Massachusetts is an attractive location for bigger studio films because its payroll credit covers above and below-the-line expenses and its production credit includes out-of-state expenses, with no annual or project caps. Credits can also be cashed out with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 90% of face value.

In 2015, 26 projects shot in the state, compared to 35 in 2014. But last year’s shoots included Ghostbusters, with a reported budget of $150m, as well as Manchester By The Sea and A Quiet Passion. This year the state has hosted Live By Night, Altar Rock, Stronger and Patriots Day. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts legislature was reportedly considering a proposal that would have reinstated a $7m per-project cap on the film credit programme. In the end, however, the programme survived the state’s budget cycle intact.

The Lowdown

Financial incentives

Massachusetts has a 25% production credit, a 25% payroll credit and a sales tax exemption. Minimum local spend for the payroll credit is $50,000. Spending more than 50% of total budget or filming at least 50% of principal photography days in Massachusetts makes a project eligible for the production credit and sales tax exemption.

Full details on financial incentives in Massachusetts: Massachusetts Film Office

Infrastructure and crews

The local workforce includes more than 3,500 film professionals and 3,300 SAG-AFTRA members. New England Studios near Boston has four sound stages and a converted hangar at the SouthField development, south of the city, was recently used to shoot Ghostbusters.

Size matters

The Atlantic coast state of Massachusetts is about 150 miles by 100 miles. The state capital of Boston is an 80-minute flight from New York City.

Sol Papadopoulos, producer, A Quiet Passion

“We wanted to add kudos and credibility to the film [about poet Emily Dickinson] by going to the [Dickinson] homestead. We shot the studio elements in Belgium and one week of exteriors in Amherst, in and around the Emily Dickinson museum. It was a bonus that the credit was there, but the reason we went to Massachusetts was the story and the character.”

Would he come back?

“Yes. The experience was an incredibly positive one.”

First person to call

Lisa Strout, director, Massachusetts Film Office
Tel: +1 617 973 8400

Need to know

  • DO consider hiring locally. The state has experienced crew and talent.
  • DON’T overlook the fact Massachusetts boasts seaside and mountainside locations as well as urban settings.

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