When the Commonwealth offered tax incentives to film productions to shoot movies in Massachusetts, the promise was that all kinds of industries would form to support the movies. If MovieCarCasting.com is any indication, it’s working. This Needham-based company is putting car owners in touch with productions, and getting cars in major movies and commercials.
Prior to the 1990s, you could count the number of major motion pictures shot in Massachusetts on one hand: The original Thomas Crown Affair. Parts of National Velvet. The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Love Story. It’s a completely different ballgame now that the Commonwealth is actively involved, with a film office and a 25% production tax credit, a 25% payroll tax credit, and a sales tax exemption for productions that spend more than $50,000 in-state.
MovieCarCasting.com connects local car owners with entertainment agencies and marketing firms looking for cars in New England. The help to find cars for movies, television shows, commercials, print ads, and special events, and they want you and your car to be a part of the action.
The company is owned by Rob Braunstein and Morris Porter, both dyed in the wool car guys who have spent decades either passionately caring for vintage muscle cars, or servicing clients in the automotive industry. I asked Rob how the business got started. “I had a used car store in Allston, and we got a call from a casting office asking if they could use one of the cars on the lot in a movie,” he said. “I checked them out and they seemed legit, so I agreed.”
After the experience, Rob started getting called for more cars and the idea of a business took shape. He’d been friends with Morris Porter for years, and while Rob had significant knowledge of modern cars, Morris was a muscle car guy with four killer cars in his garage at home. Rob wanted Morris’s vintage car expertise, plus his history in the software business to help him build a web presence and a database of cars in the area.
Now they’re off and running, and in a big way. They’ve helped casting agencies find cars for productions like American Hustle, Ted (below), and Ted 2.
The biggest challenge for an agency like Movie Car Casting is authenticity. Despite the way it looks in some movies, most people didn’t drive Pontiac GTOs and Corvettes in the 1960s. A director like David O. Russell, or Vince Gilligan, who created Breaking Bad, have a keen eye for cars that fit the period, and look like cars that the characters would drive, or that would be in the background of a scene. It’s the details that make great movies, TV shows and even commercials feel authentic.
Rob says that most people think their cars don’t really fit in a movie production, but often times, ordinary cars are exactly what he and Morris are looking for. “We just worked on a major, nationwide commercial and the car we ended up using was a 2003 Toyota Avalon,” he laughs. “It’s just what the director was looking for.”
Movie Car Casting charges $29.95 to add cars to the database. You can add as many as you like, but they have to be titled in your name. From there, if a production is interested in your car, Movie Car Casting will contact you and make you an offer from the production company for your time. Often, the car will end up being a in the background and the car owner will be cast as an extra, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how movies are produced.
If you’re interested in having your car in Movie Car Casting’s database, they’ve provided BestRide.com readers a coupon code for 50% off the $29.95 fee. When you register at the site, use the code BESTMCCRIDES when you get to the shopping cart, and you’ll automatically get the cheaper rate.
We’re putting our own cars in the database. If we end up getting plucked out of obscurity for a movie, we’ll keep you posted.