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Film tax credit pays off [Letter]

Does this house look familiar? Participating in "The Miracle on 34th Street" is a privilege a few friends and I have had for the past two years. Boh and Utz are pretty cute, right?

There was a new addition to the display for 2013 — painted panels supporting "House of Cards," "Veep" and overall film production in Maryland. We aren't just fans of the shows, we are employees representing multiple on-set departments. The majority of our income is generated by these productions, and it pains us to consider moving elsewhere to maintain steady employment.

The Maryland Film Tax Incentive program can be seen as corporate welfare, or it can be seen as securing the infrastructure of an industry and guaranteeing millions in economic stimulus to workers and businesses ("Senator faults administration effort to keep 'House of Cards,'" Feb. 21).

However, this isn't just about those two productions, this is about sustaining our industry for generations to come. We've been fortunate to learn under the best — veterans of "Homicide: Life on the Street," "The Wire," John Waters' films and more. Many of these individuals sought work in other states when incentives were cut years ago and ultimately returned home when new opportunities arose with the revamped incentives in 2011.

This is not a free ride for production companies. This is not a hand-out to producers and celebrities. They contribute a fraction of what is needed to pull off a major motion picture. Take time to actually watch the credits of your favorite program and see how many people participate in the process. And that's just the full-time crew, not including day-labor and background actors.

I only speak for my roommates and myself. Our household is but one example of the positive outcomes the stronger incentive has on Marylanders. It will be a sad day when we can no longer call 34th Street home, and we surely hope it isn't this June when our lease expires.

Jessica Baroody, Baltimore

The writer is a studio mechanic and member of IATSE Local 487.

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