UPDATE (2/4/16): This bill’s status is currently unknown. I will update this again once I know more.
ORIGINAL POST— Maine has the potential to become one of the hotspots for filmmaking both from Hollywood and the independent scene with the upcoming proposed “film bill” LD 1004.
Also, please read this article from The Bangor Daily News.
I implore all of you in favor of this bill to e-mail your support (to either the Director of the Maine Film Office, Karen Carberry Warhola [Karen.CarberryWarhola@maine.gov] or more impactfully, to the leader of the bill John Joseph Picchiotti [John.Picchiotti@legislature.maine.gov] and let your voice be heard! Included below is my testimony for the bill.
Maine is aging. Its average age is increasing year by year and we need to develop creative ways to keep the young Mainers at home, and working.
But a lot of current jobs in Maine are either fading fast or stymie any creative avenues for future generations.
This bill could increase tax rebates for motion picture production.
Current rebates offer 5% of production costs to a 25% rebates for non-visual production costs.
Not to mention we’re a State that offers the other type of rebate as well: The wages rebate for employees, which will also be increased.
-From 10% for non-Maine workers to 15% in certified production wages,
-And for Maine workers’ wages– 12% to 25%.
That means more money for the Maine workers. This means more jobs for Mainers.
But how else can you guarantee Maine workers will get their due first?
This bill also requires applying productions that 80% of the workers “below the line” (more on that later) must be from Maine if there are those workers available.
If there isn’t, then they may be able to use other workers. But in order to prevent this…
…We need those Maine workers to stay In-State!
Below the line means any production job that falls under the Cast, Director, Writer, Producer, and Executive Producer.
These jobs are:
And the list goes on!
The best part? Some of those jobs would already be covered by Hard-working Mainers!
Support this bill and support Maine!
Here’s my testimony for the bill (Written like a speech because until my car went out of commission, I was planning on speaking at the hearing on April 6th).
I’m Jamie Gagnon and I’m Made in Maine
Growing up in the small town of Fort Kent afforded me a safe childhood and plenty of time to dream.
And yet growing up, I never had the same aspirations of my peers. I never wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut; I just loved creating scenarios with my toys or writing short stories, and of course watching movies.
Little did I know that this was all leading up to some practical application; that in by doing these ostensibly “normal” things, it was training.
So in junior year, I took the bait, deciding on a whim: “I’ll be a filmmaker; I like movies.”
However, after life handed me sour lemons in the form of Leukemia at age 18, it shook me to my core, focusing my sights on not only bettering myself but also helping others. I wondered how filmmaking could channel that ambition and I looked closely at how film had impacted me.
-Great writing and amazing on-screen chemistry gave me my first crush on a young Hollywood actress.
-My most cherished memories were getting together with friends and laughing hysterically at classic comedies.
-And at times, movies would strike the match to ignite a moral revolution within, making me ponder on ways in which to actually be a better person.
Fast-forward ten years. While working full-time, I graduated from The New England School of Communications in Bangor majoring in video production. Now, I’m nearly 30, and desperate to work my way up the ladder; to work in a field in which I am truly happy. And I not alone. NESCom is comprised of hard-working students and faculty who share the same passion that I do now, all of which could potentially get work through a film production at least “below the line.” Just think: young Mainers staying in Maine, working in Maine.
However, with the current legislation, that unfortunately, means that we must leave Maine. I don’t want to, in fact, if there were more film productions now, I’d already be there working harder than I’ve ever worked before, and it wouldn’t phase me because as the saying goes:
“If you find a job you truly love, you’ll never work a day in your life again.”
Movies offer the chance to escape from your problems or worries, if only for two hours. And in my experience (especially in screenwriting) by walking away from a problem for a while, and returning with a fresh pair of eyes, a solution can often reveal itself, and I believe this is the solution, if not in full, then in part.
So please, let me work in Maine and allow me to pass those feelings of inspiration onto the next generation.
Thank you for your time,
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