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Boston Film Jobs in Focus

Posted on August 20, 2009

Any unemployed worker in Massachusetts who has ever dreamed of working in Hollywood could soon have a chance to do something similar, as several Boston film jobs could soon be created.

The combination of two proposed studios, tax incentives for in-state productions and a thriving film industry are helping to create more opportunities for local workers who can edit and help with post-production aspects of the film, television and digital media industries. In turn, several local businesses and schools are expanding their facilities and programs to help fill open jobs.

According to an article by The Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Film Office estimates that $452 million were generated from movies filmed in the state during 2008. The popularity of filming in Massachusetts began in 2006, when two films were created in the state, but during 2007 that number increased to eight, and last year 13 movies were made in the state.

Part of the film industry’s growth in the state is attributed to a 2006 tax credit for local productions. The program underwrites one-quarter of a movie production company’s costs with the idea that the filmmakers will hire stat workers and help increase economic growth.

On the down side, the rules don’t require companies to hire a specific number of Massachusetts workers, and according to a recent report from the Department of Revenue, the state only receives 16 cents for every dollar spent on the incentives.

Industry leaders are hoping two proposed film studies will help boost the local film market. Plymouth Rock Studios, scheduled to break ground later this year, is a $282 million project with an initial 14 stages and plans to increase that number to 28. Another studio for movies, television shows and video game production is taking shape at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station, a project estimated to cost about $147 million

The Massachusetts Film Commission estimates that a total of 3,000 to 10,000 workers may be needed if the studios are built soon, which means out-of-state workers may have to be brought in to fill in the gaps. Another good sign for the industry, membership in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 481, which represents 400 film technicians in New England, has doubled since 2006.

Local schools and businesses also are stepping up to the plate in order to help the state’s film industry. The New England Institute of Art started its “College on The Lot” program, which is a weekly series of workshops that introduce people to the local film industry and its potential jobs, as well as courses available at the school. So far, 200 students have participated in the program, which is held on the lot where Plymouth Rock Studios is to be built.

Future Media Concepts has added five digital media training suites in order to teach people the latest in post-production and broadcast editing applications. Powderhouse Productions recently expanded its 5,000-square-foot offices to 14,000 square feet in order to take on more projects.