Every time Earl Boyd hears a movie company has passed over Maine in favor of filming in another state or Canada, he sees money flying out the window.

He cringes when he watches a movie that is set in Maine but was filmed elsewhere.

Boyd, 65, of Canaan, loves films and filmmaking. He loves Maine. He wants to see the state prosper.

In his mind, getting the film industry here is one of the quickest ways to draw good quality jobs into the state, generate some excitement and boost morale in these tough economic times.

“It’s not rocket science,” he says. “You just offer the incentives and they’re going to come here.”

Boyd is a registered nurse who has worked on several films as a production medic.

He was the medic for “Empire Falls,” an HBO movie filmed mostly in Skowhegan and Waterville in 2003 and based on Maine author Richard Russo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name.

Boyd saw the excitement that stars Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Aidan Quinn and others generated in Maine, the millions of dollars the movie brought to the state and the thousands Newman donated to charitable causes here.

He knows it can happen again.

“We’re in a bad jam here. We’re losing jobs. The economy’s bad. I lost my job as a nurse. I’m being taken over by CRMAs — certified residential medication aides. They train them to do medications and they’re a whole lot cheaper than nurses.”

Aside from selfish reasons for wanting Maine to be more movie business-friendly — needing a job — Boyd is interested in seeing other unemployed people find work. And when Empire Falls came to town, it did so with big money and lots of opportunity. People landed jobs driving movie stars around, working security details, helping with costumes, running errands.

Aside from that, the crews and fans who came here stayed in hotels, ate at restaurants, shopped in stores and patronized movie theaters, among other places. The crew bought lumber, paint and other hardware, rented vehicles and houses, and gave money to worthy causes.

Boyd saw a real economic impact on small businesses, job creation and tourism — an impact that could be continuing here today, but the state just doesn’t have the incentives in place, he said.

In other states where taxes are lower for filmmakers and incentives are attractive, movies are being made and dollars are flowing, he says.

“You can imagine, if we had 15 films a year in Maine, that would be a lot of jobs. They pay really well. You could work 15 weeks. That’s as good-a-pay as 30 weeks.”

As he speaks, Boyd, a slight and athletic man with long brown hair tied back into a braid, recalls several other movies he has worked on in Maine, including “The Preacher’s Wife,” “Graveyard Shift” and “Murder in Small Town X.”

He also remembers attending a committee meeting in Augusta a few weeks ago at which a bill was discussed that seeks to provide tax incentives for movie companies to come here. Boyd said he just sat and listened.

“Every day I waited just for an opportunity to say a couple of words — to tell them I had a chance to see, first-hand, not only how it (filmmaking in Maine) affected my pocketbook, but about the excitement. I wanted to tell them that to me, it’s more than just bottom line, about how much money the state is going to make. It definitely raises people’s spirits, and maybe somebody without a job can get a job. There’s more of a benefit than just how much money is being spent. There’s the whole emotional lift from it. It’s the whole residual when they leave.”

Boyd wasn’t allowed to speak at the committee meeting because no public comment was allowed (he was unaware a public hearing was held some time before that session). But he wants to urge legislators to focus less on how much to tax the movie people — and more on just getting them here.

After all, we have beautiful mountains and forests, a gorgeous coastline perfect for movie making and interesting and hard-working people who would love to work in or on a movie.

And when a big screenplay such as “On Golden Pond” is set in Maine and filmed in New Hampshire, we really miss the boat. That movie, for those who don’t remember, was filmed in 1981 and starred Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda — and was Henry Fonda’s last role.

It’s not the only movie set in Maine and filmed elsewhere, prompting Boyd to urge the powers that be to welcome film crews into the state with open arms and fewer conditions.

“If you don’t get them to come here, you’re not getting anything,” he says.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 24 years. Her column appears here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]

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