By Sarah Shemkus
Cape Cod Times
September 25, 2008
PLYMOUTH — Hollywood hasn’t come to town quite yet, but the hundreds of people who flocked to Plymouth South High School last night are ready and waiting for its arrival.
“I’m enthralled with the idea of having a movie studio come to Massachusetts,” Plymouth resident Conni DiLego said. “I think it’s an exciting adventure.”
DiLego was part of an enthusiastic and unexpectedly large crowd that filled the high school auditorium to attend Jobs on the Lot, a presentation about the jobs that would be created by the proposed Plymouth Rock Studios.
A half-hour before the event was scheduled to begin, lines stretched down the sidewalk and around the corner. When the doors opened, 400 people were admitted. At least as many were turned away with guarantees of entrance to one of the future presentations, scheduled for October and November, said Bob Melley, director of business relations for the studio.
“It’s surprising,” he said of the crowd. “We’re very excited about the support we’ve been shown by the community.”
The plans for the $422 million Plymouth Rock Studios include 14 sound stages, office buildings, post-production facilities, a 900-seat theater, restaurants, a visitor’s center, and a 10-acre back lot.
The studio is to be built on land currently owned and occupied by the Waverly Oaks Golf Club.
Studio organizers estimate construction, maintenance and operations of the new facility would generate 2,000 jobs with a total payroll of $150 million.
Peter Fleury, the studio’s executive director of operations, assured attendees that the positions would be open to local residents. “There have been rumors that there is going to be some massive Los Angeles relocation,” he said. “I just want to knock down those rumors right now — that’s not going to happen.”
In a presentation punctuated by film clips, representatives from the studio outlined the three main categories of jobs that would be available: construction, staff and operations, and production.
Construction, which is expected to begin in spring 2009 and continue until summer 2010, could employ as many as 200 tradesmen in union jobs, said presenter Scott Gustafson, regional organizing coordinator for the Laborers Union.
Plans are in the works, he said, to form a collaborative between the studio and the high school’s vocational programs.
“We’re going to give (the students) good wages and the best benefits you can find,” he said, to resounding applause.
Staff and operations jobs include employees needed to keep the studio running on a daily basis from accountants to maintenance workers.
Production jobs include positions involved in the filmmaking process such as hair styling, make-up and camera operations. Minimum weekly salaries for production jobs would range from $700 to more than $3,000, according to figures presented last night. Some positions had an earnings potential of more than $250,000 per year.
Across town, Plymouth’s advisory and finance committee last night discussed a town meeting warrant article calling for the creation of a special zoning district to facilitate the development of the studio. The committee was scheduled to vote on whether to recommend the article. As of the Times’ press deadline, the results of the vote were not available.
‘Jobs on the Lot’ events
Dates: Oct. 15 and Nov. 11
Time: 7 to 10 p.m.
Place: Plymouth South High School