nor a retirement plan. Since my first job in 1990, I have worked locally as a scenic artist, set dresser, buyer, art director, set decorator, and production designer. My husband Paul (also in the industry) and I own a home and have two children in the public schools. I have made family a priority over career in the last ten years. Steady film work locally has enabled me to be a parent, as well as a caregiver to my elderly parents.

When counting the jobs created by this industry, I wonder if we also count the nannies, house cleaners, landscapers, and home health aids we hire to support our family when we are both working? What about the tuition and fees we pay to the music school, ballet school, and local summer camps our children attend? In my current position as a set decorating buyer, I am in direct contact with a huge variety of grateful small business owners. For this one single movie project, our one single department will easily spend half a million dollars on purchases and rentals from local businesses, including prop shops, frame shops, rug dealers, antique shops, model train clubs, event rental companies, lamp shops, locksmiths, used auto parts dealers, auctioneers, private individuals (craigslist!), consignment stores, appliance stores, thrift stores, and many more.

We have watched as friends have moved to California and then spent all their time working away from home, in states like ours that offer a film tax breaks. I would like raise my family here in Massachusetts.

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My name is Tim, and I’ve been working in the film and television industry in Massachusetts since 2003. I am originally from New York and attended college at Endicott. I chose to stay in Massachusetts because of all the work opportunities here after the tax incentive was enacted.

I have been able to pay off my college loans and afford a reliable car. I live a comfortable middle-class life and hope to buy a house soon with my fiancée, whom I met while working on a TV show.

I have benefited from the film tax incentives and I know many other people and businesses that would be hurt financially by the governor’s proposal. Movies and TV shows will get filmed elsewhere; I won’t get as many work opportunities, and might be forced to move or start a new career after 12 years.

Every day, I see the local people and businesses that benefit from the film industry. From the waitress that I tip at lunch to the hardware store where a show might spend several thousand dollars during filming to the local framing shop that frames all the paintings for a set, the benefits of the film tax incentive reach far beyond a few executives from LA. Painting the credit as a freebie to wealthy out-of-towners is intentionally misleading and unfair to the hardworking residents of Massachusetts who will suffer if it is eliminated.

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My name is Greg Corcoran, and I am a set dresser in the film industry. I was born and raised here in Massachusetts, and I currently live in Carver, MA, with my wife Jessica and two sons, Nick and Jacob. In our department, we usually have two trucks going all over the state every day picking up various dressing and materials needed to create the vision of the decorator.

Money is being spent at numerous local suppliers and mom-and-pop stores, and there is always craigslist (usually it’s a piano on the third floor!). To see the look on a local sub shop owner’s face when an entire crew walks through his door for lunch … well, it’s pretty awesome!

Every day that there is a production here in the state means that money is being spent, people are working, and local businesses are profiting. We as an industry are a bunch of hardworking, dedicated men and woman who make a living working long days so that we can provide for our families. The film tax incentive is vital to keeping our jobs in Massachusetts thriving. Taking away the film tax incentive will result in thousands of lost jobs and millions of dollars gone from the Massachusetts economy! We are not Hollywood, we are Massachusetts!

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My name is Bob Schleinig, and I have been working as a leadman and set decorator for a little over 25 years in New England, the last 19 in Massachusetts. In the past, before the tax incentive program in Massachusetts (and other states), the problem was runaway production to Canada, which offered tax incentives (and a good exchange rate). So in the ’90s, film and TV production outside of the two major centers (NYC and LA) was merely occasional. To work steadily in this profession, I had to roam for work to states that did not have sufficient skilled labor to support film production.

As the tax incentive program in Massachusetts and other states developed, so did the amount of work and the amount of skilled labor. The credit for payroll now encourages all films in states that have such programs to hire locally. As a leader of a crew of 20-30 set dressers, I do this three to four times a year in Massachusetts, as do the growing number of other busy Massachusetts leadmen (there are five or six now, up from two). On the other side of the incentive, I buy local. I direct decorators from LA to the local resources for fabrics and rental warehouses for set dressing, hardware, furniture, and decorations from many decades.

When a production wraps, we catalog and store all the goods for re-shoots (at a Massachusetts vendor) until the production is released. Once upon a time, these goods were liquidated for cents on the dollar at a loss or shipped back to LA. In the past six years, we have more efficiently and quickly liquidated by encouraging productions to donate the goods to recycling services like Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Rosie’s Place, and Boston Building Resources, just to name a few. The monetization of these resources is a benefit to the community and to the production companies as nonprofit donation.

It is my pleasure to work at a job that I have loved for a long time, with my colleagues who are friends and neighbors, in a state where I love raising my children. Please do not let the livelihood for so many hardworking creative people and businesses be diminished so swiftly by shunning film and TV production from this state. We are the face and fate of Massachusetts film.

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Anyone that knows this machine, knows me. I’m Chris, and I’ve done set air conditioning since 2008. I’m a set dresser, and this will be my 10th year working!

IMG_2010My name is Tyris Smith, and I have been a set dresser in the film industry since the early 1990s.  I am a veteran of the United States Army, a husband, a father of six, and a grandfather of two.

I love the work that I do and the dedicated, hardworking people I work with. These dedicated workers have specialized skills that do not easily translate to another industry. Meaning, if the incentives go away, the jobs go away, and these workers are left with no source of income.

We have built up our local crew membership, and enjoy a great reputation with the production companies that come to Massachusetts to make films. These production companies have come to rely on the many workers and local vendors in Massachusetts. With these production companies choosing to make their films in Massachusetts, it has allowed us to raise our families, pay our taxes, keep our money local, and stay connected to our communities.

If these incentives go, the film industry will cease to exist in Massachusetts, and the substantial money earned with every film made here will go to other states that do offer the incentives.

 

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My name is Rachel Burgio, and I am a set dresser here in Massachusetts. I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life; I attended Westfield State University for my undergraduate degree then Emerson College for my master’s degree. I paid for both of these degrees by working multiple jobs here in Massachusetts. I have always wanted to be part of the film business, but thought that meant having to move away from my friends and family. When I started out in the business eight years ago, I soon realized that staying in Massachusetts was a viable option. Since then, I’ve worked on more than 25 films and I’ve never looked back. I am proud of the fact that I can live in my home state and still do the job that I love.

As a set dresser, I get to see the far-reaching effects that the film business has here in Massachusetts. Every day, we deal with new locations and new people — from the restaurants where we eat lunch to the gas stations that fill our tanks, from post offices to hotels to furniture stores to small mom-and-pop shops that have the one specific thing the decorator is looking for to make the set perfect, it all comes from the Massachusetts economy. Not to mention the donations that are made once the film is finished. Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, and women’s shelters all benefit from items that we are able to donate upon the completion of the films.

I am 100% sure that if the film tax incentives are phased out, film production in Massachusetts will cease. It breaks my heart to think of myself and my coworkers no longer being able to live and thrive off the career we work so hard for everyday. I hope that the real story of the film workers of Massachusetts can be seen through the glare of “Hollywood,” and that people will see it is not the stars that the credit benefits, it is your neighbors and friends.

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My name is Rosie. I’ve worked in the film industry in Massachusetts for four years in the art and set decorating departments. Having gone to film school in Massachusetts and worked here almost exclusively since graduating, I have used countless vendors in the state. I pay taxes here, own a car here, and pay for health insurance here. I paid tuition here, too… The film tax incentives have meant being able to stay here instead of moving to Los Angeles, being close to my immediate family, and networking here.

Please do not let this turn into another Michigan or North Carolina. The films will go where the tax incentives are. I wish that this point could be made clearly to the public! There is so much revenue from these films that are exclusively spent in state — hotels, vendors, craft services… Massachusetts will lose my tax dollars and the tax dollars of the other hardworking crew members here, plus all of the revenue spent at local vendors. It is a huge mistake. I truly hope people realize this.

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Hi. My name is Cleo. I’ve been fortunate enough to have established a career in filmmaking since I graduated in 2005 from RISD. I majored in film, animation, and video, despite my parents’ wishes. They never would have thought I could have a career in film and support myself. Luckily, around the year I graduated, Rhode Island passed a film tax incentive and, as a result, more movies were going to Rhode Island to film. I was able to start my career during this influx. However, after a couple of years, Rhode Island capped their film incentive, and now very few movies come to Rhode Island. Around the same time that Rhode Island was capping their incentive, Massachusetts passed one, and suddenly more movies were being made in Boston. I moved to Boston and was able to continue to build a career, chase my dreams, and make a living despite what my family/culture thought. I am living the American Dream! I’ve worked in several departments in film including production and art, and now I work mainly in set decoration. As a shop foreman, I am in charge of all the purchases and rental items used on the film sets. I see lots of invoices and know there’s a lot of money paid to local vendors for even just a minute of film. Whether it is buying several desks and chairs for a two-minute office scene, or paying a family to rent out their house to shoot in, or even just paying a local city for parking permits to park our camera trucks, there’s a lot of money going into the city, not just to the hardworking crew. It would hurt not only me and our crew, but our local vendors as well.

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My name is Brian McKenzie. I have been a set dresser for nine years. As a set dresser, I have seen firsthand how the film industry affects both the small businesses and the people of Massachusetts. I am often one of the crew responsible for picking up the set dressing all around the state. I see the people behind the storefronts and how grateful they are for the business. They have families. We have families. Through film work, hundreds of residents can work in an already tough economy and businesses can prosper. Keep the Massachusetts film tax incentives.

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My name is Jen LaFace. I have been working in the film industry since 2008. Working as a set dec coordinator or Construction Buyer, I see firsthand how much money is spent locally, and it is staggering. Losing the film tax incentives would hurt so many Massachusetts businesses as well as the hardworking crews and their families. I would hate to see Governor Baker repeal the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit as I think it would completely demolish the Massachusetts film industry.

 

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My name is Leslie Rollins. I am a set decorator working in Massachusetts, primarily in the Boston area. Two years ago I did a movie here called The Equalizer. I am responsible for spending close to two million dollars on a given project. On The Equalizer, that money was spent almost exclusively with local vendors and businesses. Without those vendors, it would be impossible to do my job. Ours is a symbiotic relationship: we need them, they need us. If the state chooses to eliminate the tax incentives, that money would disappear, and I fear many of those Massachusetts businesses would suffer great harm.

Pundits, columnists, and some politicians do not see the benefit of the film tax incentives. They seem to think that movies are all about the stars and famous directors. Well, they’re not. Movies are about the people who make them — the hundreds on each project working behind the scenes as grips, electricians, carpenters, set dressers, prop makers, etc. Boston has some of the finest crew bases I’ve ever worked with. They are here because they have families and have chosen to raise their families in beautiful New England. Do not destroy what is working so well.

To take away the movie business from Massachusetts would be severely detrimental to all of the middle-class workers who make their living within it.

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I’ve worked in the art department for films since 1995. In that time, I’ve raised my daughter, Magdalena (with her mom, Massachusetts film worker Jenny M.), bought my house, and paid my taxes. I’ve basically lived my entire adult life with paychecks earned from film production. Before the Massachusetts film tax incentives, much of the hard-to-find work was in Rhode Island, New York, or other states with good film incentive programs (as were the taxes I paid). The film tax incentives have made it possible to make a decent living at home in Massachusetts. If the tax incentives go, so will the jobs of thousands of very specialized craftspeople whose skills have little application outside their trade.

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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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My name is Alison Katinger.  I have been working in film, television, and commercials since 2000.  I was born and raised here in Massachusetts, and got my formative education in Massachusetts public schools, my undergraduate degree at UMass-Amherst, and my master’s degree at Emerson College.

However, after graduating, I had to leave this great state to find valuable work within my field. I had mounting student loans and simply couldn’t sustain myself here at home given the lack of film projects that were made in Massachusetts. I moved out to Los Angeles and began working on a variety of productions out there. The work was good, and I was able to make a decent living, but I was far from happy. The Bostonian in me missed everything that was on the East Coast: the culture, the food, my beloved sports teams (go Pats!), my friends, and — most of all — my family.

Then the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit came into being and everything changed. While still living in LA, I noticed more and more production companies heading out of California to shoot their projects in states that had tax incentive or credit programs – including Massachusetts. I was shocked to find I was now losing work to my hometown! Knowing I was a Massachusetts native, fellow LA residents, business owners, and industry crew began to complain to me about how much work Massachusetts “was stealing” from the folks in LA.  Projects that had previously planned to shoot in LA were now rescheduling and relocating to shoot to little ol’ Massachusetts because it had such competitive tax incentive — and they were bringing all of their millions of dollars with them to the Bay State.

It was a no-brainer.  I packed up and moved back to my beloved home state and I am now proud to work side-by-side with the incredible workforce and local businesses that make this state amazing.  I have been able to pay off my student loans, I am closer to friends and family, and my quality of life has increased tenfold.  The film tax incentives did all of that.

Naysayers will lead you to believe that cutting the film incentives will only affect a select few, many of whom are “Hollywood big-wigs” who don’t need the money anyway.  I am proof otherwise. Cutting it will cut my livelihood.  I am the face of the Massachusetts film tax incentives.

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My name is Shadya Ballug and have been working in the entertainment industry for 22 years now. This has always been my life and always will be. I have always been very passionate about the arts and know for a fact that our film tax incentives bring a lot of money into the state. I myself spend production dollars as locally as possible.  I give back not only to the state but to the community. Please read my fellow crew members’ blog posts for more information about the film tax incentives.

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My name is Deb Cutler. I am a set decorator in the film industry. I have worked on many films here in Massachusetts over the years, and approximately 75% of my job is buying things.

Whether I’m buying from thrift stores for the movie The Town, The Design Center for The Equalizer, Jordan’s Furniture for Grown Ups, or antique stores for The Finest Hours, I make it my mission to shop locally to keep the money here in Massachusetts. My position requires supplying the sets with everything from furniture and flooring to antiques, artwork, wallpaper, window treatments, and lighting, as well as  books for the bookshelves and dishes to put in cabinets — whatever it takes to support the story. I shop everyday for the perfect pieces. My team and I pick up all the pieces and pack everything with care so that we can dress all the sets in time for filming to begin.

I am also a single mom and I put my son through college here in Massachusetts; he graduated in May and now has a fantastic job as a graphic designer for a top architect in Boston. I could never have done that without working in the film industry. If the tax incentives are taken away, I will lose my job and my vendors will suffer as many of them depend on the film industry. I know many companies that have turned their businesses into film-friendly prop houses and all of these will close.

Please keep the tax incentives in place and I will continue to do my job and shop locally. Thank you.

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