By: Lela Checco, Crafty Craft Services, LLC
PAFIA Board Member
On Tuesday, February 5th, 2019, I hit the road and headed for Harrisburg to explore, learn, and make my voice heard. It was my first trip to our state capitol as a professional union worker, and I was very excited. But I’ll admit it: I was also very nervous. I felt out of my element and had butterflies in my stomach the whole time!
But despite those butterflies, I got a lot accomplished on my trip. I toured the Capitol Building and, along with Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) board members David Haddad and Courtney Gumpf, met with PAFIA lobbyist Jim Davis, to get a better understanding of how he interacts with our legislators on an issue that is very close to my heart - filming TV and movies in PA.
I learned a great deal from Mr. Davis and was inspired to do everything I can to help our cause. And later that evening, I took a big step toward that goal, when we sat down to dinner with a senator and his staff. We had a lovely meal, and I put a lot on the table: myself.
I once read somewhere that “people forget the facts but never forget a good story.” So, I went with that and told the senator *my* story, to give him a glimpse of what it’s like working in the film industry in PA. I explained what my career in Craft Services involves and regaled him with stories about providing on-set food and beverages to the cast and crew. I told him how I pride myself on using local businesses as much as possible and emphasized how I’ve seen small businesses grow from my interactions with them, from hitting higher sales goals and acquiring new equipment to expanding their operations, creating physical storefronts and food trucks from social media posts, and much more.
I also described how my own career has grown, due, in large part, to the resources I’ve found in Pennsylvania. I was born and raised and received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Keystone State; and, after a brief stint in California in the early-2000’s, have worked here for well over a decade. I’m now on my way to owning my own food trailers, which, as I told the senator, is only possible because of the connections I’ve made with Pennsylvania businesses through my work in film.
The senator was glad to see how “PA proud” I am and seemed impressed with everything I shared about my connections and interactions with local businesses - and I’m glad that I told my story and demonstrated how the film industry has grown and worked hand-in-hand with other industries to help them grow and make our state’s economy, and residents, thrive.
But mine is not the only story to be told. You’ve got a story too. Tell it! You may not have the time, energy, or money to make it to the capitol. But you can still make your voice heard. Call or email your senator to tell them *your* story. Let them know who you are, what you do, and how it affects the businesses around you.
We have an amazing crew here, and Pennsylvania is our home. The Tax Credit for PA is very important to us, and hopefully it will be raised to a higher limit to keep our family together. So, please, do your part. Stay informed... and keep your representatives informed.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org