I really liked the article on the NC film industry in the March 17 Mountain Times (NC Film industry on the decline?).

I was a bit surprised to see that subject front page for a Boone/High Country publication, but very glad you are bringing awareness to the situation with North Carolina film.

I am an actor and stunt performer living in, and from Boone. I was very impacted by the loss of incentives in this state. Film work for me had become fairly steady, traveling to Wilmington quite often to work on several of the shows there, as well as Charlotte area for shows and commercials. I had worked enough to earn health insurance as a member of SAG, based on earnings.

Once the incentives were taken away, work all but dried up and I lost the insurance benefit. Myself, as other North Carolina film workers, have been seeking work in other states, with many making the move.

Georgia now is reaping the rewards of a healthy incentive program and has become the third most film active state behind California and New York. Many films/shows that would have chosen North Carolina are filming there. South Carolina incentives are also healthy; I worked on a Cinemax show there in December, and now I am finishing a supporting role on a film in Bristol, Va.

It does appear to be exciting again for North Carolina, and, as the article pointed out, things are improving with the state’s grant program. The grants will not bring it back to what it was, but at least we now see the return of the film industry, with at least five productions beginning in March and April.

Many people do not understand that film means jobs, and it isn’t the Hollywood “fat cats” who benefit, but the North Carolina working class. As the article said, productions will go where it makes business sense.

Dean Lyons

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