My name is Dana, and I am a stills photographer. Coming out of photography school, I knew that film production was where I wanted to go, but I never even dreamed that it was a possibility without an expensive move to LA or NYC. But thanks to the Massachusetts film tax incentive, which draws numerous films to the state — gigantic, teeny tiny, and everything in between — I found and responded to an ad in the paper for a local indie film that was looking for production assistants. I set up an interview, met with the producer, and the rest is history. I have now worked with her on eight of her films over the past four years, seven of which were filmed entirely in Massachusetts.
In addition, I have had the opportunity to work as a production assistant on a reality TV show and a handful of larger films as well — all within driving distance from my house on a farm in a tiny town in rural central Massachusetts. Being responsible for errands, runs, lunch pickups, office/set snacks (crafty), etc. as a production assistant, I can say with confidence that these productions pump quite a bit of money into the local economy — much more than people may realize.
From dozens and dozens of lunch orders per day, to big shopping lists of snacks and supplies for the office or set, to renting office and warehouse space in general (as well as locations for filming), and all of the local shopping that happens for the props, art, and costume departments — right down to things as small as dry cleaning and daily coffee runs — there are examples of money spent locally, boosting the local economy.
And thanks to the film tax incentive drawing these projects to Massachusetts, I’ve been working more and more steadily as I continue to strive to make a name for myself. In the past year, I have joined the camera union, bought a new car, and will be moving into a new apartment just outside Boston in a few short weeks, amidst working on a TV pilot for HBO. I am working my ass off, living my childhood dream, at only 22-years-old, and without even having to leave Massachusetts. And it wouldn’t be happening without the film tax incentive.