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film & tv • print • new media • lifestyle feb/mar 2014

THE ART OF THE PITCH p.22

BOTTOM LINE p.28


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feb/mar 2014

contents features The Art of the Pitch The Art, Science and Wisdom of Pitching Your Reality TV Show..... 22 Bottom Line Below-the-Line Training Programs Take Center Stage in Georgia... 28 The Chosen Ones From a Casting Couch Far, Far Away........................................................33

columns Ozcetera......................................................................................................... 6 Behind the Camera w/Drewprops:...................................................... 36 How I Got into the Business................................................................... 38 Oz Scene...................................................................................................... 40

oz magazine staff

Distribution Partners............................................................................... 46 Let Me Give You My Card........................................................................ 48 Ad Campaigns............................................................................................ 50

Publishers:

Tia Powell Group Publisher Gary Powell Publisher Latisha “Tish” Simmons Project Manager Editorial:

Gary Powell Ozcetera Editor Laura Barrett Research Contributors:

Nichole Bazemore, Natalia Breslauer, Randy Davis, Andrew Duncan, Kelvin Lee, Ruksana Hussain, Allen Rabinowitz Sales: Diane Lasek, Monique McGlockton, Kris Thimmesch Design:

Sarah Medina Production Manager Randy Davis Production Artist & Designer Ted Fabella Oz Logo Design Cover Design:

Natalia Breslauer Photographer Kelvin Lee Design

Visit us on the web at www.ozmagazine.com, www.ozonline.tv, www.facebook.com/ozpublishing Oz Magazine is published bi-monthly by Oz Publishing, Inc • 2566 Shallowford Road • #302, Suite 104 • Atlanta, GA 30345 • (404) 633-1779 Copyright 2014 Oz Publishing Incorporated, all rights reserved. Reproductions in whole or in part without express written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. This magazine is printed on recyclable paper.

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contributors Nichole Bazemore is the author of The Industry Yearbook: 40 Years of Georgia Filmmaking and the People Who Made it Happen, published in 2013 by Oz Publishing, Inc. Bottom Line, p. 28

Natalia Breslauer is a freelance photographer in the Atlanta area. She is currently studying photography at Savannah College of Art and Design to further her career in the business. Natalia loves to capture nature and landscapes but has broadened her range to urban subjects as well for this months cover. Cover photography —Nbreslauer@yahoo.com.

Randy Davis has been called Creative Director, Design Director, Art Director, Designer and Pop over his long career creating memorable campaigns for cause-based organizations. In addition to his studio duties, Randy is a member of Auburn University’s Department of Industrial and Graphic Design, National Advisory Council. Designer and Production — RandyDesigns.net

Andrew Duncan, known in the motion picture industry as “Drewprops”, has been writing about the craft of filmmaking from the inside out since the mid-1990’s. His confusing and often embarrassing stories from behind the scenes provide a unique insight into the craft of filmmaking from the perspective of the shooting crew, artists, and designers who bring your favorite films to life on the big screen. Andrew writes the Oz column, Behind the Camera w/Drewprops, p.36 — drewprops.com

Ruksana Hussain is an Atlanta area freelance writer and copy editor working with several local and national print and online media outlets. She covers everything from hospitality and tourism to education and community events. Ruksana was a finalist for the Atlanta Press Club Excellence in Print Journalism Award in 2012. The Chosen Ones, p. 33

Kelvin Lee is a graphic designer and illustrator currently enrolled in Kennesaw State University. He is very enthusiastic about visual arts both digital and traditional. Aside from digital arts, he is also passionate about printmaking and the craft of bookbinding. His styles range from bold modern looks to intricate detailed designs. Cover design — kelvinleedesigns@gmail.com

Allen Rabinowitz has been a contributor to Oz since 1993, covering advertising, cinematography, graphic design and photography. One of the first chroniclers of the Punk Rock scene in his native New York, Allen’s work has appeared in local, national and international media including Communication Arts, How, Photo District News, Shoot, Folio, Agence France-Presse and Georgia Trend. During a stint in public relations, he penned numerous articles on visual communications for a Fortune 100 client. Allen’s son, Joey, graduated with honors with a journalism degree in 2012. The proud dad boasts that Joey’s first experience in the business came when he accompanied Allen on a 1995 Oz cover story. The Art of the Pitch, p. 22

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Brennen Dicker Joins SIM Digital Brennen Dicker has joined SIM Digital’s Atlanta office as post production manager. Dicker has broad experience in all aspects of film and television production, and deep ties to Atlanta’s production community. He previously served as director of post production sales at Crawford Media Services. In his new position, he will lead SIM Atlanta’s Bling Digital unit, which provides a variety of leading-edge data management, dailies processing, and post production services to film and television productions. “Brennen’s appointment is part of our deep commitment to the Atlanta market, our desire to build strong relationships with producers and provide them with innovative solutions across their workflows,” said Ann DeGuire, general manager of SIM Digital, Atlanta. “He brings in-depth experience, a passion for the production industry and a long history of helping producers solve their challenges. It’s great to have him on our team.” Dicker will work alongside DeGuire in growing the company’s business in the Southeast. SIM Digital supplies production needs, such as camera equipment, as well as post production services, such as on-set and near-set dailies, Avid rentals, and finishing services. The company’s Bling Digital unit has experienced rapid growth as film and television productions adopt new workflows that encompass services that previously required brick and mortar post production facilities. SIM Digital Atlanta currently provides production and post production services for a number of episodic television series and film productions, including CW’s The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, and The Sundance Channel’s Rectify.

Brennen Dicker

Dicker has been active in many Atlanta-area industry-related service organizations. He serves on the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta Advisory Council, the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP) board, the Metro Atlanta Chamber Advisory board, and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Steering Committee. He is also on the board for The Frazer Center, a nonprofit that helps children and adults with disabilities.

Atlanta Eats On Demand Atlanta Eats, the multimedia company that follows the food and dining out scene in Atlanta, has announced a partnership with Comcast Business to air episodes of their weekly 30-minute TV program on Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand. Viewers can watch six Atlanta Eats episodes in HD and SD per month. “Our partnership with Comcast Business is an important addition to our ever-growing brand,” said Cody Hicks, Atlanta Eats’ chief brisket officer. “We created Atlanta Eats to be a dynamic half hour of television, and this joint venture further validates our position as the voice within the city’s dining community.” Atlanta Eats was founded by Steak Shapiro in 2012 and is comprised of a weekly 30-minute TV program and an interactive digital and social media presence. Atlanta Eats is currently in season three and airs on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30am on Peachtree TV in Atlanta.

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Arketi Racks ‘em Up High-tech business-to-business public relations and digital marketing agency Arketi Group received five awards at the 2013 PRSA Georgia Phoenix Awards Celebration in November of 2013. Additionally, Arketi Principal Mike Neumeier, APR was honored at the ceremony with the 2013 Luminary Star Award, presented annually to a member who is a seasoned professional and has demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributions to the profession of public relations. Arketi and its clients received the following five Phoenix Awards at this year’s ceremony: Marketing Business to Business Technology for a integrated event marketing campaign for Brickstream; Social Media for a Technology Tweet Tournament developed for the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG); Writing Trade/Business for a news release announcing the Cloud Sprawl Survey for PMG; Websites for a website for TAG’s 2013 State of the Industry Report; and Research/Evaluation for a survey campaign for PMG. In addition, Arketi Group was recently recognized for website design, earning four awards from the International Academy of the Visual Arts. The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the state’s leading association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, commissioned Arketi to design an innovative app-like website to showcase the findings of its annual State of the Industry Report. Stepping way beyond its paper-based and web-based predecessors, the 2013 State of the Industry: Technology in Georgia Report has been met with rave reviews and is being pointed to as an innovative use of the MODX Revolution content management platform. “The report is important to everyone interested in Georgia’s technology community. With that in mind, we developed a website that would encourage visitors to delve into the rich information,” said Rory Carlton, principal of Arketi Group. “By providing a personal and interactive experience, we have found that visitors stay on the site longer and return more frequently.” The website has earned the following four awards from the International Academy of the Visual Arts: Gold Davey Award for Websites (associations), Gold W3 Award for General Websites (associations), Gold W3 Award for Website Features (user experience), and Silver W3 Award for Website Features (structure and navigation).

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PRSA Honors Chapter Champion Eminah Quintyne has been recognized as Chapter Champion of the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in recognition of her outstanding volunteer work for the chapter. Quintyne was presented with a certificate and inscribed pen at the chapter’s monthly meeting in December.

Eminah Quintyne

Quintyne earned a BA in broadcast journalism from Hampton University. She practiced journalism and public relations as an intern at NBC’s WBALTV in Baltimore and also for a custom-made eyewear company before moving to join the Atlanta PR community. She is currently attending Georgia Southern University studying nutrition and food science to become a registered dietitian.

Headin’ to the Hills The Serenbe Film Society will present an unforgettable evening of film, music and great food to be held at Cherry Hollow Farm on April 12, 2014. Film and music lovers will be able to feast on local BBQ and screen the original documentary The Winding Stream, which tells the tale of legendary country music stars, the Carter Family, and their influence on the course of American roots music. The evening kicks off with the Shawn Wilcox Band, presented by Chat Hills Music, who will play favorites from the Carter-Cash repertoire as well as other bluegrass tunes. A story that has never been told in its entirety, The Winding Stream covers the epic sweep of this family’s saga all in one film. It is told by family members including Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Janette Carter, and includes performances by the musicians they influenced such as John Prine, George Jones, Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson and many others. The Winding Stream Director Beth Harrington will attend the screening and participate in Q&A after the film, where residents can hear first-hand about what it took to tell this fascinating story. The event is open to the public and will take place in The Barn at Cherry Hollow Farm, an unforgettable space filled with unique architectural artifacts, situated in a serene country setting in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia.

Artistic Image Merges with Artemis Creative Artistic Image design studio has merged with their sister company, Artemis Creative. The merger will enable the company to provide clients with more resources and a wider variety of art services in one environment.

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Philmwurks’ Past Due wins FilmUtah’s Annual, Finance Your Film Pitch Session

Zack Collins

Past Due, a film by Zack Collins was awarded first prize in a very tight race at the FilmUtah annual Film Financing Seminar and Pitch Session. The event was held at the Yarrow Hotel and Convention Center in Park City during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The Seminar offers a comprehensive explanation of how the business looks at a film project and offers invaluable advise from key individuals involved in all aspects of the film industry. The Pitch Session invites those filmmakers who are in the development stages of their project to present a fiveminute pitch to the industry experts including Tamara Bell (Koan Distribution), David McDonald (2656 Marketing), and John Corser (Producer).

The first place winner, Past Due, is the hilarious story of Calvin Cooper, a high-maintenance self-loving playboy who gets promoted as a Collections Manager, then fired on the same day, which makes finding a new gig to support his lavish lifestyle a necessity. But in this economy, nobody’s hiring – except, “Almost Yours Rent-2-Own,” a mom and pop rental retail operation with an inventory of just about anything for rent. Cooper is hired and unfortunately teamed up with a slacker employee named Denji, his former best friend turned enemy from high school, the two are given one day to collect from the company’s toughest account—or it’s back in the unemployment line. Past Due is a buddy tale of repossession, investigation, and dangerously funny comedy. Just remember—When they say its Almost Yours…they mean it! The panelists erupted in laughter and were blown away with Zack’s pitch of his film Past Due. Many were surprised Zack had ever pitched a film idea. Rudy Langlais, producer of box office hits The Hurricane (Denzel Washington) and Bring It On called Zack’s pitch the “perfect pitch.” John Kessler of FilmUtah said Zack’s package, which included a soundtrack and sizzler BluRay dvd, was “impressive.” The moderator and Hollywood casting director, Ronnie Yeskel (Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction) was, too, overjoyed with the characters created by Zack.

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Old School Gets New Stuff Congrats to PC&E for celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2013 as a one-stop shop in Atlanta for camera, lighting and grip, soundstages, and sales and expendables. Here’s what’s new at PC&E: New ARRI M90 Lights: PC&E has increased their stock of new ARRI HMI units with the recent addition of two new ARRI M90 lights. They have the same “Max” reflector as the ARRI M40 and the ARRI M18. The M90 uses a newly designed 9000-watt that was made specifically for ARRI. The unit is open-faced and very bright; it is also focusable from 16° up to 49°, producing a remarkably even light field and a crisp, clear shadow. Uncoated Lenses: PC&E took an ordinary set of Zeiss Superspeeds and turned them into an extraordinary set of lenses by removing the anti-reflective coating from the front element, resulting in increased flare and less contrast. This modification makes these lenses very expressive and a great tool for a specific look. They have also removed the coatings on a Cooke 18-100 zoom lens. The lack of coatings reduces the light transmission in these lenses by about a third of a stop. Sony PVM-1741 17” and PVM-2541 25” Professional OLED Monitors are used for critical image assessment and are at home in both a production and post production environments. The monitors feature built-in waveform and vector scope displays for checking that the video signal is within spec. The built-in camera focus aid enhances the edge detail for critical focus adjustments The Dana Dolly offers a fast and portable option for the shot that calls for a 6 to 8 foot dolly move on an affordable budget. And, there’s an additional Optimo 45–120 in the camera department inventory. This lens has exceptional optical quality and rivals the best prime lenses.

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Pepper’s Place Up for Bids Fake Wood Wallpaper Films, Zombie Cat Productions, and Moonshine Pictures, all of Atlanta, are teaming up to produce a spec pilot for a television show titled Pepper’s Place. It’s a combination of live actors and puppets in a stylized, fabricated world that takes a jab at popular children’s TV shows, in a humorous and adult way. Show creator/director, Molly Coffee, has lent her art department creativity to a slew of independent feature films including Dickball, and V/H/S 3. She is the creator/director of the short film Magic the Gathering the Musical and the owner of Zombie Cat Productions. She also worked set decorator on season four of the Walking Dead. The creative team also consists of Drew Sawyer, executive producer; Tony Holley, producer; Raymond Carr, associate producer; Charles Thomas, writer; Michael Jones, music composer; and Nick Morgan, production designer. Hannah Fierman stars as Pepper, a hyper-optimistic 20-year-old girl going on 14. Her life is a series of farces, or in her eyes “epic adventures,” with a colorful yet recognizable cast of characters who come into the coffee shop where she works, The Cracked Cup. The team is currently running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to obtain additional production funding.

Tube, Grit n’ Thistle Tube recently traveled west to shoot promo spots for Prospectors: Season 2. Tube also did the promos for season one, but this year’s experience was different. The Weather Channel (producer, Stephen Clark, and creative director, Mark Fredo) flew the Tube crew to Colorado—Tube owner, Chris Downs; senior editor, Greg Partridge; and DP, John Taggart. Unlike last year, when the crew shot near the comforts of base camp, this year they shot on the summit of Mt. Antero at 12,500 feet above sea level. After ascending a narrow mountain paths on ATVs they set up camp with the help of Grit n’ Thistle, a local production crew out of Salida, Colorado. During filming, the crew faced jagged rocks, steep cliffs, narrow roads, high altitudes, low oxygen levels, and unforgiving weather.

“There’s something about the mountain that gets a hold of some people,” says Prospectors cast member Dwayne Hall. The crew filmed seven of the characters from the show, each with his own tale to tell about what it’s like to have the mountain be their livelihood.

Unofficial Fan Tours Atlanta Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours is working with Atlanta Movie Tours, the Atlanta History Center (The Swan House), Clayton County International Park, Film Clayton, and other prime locations for an exclusive, behind the scenes look at these iconic locations. Says Leigh Trapp, producer of the Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours. “Our hands-on, immersive tours offer a one-of-a-kind experience for fans of the Hunger Games books and movie.”

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People! Watch Me!

Errol Sadler and Brandon “2Mill” Thaxton

Supremacy Films founders Errol Sadler (producer) and Brandon “2Mill” Thaxton (director) of Atlanta-based film production company Supremacy Films won The Georgia Entertainment Gala People to Watch Award this January. Over the past few years, Supremacy Films has shot music videos for rap artist 2 Chainz and R&B artist D. Woods. And they have produced four short films: Up In Smoke, No Crime, Letters to a Father and Prognosis, which have been featured in film festivals such as the Brooklyn Short Film Festival (BSFF), Long

Island Film Festival (LIFF), Manhattan Film Festival (MIFF), and Peachtree Village International Festival. Sadler earned associate producer credits for the Symmetry Entertainment film Echoes which was accepted to the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Supremacy Films’ current film, Curveball, starring Rockmond Dunbar and Emmy Award–winning Lynn Whitfield, is currently in post production and is slated for release in the spring of 2014.

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Xcel’s Marquese Scott Hits 100 Million Atlanta’s Xcel Talent Agency represents Marquese Scott, the only dancer in the world with 100 million views in one single YouTube video. “Pumped Up Kicks” was featured, front-page news on MSN.com, The Huffington Post, CBSNews, and YahooNews. “Marquese Scott is one of the most sought dancers in the world. His YouTube channel has almost 250 million total views, with over 1 million subscribers. His fan base is growing every day and they are very loyal to him, that’s why he has become a hot commodity within the advertising industry,” says Aris Golemi, President of Xcel Talent Agency. Scott dances to dubstep, a style that originated in London and incorporates animation, waving, and popping. His videos are not aided by trick photography; they reflect his body movements in real time, and are un-choreographed. Following Pumped Up Kicks, Scott has appeared twice on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and in various television and online commercials. He has traveled the world representing major brands like Google, Coca-Cola, Peugeot, Ferrari, iRobot, Audio Technica, and Pepsi among others. Scott has been dancing since high school in Indianapolis. After leaving the Navy in 2003, he moved to Atlanta where he met other dancers, learned the dubstep dance technique, and began uploading videos of himself onto YouTube.

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Express Color Gets Tanked Express Color, a graphic service bureau in Atlanta, recently installed a huge frosted window collage for an episode of Animal Planet’s new program Tanked that aired in December. On this reality show, viewers get to watch the building of some of the world’s most imaginative aquarium setups.

Paris on Peachtree has Mountain View Mountain View Group recently won awards in several competitions. Competitions included the League of American Communications Professionals (LACP) awards, MarCom Awards, and International Association of Business Communicator (IABC) awards: an IABC Silver Flame, a Gold LACP Spotlight Award, and a Platinum MarCom Award for a marketing campaign for Interval International; an IABC Bronze Flame, a Silver LACP Spotlight Award, and Gold MarCom Award for a sketch video for GE Power & Water; a MarCom Platinum for a motion graphics presentation for EPRI; a MarCom Gold for animations for the World of Coca-Cola; a MarCom Platinum and a LACP Silver Spotlight for a motion graphics piece for GE Power & Water; MarCom and LACP Spotlight golds for Albany Medical Center TV commercials; a MarCom Gold and an LACP Silver Spotlight for a piece for GE Power & Water; an LACP Platinum Spotlight for a sales video for Sandvik; an LACP Bronze Spotlight for a Family Dollar brand manifesto; a Gold MarCom and a LACP Silver Spotlight for a internal communications piece for Battelle. Mountain View Group also helped to promote Atlanta’s High Museum of Art’s special exhibition, which ended recently, “The Art of the Louvre’s Tuileries Garden.” The video riffs off the “Paris to Peachtree” idea, bringing one of the statues to life and showing them explore some of Atlanta’s iconic locales. 18 | ozmagazine.com


Biscardi Turns the Corner Busy

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Biscardi Creative Media recently celebrated with Environment News Trust on the completion and wrap of season three of This American Land, an original conservation series on public television stations nationwide. The series delivers engaging stories on America’s landscapes, waters, and wildlife and takes viewers to the front lines of conservation, science, and outdoor adventure. “We’re very proud to have been involved with the launch of the series and now here we are wrapping up season three. It’s very exciting,” said Walter Biscardi Jr., founder of Biscardi Creative Media. “We believe in the overall message of This American Land, a message that isn’t often reported on.”

and many accomplishments. Biscardi blended original RED 4k re-enactments with archival film and print materials to create a documentary-style look back at the heritage of the ABL. The presentation was shown at the 80th anniversary celebration. Honorees at the event included Earl Graves Sr., Joseph E. Lowery, Herman J. Russell, and Andrew Young.

Biscardi is currently working with Hire Dynamics, an awardwinning staffing and professional recruitment organization. A recent project was unveiled at the American Staffing Association’s annual meeting. The presentation showcases a new program in Atlanta called Junior Achievement’s BizTown and Hire Dynamics’ involvement with the initiative. JA BizTown is a program that exposes middle schoolers to real world workplace skills. Biscardi Creative Media also worked with MarChasCo Productions on a project honoring the 80th Anniversary of the Atlanta Business League, which fosters growth and development of African American–owned businesses in Atlanta. The piece included historical storytelling of the ABL and its leaders; it’s hurdles

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Picture Perfect at Soul Train Awards Picture Perfect Production & Editorial, a motion picture production and post production house, helped the 2013 Soul Train Awards break ratings records with the production of two clips directed and edited by founder Willie Giles, of PPP&E. The clips were seen by nearly 4.6 million viewers in December, making this the number one Soul Train Awards telecast in BET cable company’s history. “We were proud to launch the show with the first of our two clips. Opening the 2013 Soul Train Awards surrounded by iconic performers was really thrilling by all standards!” said Giles. One clip documented the show’s host, Anthony Anderson, getting “pumped up” for the show by his “personal trainer,” WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather. The second clip featured Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson– ONE performers along with Anderson.

Director Willie Giles and Floyd Mayweather preparing for shoot

Floyd Mayweather giving boxing tips to Anthony Anderson

Director Giles working the Michael Jackson–ONE Shoot

It’s a wrap with Director Giles, Anthony Anderson and Cirque du Soleil’s performers at the Michael Jackson–ONE Shoot

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So, there you are, sitting around the conference table at the office of an upand-coming reality-show-based cable television network. You’re pitching a hell of an idea: dead ringers for the Kardashian sisters team up with carbon copies of the Duck Dynasty crew to run a combination pawn shop/storage facility in the hills and hollers of Tennessee. As the network suits get their coffee orders filled, the sizzle reel of your project is cued up. The next few minutes will determine whether your project is a “go” or a “no.” You visualize yourself as Greg Maddux on the mound getting ready to hurl a high, hard one. You wind up and release the pitch…

By: Allen Rabinowitz


In many ways, pitching a new idea or concept for a reality show is similar to pitching a baseball. All your years of training and experience have gotten you into the big leagues, and you are on your game. There are some things, however, that you have to check off your list before you can throw that winning pitch. Coaching the tyro pitcher, Atlanta’s production company all-stars share the secrets of the art of the pitch. “First and foremost, you have to make sure that the idea is solid, original and hasn’t been pitched before,” explains Brandon Barr, executive producer at the production company, School of Humans. “You need to edit your ideas ahead of time so that when you walk into the room you’re pitching something that’s novel.“ Like a major league mound star, Barr says, most times you need to take something off the presentation. “With experience you learn the art of how to say as little as possible to get the network intrigued by your pitch,” he states. “Some people go in, do their pitch and end up talking their way out of the pitch. If you go in feeling like you can ‘Don Draper’ it, it’s likely that you won’t succeed. You really have to make sure that everything you do is practiced to the point where you feel like you are Don Draper.” Tom Cappello, president/executive producer for Crazy Legs Productions— who has sold shows to such places as DIY, The Travel Channel Cappello and Investigation Discovery—says a previous relationship with the parties you are pitching is invaluable. “Relationships cannot be underestimated,” he explains. “They’re really the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. When you’re sitting across the table from a network exec, the first thing he’s thinking is, ‘Are you the guy who is going to give me a hit?’ The stakes are really high. It’s great to come in with a great resume and personality, and if you have those things but no reputation, you’ll probably 24 | ozmagazine.com

still get a shot. Having a strong reputation and establishing relationships with the network, and being represented by a reputable agency all play into bigger orders, bigger development budgets and all the things that are critical in the reality business.” “The first thing is to know your buyer: know what the thing is they’re looking for and tailor the pitch specifically to them,” claims Michael Lucker, of Lucky Dog Filmworks, who has developed programs for the Cartoon Network and MSNBC while allied with a North Carolina production company. “It always comes down to

pitched to several channels. “People are looking for content. Over the last few years, there’s been a growth of distribution channels out there, and they’re all Miller looking for content. A lot of non-profit corporations funded by wealthy individuals are creating their own channels to make sure their message is coming across. You have to know what the relevance is to the potential advertiser. They want to reach a certain number of eyeballs, so you have to find out if your show has staying power or does it have one shot.” The success of Duck Dynasty has created what some observers call “redneck chic”—small, family-run businesses and If you go in feeling like the Southern setting as hot as Georgia asphalt in August. The colorful personaliyou can “Don Draper” ties of the Robertson family have provided it, it’s likely that you the A&E channel, which telecasts their antics, with numerous viewers and high won’t succeed. ad sale revenues. The lure of creating a more lucrative bottom line is one of the keys to the network, and the increased cash in their coffers is the prime reason for the growth of reality programs. Why, however, are reality shows popular with viewers? Christy the reel, but in terms of what we share, we Hutcherson, who has served in a number talk about the strengths of the characters, of producer functions for scripted prothe longevity of storylines and the market- grams, offers her theory: “People feel that, ability of that material to their audience sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. According to Lucker, keeping up with Sometimes it’s more real than science. I’m interested in that. I hope it’s getting the networks is also an important part of produced with integrity and interesting a successful pitch: “They’re always looksubjects.” ing for something different,” he says. “It seems they change their minds every The Southern settings, in Hutcherson’s eight weeks. Our biggest challenge is to view, provide natural backdrops for the try to keep up with the changes in their characters and story lines. “There are some templates and the new landscape of the strange ideas about the South. There is market place.” something about this area and its inhabit “The number one thing is to take the ants that generate interest nationwide. time and have the patience to check out From Deliverance right up to Duck Dynasty, all the parameters of what’s out there,” there’s a rebel radicalness that’s still alive says Cal Miller of Integrated Solutions, a here.” group of independent producers, writers While a show like Duck Dynasty comes and developers who have put together around rarely, it sets the tone for what ideas for pilots that are currently being cable networks are seeking from those


who are pitching new concepts. Says Suzan Satterfield, managing partner at Picture Window Productions, “What they want is that number of viewers and that kind of success [like the hit show]. What they look for a lot are family businesses or people who are close friends in a world, because the relationships between the characters are already there. Part of the reason for the success of shows like Duck Dynasty is that there’s a solid storyline, and people like the characters and the family dynamic. There is a dynamic in a family or a bunch of close friends that you don’t get by casting and just throwing a bunch of Satterfield people together.” “This industry is a hundred percent cyclical, and it’s based on hits,” Barr explains. “Duck Dynasty appeals to a wide demographic that is still watching television. There are a lot of younger niche market shows that can’t reach a broad audience. So when a hit like that comes along, every network wants its version of it. Once someone finds a formula that becomes a hit, everybody else says, ‘me too.’ For us as producers, the challenge is to avoid wanting to do the ‘me too’ stuff because, if you’re coming to the table with an idea that’s already been produced, that’s a tough row to hoe. There are other production companies in the US, and they’ve all already pitched that kind of show. It’s absurd to me how specific you need to be.” Though categorized as a “reality” show, it’s an open secret in the industry that much of Duck Dynasty is scripted, with producers manipulating story lines to propel the action along. Barr feels this has changed the whole world of reality television. “In this world,” Barr elaborates, “you no longer have to shy away from the fact that you’re story producing all the elements. It allows networks like A&E to produce work with the longevity and scale of a sitcom without the cost associated with a sitcom. That show, in particu

lar, is heavily scripted. Every episode is written, and it’s shot in batches, just like you would a sitcom.” “There is more and more blurring of the line between reality and fiction,” adds Satterfield. “There are some shows where the producers manipulate what happens. The challenge for those producers and shows is to do something that feels authentic, even though a lot of it is choreographed.” Satterfield points out that there are a number of sub-categories lumped together under the “reality” banner. Having successfully pitched shows that ran on Turner South, DIY, HGTV and others, she explains that the differences occur as a result of who is driving the show’s action. In her company’s Mega Dens for the DIY network, the production company sets the path that the construction crew that is renovating a family’s den follows. Mega Dens is what Satterfield calls a process show. “We go into someone’s home and into their family room and make it over. We generally go in on Monday and finish by Friday. We pretty much know what’s going to happen. We have a construction plan that drives the

show. When you’re trying to do a construction in five days, it’s very deadline driven.” In character-driven shows, like Duck Dynasty or the various Real Housewives of… series, the drive comes from what’s happening to the stars. “Those shows are so interesting that you’ll watch them no matter what they do, because they’re so outrageous or funny,” says Satterfield. Other shows are transactional; for example, viewers wait to see how much someone makes from the sale of a house or what things someone will find in an abandoned storage facility. In the case of travelogues—usually views of exotic places, interesting cities or best vacation spots—the guide must be an expert on the locale. Each guide, says Satterfield, “needs to be a specialist in that world. Because you’re seeing a city through that person’s eyes, it’s important to give credentials and backstory on that person who will be leading the journey.” This categorizing of shows by themes extends to the networks themselves and adds to a production company’s pitch challenge. “The more a network has a niche, the tougher it is to pitch them something they haven’t

Picture Window Filmworks—”Mega Dens,” Chris Grundy and Anitra Mecadon ozmagazine.com | 25


seen before about a hundred times,” says Satterfield. “Even though an idea hasn’t made it to television yet, it may be because it was pitched a hundred times and nobody wanted it, and that’s why it’s not on air.” There are times, however, when a network will shift gears and adopt a new programming concept. The production company might look foolish pitching a travelogue of exotic island paradises to a channel looking for home improvement programs. “It’s the agent’s responsibility to equip us with a healthy understanding of what the network is looking for,” says Lucker. “But it’s ultimately our responsibility to be in touch with the network to know what it is they’re after. You have to be quick on your feet. If you go in and pitch one thing because you’re confident that’s what they want, but they change their minds, you have to present the new direction. You have to be adaptable.” “They’re always changing,” says Cappello on the shifting fortunes of cable TV networks. “There are shifts at every channel. Some are small, and some are seismic. But you need to be prepared

for it. There’s an old adage that goes, ‘Pitch me the idea you think wouldn’t sell.’ A lot of times, you don’t know what’s going on behind the wall. It’s always changing, but the networks are always looking for something new.” When the producer takes his or her project to be evaluated by the network, the key to the presentation lies in the contents of the “sizzle reel,” a video that showcases a concept or talent in a short package. In three to five minutes, the presenter seeks to convey to the network executives a taste of the characters, their stories and a little bit of a look into their world. Think of it as a trailer of what the show might look like. Although the meetings can last between a half hour and an hour depending on the number of projects being pitched to a particular buyer, most producers try to divide that up and keep a honed pitch at right about seven to ten minutes of actual pitch topped off with a three- to five-minute sizzle reel. “Networks don’t buy ideas any more, they buy tape,” says Barr. “They expect to see a character tape or a three- to five-

Lucky Dog Filmworks—”Shock Jocks Sudio” 26 | ozmagazine.com

The more a network has a niche, the tougher it is to pitch them something they haven’t seen before about a hundred times.

minute sizzle reel. You go out and film elements of different episodes, and you pull that together into a summary video that puts the entire concept of the piece across. “That is important when you’re talking with television networks in the room,” he continues, “but more importantly, it’s what travels through the network when you’re gone. The art of the pitch, at heart, is creating that piece which is going to be what those executives bring into their meetings with their bosses and are proud to be pitching.” While Crazy Legs Productions still comes to a meeting armed with paperwork in the form of treatments, episode ideas and such, Cappello says sizzle reels are necessary to give the executives a visual component. “A few years ago, we went out and heavily produced our sizzle reels with top-notch camera and lighting—really, really high-production-value reels,” he says adding a nod to new technology. “But the last few shows we sold via Skype.” Satterfield says that what Picture Window Productions likes to do is to bring a sizzle reel and one sheet of paperwork into a pitch meeting. “The sizzle reel is like a television show that hasn’t been produced yet,” she explains. “You try to shoot something that you imagine will be how the show will look. It’s like shooting just the highlights. You don’t shoot a whole show, because that would be expensive and time consum-


ing, so you try to get glimpses of what the show might look like and show that to the executive. The goal is to have someone see more, but not necessarily overwhelm them with what the possibility of the show might be.” There are times when the production company’s agent may do an initial pitch through network development if he or she knows the network may be looking for something specific. “Our agent may run something by them to see if they may be interested in that, or see if they want a bigger and more complete pitch. What they prefer to do is have an executive take your pitch, so we might pitch to one executive who then in turn goes to a development meeting with a whole group of executives and pitches it to them. You might be in the room for one pitch, but ultimately it’s pitched by someone else.” Miller says that the pitch process may be stretched out over a period of time and involve a number of phone calls and e-mails. “An executive I’ve worked with says he receives twenty-five to thirty pitches a week, and there might be one or two that might be worth looking at a second time,” he says. “If they like it, they will pass it on to a colleague to get his or her opinion,” Miller continues. “They see so many of these, and several can look like copies of others. What they’re looking for is something that’s really developed beyond the commonplace.” You may think that your neighbors or relatives might be the perfect candidates for their own reality program. Before you cajole a production company for a finder’s fee, think again. “We’ve been approached by people who think they have a good cast or a good world for a reality show,” says Satterfield. “We’ve gone out in search of talent … or you read an article about people, or hear someone talk about something you might find interesting. What I do is go out and meet people and sometimes hang out with them for a day to see what their lives are like and see who other characters might be. You want to

make sure they have the potential to be interesting enough to be on the show. The answer is sometimes, maybe not.” “There are many routes by which we find great talent,” adds Lucker. “We love it when people bring us ideas, and we’ll scour the Earth to find great talent. Oftentimes, talent will approach us themselves. We sometimes partner with outside producers who bring us concepts and talent they’ve discovered in the bayous and back roads of America.” The number of cable and broadcast networks featuring reality television programs is growing, and each and every one of them is seeking content for the equally growing audience. Before you put on your best suit and shoes to pitch your idea, listen to the advice of our experts and learn the basics of the pitch. After all, even Greg Maddux had to come up the through the ranks and pay his dues on the way to Cooperstown. Satterfield counsels potential producers that, along with being prepared, they should also take the time to ask questions and absorb the wisdom of the people they hope will become their

future clients. “The most important thing you can do is to do your homework on the network and understand as much as you can about the people you’re pitching,” she tells aspiring producers. “Then take a breath and listen. One of the most frustrating things in being a network executive is that people are so amped up and/or nervous about the pitch that they don’t stop to gauge the reaction. They don’t ask the people in the room what they’re thinking. They don’t make it a two-way street. Our attitude is that we try to impress the people we’re pitching enough so even if they don’t buy something at the moment, they’re going to want to take more pitches from us and will eventually want to buy something we’ve pitched.” Lucker believes that the proliferation of digital content is changing the landscape dramatically. “With the influx of opportunities coming from the YouTubes, the Hulus and Netflixes of the world,” he explains, “it will be interesting to see if those opportunities for producers generate content of greater quality. The viewer is now the content programmer.”

Crazy Legs Productions—”Hidden City” ozmagazine.com | 27


Below-the-Line Training Programs Take Center Stage in Georgia By Nichole Bazemore

It’s a Saturday afternoon in mid-January in Georgia. Outside, the wind whistles and whirls, dancing over and around trees, lifting limbs and rustling leaves in its path. A clap of thunder rattles the earth, and on its heels the first of many flashes of lightning scribbles an electric path across the pale, gray sky. Torrents of rain begin to fall, and in some parts of the city, tornado sirens sound. To put it simply, all hell is breaking loose. But neither the threat of a tornado nor a nearmonsoon can dampen the enthusiasm of the 80-plus people gathered inside the Harry S. Downs Center for Continuing Education at Clayton State University in Morrow. Today, they’ve snubbed the weathercasters’ warnings to stay indoors. 28 | ozmagazine.com

They have ventured out, determined to register for one of just 80 seats in the university’s newly introduced Digital Film Technician Certificate program.

Help Wanted By now, you’ve surely heard that Georgia is the new Hollywood. Thanks togenerous tax incentives passed by the state legislature between 2005 and 2008, production companies can receive up to 30 percent in tax credits for qualified entertainment projects filmed here. That’s made a tremendous impact in the state economy—to the tune of $6.4 billion between 2012 and 2013 alone. And with the construction of several major

studios and the production of even more TV shows and movies, like the recently released Ride Along, with comedian Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, analysts expect the impact this year and beyond to be even bigger. But here’s what you might not have heard: There aren’t enough qualified people in the state to fill those jobs, especially the trade, or “below-the-line” jobs, as they’re known in the industry— the camera operators, grips, makeup artists and more whose efforts behind the camera bring what we see on camera into fruition. Programs like the Digital Film Technician Certificate Training Program at Clayton State University are aiming to


change that. This program will welcome its inaugural class in February with 80 students. But while the program is just now officially opening its doors, it’s been in the works for several years. Janet Winkler, executive director of continuing education for the university, says the Winkler training program was the result of a meeting between former (and the late) International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) 479 president, Bob Vazquez, and university president, Tim Hynes. Vazquez, who toured the campus with the developers for what would become Pinewood Studios, had heard about such a training program in New Mexico, which, through much of the ’90s, had a vibrant film industry. That program had been developed and was being taught at Santa Fe Community College by Barton Bond, a 45-year veteran of electronic media. Bond had created the program, the first—and, at that time, the only—film technician training program in the country, in response to the rapidly growing need for qualified crew members to staff film sets in the burgeoning New Mexico film industry. Vazquez wanted to know if the same type of program could be duplicated here. “He asked President Hynes to work with him to create a program to train Georgians for technical crew positions because of the growing demand here in Georgia,” Winkler says. “He was also interested in us working with him to develop training for his then 1,700 members—particularly in safety.” Winkler, who also served on a special commission created by the Atlanta Regional Workforce Board to generate workforce interest in the entertainment industry, was already well aware of the growing need for those professionals here in Georgia. The question, she said, was, “How do we train people to work in the industry?”

Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, Winkler reached out to Barton via phone. The result of their collaboration is the Digital Film Technician Certificate Program, a 24-week, apprentice-style program that’s designed to arm students with all the tools they’ll need to successfully work on a film set. “We get them up to speed quickly,” Barton says. “We teach them how to be safe. We teach them what the hardware is. We teach them set etiquette—what to say, what to do, whom to defer to. Once they’re on the set, no one can take time to explain these things.” The program is divided into two parts, the first half being primarily an introduction to film production. During this session, Barton says representatives from IATSE 479 come into the class to speak with students and share insights about how they got into the industry. At the end of the session, students will also have the opportunity to work on one or two productions. The second installment of the program will focus exclusively on productions, with an emphasis on hands-on participation. Barton says students will work with independent producers on industrials and music videos. “At the end of six months, students will have had hands-on experience with hardware and productions. We’ll also have made contacts with key people in the industry.” Barton says he’s confident the program at Clayton State will duplicate the success of the New Mexico program. “Our methodology in New Mexico— when the state put in incentive programs, we were the only state to have a loan program—production companies had to hire 60 percent of crew from New Mexico for below-the-line jobs.” Still, he cautions that, while knowing the technical basics is a necessary first step to landing a job in the film or TV industry, it’s still that—a first step. Networking—being willing and able to foster and nurture connections with industry insiders who have the power

to hire—will make the difference in whether or not students find work after the program. “Students who a), have the skill sets that they can demonstrate to me on set, and b) have this networking thing figured out, will be the ones who get jobs,” he says. Undaunted by the cutthroat reputation of the film and TV industry, students are signing up in droves for the program. Winkler says the first session of the program is full, with 80 students. As of press time, the second session has just a few slots left. She says the technician training program is just the first of many courses the university plans to offer to film industry hopefuls. This summer, the school will also offer classes in film editing, animation, auditioning for film/ TV, screenwriting and voice-over. She says the university is committed to the industry not just because of the dearth of qualified professionals available to work on productions; it’s also a symbol of respect and a silent promise she keeps to the late Vazquez, whose working relationship with the Clayton State was so strong that officials established a memorial scholarship in his name. “I want to carry out Bob’s dream to open doors to people who want to become filmmakers as a part of the crew. We want to be the nexus—the center—for all the digital training that takes place in Georgia.”

If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get off the Film Set You may or may not hear producer Linda Burns shout that command to her students. But even if she never raises her voice, students in her PA Academy know by the end of her two-day class whether they can take the heat of a film set, or if they’re better suited for a kinder, quieter, corporate job. Burns, a producer, line producer, production supervisor and principal of Atlanta-based Plexus Pictures, started her career in TV and film as an assistant director (AD). She soon embarked on ozmagazine.com | 29


the circuitous path most film types find themselves on to eventually land in what she loved—producing. Burns, who says she was the child who loved solving puzzles, says producing is the role in the industry that lets her relive her childhood passion as an adult. “I saw that the producer was the person solving everyone’s problems off-set and making things go smoothly on-set. I see how the puzzle can be shot and put together.” Burns moved to Atlanta in the early 1990s, when Georgia received a fair amount of film and TV work. Later, in the late 90s—the years of the so-called “runaway productions”—production crews, lured to other states by tax incentives, left Georgia. “The opportunities to get started in the industry were a little looser [than they are now]. We had just enough crew for the work we had, but production companies were still bringing Hollywood with them when they came to Georgia,” she says. And it was in those days, before the film and TV industry in Atlanta exploded, that film crews for Hollywood and New York would bring most of their belowthe-line staff with them to work on sets in Georgia, displacing many qualified crew in Atlanta. “When I started to hear they were shipping PAs with them from LA, I thought, ‘Holy cow! This is a problem.’” Her colleagues did too. And they decided to do something about it. Production Consultants and Equipment (PC&E) and the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP) offered the first training programs in the state for

below-the-line employees. “They trained students in the basics of using equipment and brought in production managers to speak with students, but it wasn’t really on-the-job training,” Burns says. And on the heels of PC&E’s and GPP’s success, many other individuals and companies began offering training programs. But, Burns says, much of the information offered in these programs wasn’t practical. “What I found was that some of the PA training classes were giving students a ton of info, so when they left the class, they thought, ‘Wow’! But in the end, they just gave you a bunch of paperwork you wouldn’t need for two or three years. I thought, ‘I can take this to the next level.’” That, she did. Working in conjunction with the Atlanta Film Festival (now Atlanta Film Festival 365), she started The PA Academy, a two-day course that trains students in all facets of the production assistant trade—grunt work and all. “I want to simulate the conditions they’re going to find on a film set. Students learn how to start coffee, set up craft services, and set up tables and chairs. They’re standing the whole time; they’re standing for two days, just like on a film set.” Grueling, yes, but Burns says students leave her class knowing for sure whether they want to work in the industry—or not. “If you can’t stand on your feet for 16 hours a day, or you can’t deal with stress, you may not want to work in film. Everything is sexy when you see it on the Red Carpet, but it’s very challeng-

ing—the long, crazy hours…it’s mentally and physically exhausting.” And, like Barton, Burns brings in industry outsiders to speak with students about how they got their start. “No one gets in the industry the same way,” Burns says. “It’s great to have people come in and tell them the path that got them here. I bring in PAs, assistant directors, grips and electricians.” In addition to The PA Academy, Burns also teaches a film- and TV-focused resume-writing class. She also runs the D-Girl Project, a series of workshops for new and seasoned screenwriters, writing interns, apprentice producers and directors who want to learn how to write, pitch and market their writing projects. Burns says the industry in Georgia today is a far cry from what it was just 20 years ago, long before the days of tax incentives, when local crews were vying for work on the set. “I don’t think we ever expected to have this much work.” But, like Barton, she says it’s students’ persistence, not merely their credentials, that will make the difference between completing coursework and actually working in the industry. “I’ve got kids who take this [PA] class, and I’ll check in with them a month later. After three or four months, I’ll send out an e-mail to see where these kids are. They’re on an independent film or low-budget commercial, and everyone I’ve reached out to has gotten their first job. There’s so much work. If you want to work in film, there is a place for you.” To learn more about The Digital Film Technician Certificate Program, visit the Clayton State University website: clayton.edu/conted For more information about The PA Academy, visit the Atlanta Film Festival 365 website:

Students taking a test to guage how much information they absorbed. No tables and chairs allowed.

30 | ozmagazine.com

Students practicing walkie sign out, learning lingo, and how to use a walkie, courtesy of Set Supplies.

atlantafilmfestival.com


From headshots to YouTube and online casting sites, casting can be done from a couch far, far away. Georgia’s largest movie studio is scheduled to open this summer in Gwinnett County, featuring seven sound stages. Films shooting in the state have created job opportunities galore and provided exposure for local attractions globally. The Los Angeles Times even had a graphic depicting the changing landscape of filming and how much California is fading out in feature film projects compared to other states in the US, like

Georgia, that are offering incredible tax incentives that the entertainment industry simply cannot ignore. And, sure enough, the casting business has adapted itself accordingly to keep up with the welcome demands the industry has presented. Conversations with local casting directors and talent agencies give us a feel for how much the casting business has changed and is changing in the face of all this activity.

By: Ruksana Hussain

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Big Picture Casting Casting directors and co-founders of Big Picture Casting (BPC), Jen Kelley and Rita Harrell, have more than 24 years of industry experience and extensive knowledge of the local talent pool to help with principle casting for all types of film and commercial Kelly projects. While the majority of their work is local, they have done a fair number of projects across the Southeast and nationally. “On an average day, we are auditionHarrell ing all day if we have a casting session. When we don’t have active sessions, we are busy prepping for the next job, scheduling talent, talking to agents, and getting all our paperwork done—lots of organizing and multitasking. We are in our third year of business, and we hope to continue in the direction that we are going now with casting even more feature films, and we would love to be eventually working on a prime-time television series,” they share. Kelley worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, and Harrell worked in casting in New York before they met at the People Store in Atlanta and decided to form Big Picture Casting together. A fullservice casting company, they also have affiliates in New York and Los Angeles. They are involved in everything from breaking down scripts and creating character descriptions to holding casting calls and negotiating contracts. Projects they have worked on include feature films like The Good Lie and A.C.O.D – Adult Children Of Divorce, starring Amy Poehler and Jessica Alba; television work with the Travel Channel and Investigation Discovery (ID); commercial projects for Belk and Georgia Lottery; and industrial projects with IHG and Wal-Mart. Current work includes a new show called Deadly Places and casting for some re-enactment shows. “With the advances in technology, we are definitely able to cast a wider net and find work in different regions, so technology has helped to extend our 34 | ozmagazine.com

reach,” say the ladies at BPC. “Tools like Casting Networks, 800Casting, and other various casting sites help us get our jobs done much quicker. They are not replacing casting directors, but are helping the process by making our job and the agents’ jobs easier and streamlined.” BPC comments about the growth in their business, the changing demands and changing technology: There has definitely been an influx of talent moving here from LA, especially since the tax incentives have happened. There is so much work here, so actors who are looking for work and may not get the opportunities in LA are coming here for the benefits of a smaller-town scenario. With the increase of business here, the expectations of talent are much greater. They need to train harder to be able to compete with the LA and NY actors who are now looking at this region as a possible place to move to. Competition is much greater. All kinds of agencies are trying to extend their reach in various regions. Local actors here need to train and take it as seriously as the working actors in those other larger markets. The business outlook for Atlanta in the next few years is optimistic. There is lots of good work coming in. Everyone is staying busy, so projections are good. We are focussed on the Southeast and plan to do more local casting on films and television.

People Store People Store is an Atlanta-based talent agency owned by Rebecca Shrager, a stylist and production coordinator who realized the need in the Atlanta market for a more diverse range of talent. Over the past 30 years, People Store has grown into one of the most successful Shrager and well-respected talent agencies in the country. In 2012, People Store opened a New Orleans branch as well. They have divisions for film and television, voiceover and print, commercial and industrial, and entertainment and events. Projects they have worked on run the gamut of film and television productions recently shot in Atlanta such as Anchorman 2, The

Conjuring, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Devious Maids, and more. They represent more than 700 on the talent side. “The casting directors here are booking national roles, series regular roles, people for movies,” says Shrager. “We have a great commercial department, but our claim to fame is film and television. We represent the actors and are always trying to communicate better with actors and clients, network, and get out there to let the talent be as prepared as they can. The best part of my job is telling clients they’ve booked something great like a series regular role or something substantial—and sharing in the excitement.” Rebecca Shrager comments about the growth in her business, the changing demands and changing technology: Technology has affected work really greatly lately. It used to be the case where casting directors would just call and tell us what they needed, then we would have people come to an audition with the casting directors and they would only see 10 or 20 people per role and do call-backs. But because of this technological aspect, the casting directors are now getting hundreds and thousands of submissions for each role. They are sometimes seeing 500 people and even booking right from tape without ever seeing the talent. We have been using inEntertainment software for a year now, and it has been beneficial for keeping track of when people audition, when they are booked, etc. If things continue this well and tax incentives remain, with the infrastructure and the studios being built, it will just keep getting bigger and bigger. We are going to be getting these giant movies that we didn’t used to get before. We have continually had to be better organized, hire more employees, more agents. It used to be just me and Brenda Pauley, head of the film and television department. Now she has two other agents in Atlanta and one in New Orleans that work with her. With all this technology we have to do more—we have to send out the audition call, get back submissions, upload them, then send them out … it is time consuming. As things get busier, we continually have to try to find ways to be better organized and make sure things run smoothly, so using inEntertainment software has helped.”


Houghton Talent Another well-known Atlanta talent agency is Houghton Talent, in business since 1990, specializing in film and television, commercial, corporate, print, voice-over, and event/entertainment marketing for adults and children. Project credits include The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Necessary Roughness, and The Vampire Diaries. “Current projects include the Hunger Games movies, Devious Maids, and Drop Dead Diva…everything everyone wants to be on,” says agency director Mystie Buice. Located in the Midtown design district, Houghton assists with casting primarily for regional projects, but also with national projects. With a staff of ten, they are specialized in oncamera work and modelling and fashion. Mystie Buice comments about the growth in her business, the changing demands and changing technology: Technology has changed things dramatically. We are now charged with a lot of the initial casting responsibilities like the first call, the taping, the uploading, making sure of the technicalities like file size and lighting. It’s significantly and completely different. We use some national services that we are attached to that all the largest, the biggest, and the best of the work comes through called Actors Access via Breakdown Services, and also Casting Networks Inc., Now Casting, 800Casting, etc. Social media is huge, and the Internet in general has opened up more in that now everybody is much more informed. We dispense information about classes, photographer specials, when projects are airing. The opportunity here is enormous … huge. The incentives have really changed our marketplace. Our current governor and Kasim Reed [Mayor of Atlanta] have been supportive of that. The city welcomes the work and the opportunity for the local acting community. We will definitely see an uptick in the level of activity and the amount of opportunity. We are certainly seeing a lot of people inquiring about moving in from out of market to avail themselves of that work, so over time we will see that change the local acting pool. We are all doing the work. We just need to continue to raise the bar! The technology has created more work and made it more demanding, but it is

better now than before and has equipped every one much better. It has made everyone raise the bar. The talent and agencies are working and producing at a much higher level. Everyone has had to ratchet it up, be ready for the work, and deliver—and exceed the expectations for people who are coming out of other markets and maybe don’t know what to expect from the local market. From my experience, from casting or production, they are always more than pleasantly surprised with the calibre of the talent as well as the ability and the availability of crews and studios. The market has stepped up and has really said, “We are ready for the work!”

800Casting 800Casting is a free, web-based client software designed for and used by many casting and talent agencies not only in Atlanta but across the US and soon across Europe as well. CEO Donald DiPrima says, “We provide software for the industry—for casting directors, clients, producers, studios, photographers, agencies, talent. So it is multi-level software for their benefit and use. What our software does is provide an interface that combines everything together. If a casting director puts out a casting call, the agencies would pick that and be able to submit their talent. Talent who are normally independent and wouldn’t see or hear about the job can also submit themselves back to the casting director. Each entity of the business has an independent software interface.” There is much more to 800Casting than meets the eye. The software has several interfacing components including talent database (800Casting), auditioning software (Audition800), talent agency software (TAS800), casting director software (CDS800), and industry professional software (800Client). The power of the interface lies in the fact that 800Casting is the only software that interfaces talent, agents, casting directors, and industry professionals (clients) into a single bundle for greater talent exposure. 800Casting’s agency software allows unrestricted agency use for any client. “We run anywhere between 75,000 to 150,000 submissions a day, and that’s just

agents using the software, submitting talent back and forth,” shares DiPrima. “That’s how much interactivity is happening on a daily base. The advantages to the agency are incredible. If you are a big agency and you have grabbed how good this software is, you will use it as your core software every day.” For an annual fee of $39.95, talent that registers with 800Casting can get an online portfolio, 10 images, 10 reels, 10 videos, 10 voiceovers, a resume. They are allowed to link to unlimited agencies and clients, stream video for auditions, or submit to anybody they want to all for that same annual price. For the client, the software is free, and it is larger than any other software available. Don DiPrima comments about the growth in his business, the changing demands and changing technology: The trend in the business is that there is more software becoming available, more Internet capability available. You put out a casting notice, receive submissions, request a remote audition from those submissions you feel would best serve your clients’ purposes, review those auditions, do callbacks—and that’s the danger of the beast today. We have the ability. There is not a client or talent in the word who can’t pick up a smartphone, use the Audition800 app, and do anything he or she wants. It got very expensive a while ago to drive some place—the cost of gas, weather conditions. You would do a casting call, and there would be 200 people sitting in a room. With our remote audition, the talent can pick up a cell phone anywhere and generate a video as per client instructions. The casting director can sit in an office and eliminate people one by one, request auditions, book them, or have a callback!” I am seeing a surge in clients registering for the software. There are clients that come with million-dollar budgets to do a commercial, and they hire a casting director. On the other hand, there are clients who have a smaller budget and don’t have the money to hire a casting director so they do it themselves. Those are the clients I have seen a whopping surge in!

ozmagazine.com | 35


behind the camera with drewprops

Even if you’ve never been near a film set you know that at some point someone yells “Quiet on the set!!” but you might be surprised to learn that the person paid to do the yelling isn’t the film’s director, it’s the 1st Assistant Director, whose main job might best be described as the person who leads the cast and crew through the day’s busy schedule. You might also be surprised to learn some of the other soundsilencing efforts that the Sound Department goes through before the cameras ever begin rolling. The day’s work begins when the director runs what’s called a “blocking rehearsal” with the cast. This rehearsal allows the actors and director to figure out where they need to be at various points during a scene, which in turn allows the director of photography to determine the final placement of the camera and the lights, as well as allowing the crew to begin to understand what parts of the set will be in the shot and what will be off-camera. Following the rehearsal the actors are whisked off-set for wardrobe changes and attention to their hair and makeup, while each department begins its final preparation for the scene. An outsider standing on set might first notice the activity immediately around camera because that’s where the famous people are likely to be found. They might then notice the grips laying out dolly track or the set dresser dragging a couch out of the shot. They might become fascinated with the intricate dance of grips and electrics as they set up powerful lights surrounded by stands holding black flags and white bounce cards, “shaping” the light like sculptors. In the background this same visitor might notice prop people setting up a fancy tea service, or an armorer laying out machine guns, or the on-set painter touching up a wall where the dolly scraped away some paint. They might even notice the boom operator (the guy with the microphone on the end of a pole, called a “boom”) sizing up where they can stand during the shot so that they don’t cast shadows on the walls or the actors, which can be pretty tricky sometimes due to the placement of the many lights required to light the actors. You see, the sound department’s only job is to deliver the cleanest, highest-quality audio possible to the editor which 36 | ozmagazine.com

means that they’re forever trying to sneak microphones as close as they can to the actors’ mouths. If they could get away with it they’d probably duct tape a microphone directly to an actor’s face and have done with it, but since that’s likely to be noticed on camera they make do with a highly directional microphone fixed to the end of a pole (the “boom” I mentioned previously). Sometimes they’ll hide a

wired microphone on a table behind a coffee cup or a sugar dish. When all else fails (like when we’re doing a long wide shot) they’ll install wireless mics directly into actors’ clothing, hiding the battery pack under a shirt or in a jacket. They’ll hide the tiny microphone as close as they can to the actor’s mouth, though this method is susceptible to the scrubbing noise of cloth against the microphone. Even if they do everything possible to capture high quality audio the sound department can still be foiled by noisy machinery in the room, like the whir of compressors used in restaurant freezers. So if you’re shooting on location in a convenience store or a restaurant don’t be surprised to see people from the sound department unplugging freezers or tracking down the breakers that control the circuit those freezers are on, allowing them to strategically switch them off during shooting. After doing everything they can to capture the actors’ dialogue and the elimination of noisy machinery there are still plenty of noisy dangers lurking on the auditory horizon,


often induced by other departments. Sometimes props can be distractingly noisy, like the scrape of forks and knives on china plates by extras in a restaurant scene, or the jangle of keys on a policeman’s utility belt or the noise of a glass pitcher landing on a marble countertop mid-sentence. Then there’s the buzz of movie lights with failing transformers electricians hate to see the boom operator prowling around a set holding the microphone up to their lights. Mother Nature likes to mess with the sound department as well. The sound of pelting rain on metal roofs can sound like a high school drum line, and many are the days that we’ve all sat around telling stories waiting for a thunderstorm to rumble its way out of the area so that filming can resume. Longtime sound mixer Mary Ellis helped bring about the practice of covering roofs with air-conditioning fabric known as “hogs hair” to blunt the sound of rain. Then there’s the age old problem of being in the flight path of an airport, and Atlanta has a busy one! The roar of passenger jets in a holding pattern can come with such frequency that filming long quiet scenes is rendered impossible. To make things worse, holding and takeoff patterns can change midday, turning a formerly quiet exterior into a very noisy place indeed. These are the times when you see a 1st AD lose their mind as the day’s schedule dies a thousand tiny deaths. And let’s not forget the Teamsters! There’s nothing like the dismay on a director’s face when a stakebed truck cranks

up in middle of a pivotal love scene, and it’s amazing how fast the whinnying groan of a lift gate can knock a pair of lovelorn actors right out of the mood. While movie crews are generally good about shutting up on command (because they know that they’ll have to work late if they don’t stay on schedule) they routinely display self-destructive behavior that inexplicably goes against the notion of remaining quiet during a shot. There’s something about a long scene that gives people the wiggles and more than a few feel the compulsion to begin slowly walking across a squeaky wooden floor toward the craft service table. I can’t explain or defend this compulsion, but I can tell you that people who say they’ve never done it are more than likely fibbing. (I’ve certainly NEVER done this) There are more than a few warehouses around Atlanta that have been converted to stages for television projects and these production companies will sometimes divide the warehouses into separate sections to allow for days when they have two crews working on different episodes. To keep each side acoustically isolated from the other the passages between each employ “sound locks” which feature big, thick insulated door-like panels on either side of a doorway. Each

door-like panel closes against the wall and can be locked into place with the twist of a handle. A big red light above the door and inside the passage ensure that people on the loud side know when they shouldn’t attempt to cross over to the quiet side (the shooting side). But over time I’ve seen these safeguards blithely ignored by crews who leave the doors on either side ajar and slip between them like Indiana Jones escaping from a Peruvian temple. Laziness, apathy, ignorance and sheer bad luck can be the enemies of the sound department - but then there’s pure indifference. I’ve listened to members of the camera department laugh off the problems of the sound department, saying “Without us it’s a radio show - they can always do ADR afterward.” ADR stands for “Automated” or “Automatic’” Dialog Replacement, a process also known as “looping”. This is something done well after filming is complete in a sound studio with the actors in front of a screen watching their performance and repeating the lines into a microphone so that they can be dropped into the final audio track of the movie. It’s a terrific tool to have and is sometimes used to great effect, but it also has a feeling of failure associated with it because it very often means that for some reason the sound department failed to accurately capture an actor’s performance, possibly through no fault of their own. At

some point a sound mixer somewhere made the mistake of telling someone about the process of cleaning up sound and dropped an industry term “notching it out” and soon enough you heard people who didn’t know a hyper cardoid from a square wave ballast walking around on set saying “Oh, we’ll just notch out the sound of that barking dog!” One theme I touch on frequently when I write about the business is the importance for film technicians to not lose sight of the fact that they’re in the business of making art, and the actor’s performance on camera is what we’re working so hard to capture on camera AND on the sound mixing board. It’s hard to recapture a performace in a sound studio. Finally, at the end of many scenes the mixer will call out a request for a “wild track”, which is the ambient sound of a room the editors can use as a bed for the dialogue when editing the film’s audio. At the 1st AD’s direction the crew stops work and grows silent and for 30 seconds or more they stand in place staring at each other or with heads bowed while the boom operator holds the mic out into space. It sometimes feels like a benediction asking for the powers that be to help us finish the day’s work on time. ozmagazine.com | 37


how i got into the business

Missy McGuire Hintz

Robin Meyers

Evy Berman-Wright

1st Assistant Accountant Sony Pictures missyhintz@gmail.com

Script Supervisor robin@shootingnotes.com

Props Buyer/Set Dresser/Puppeteer Curious Moon Puppets www.curiousmoon.com

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS? My journey began in college where I thought I was going to be a business teacher like my mom. I was asked to help with an annual telethon the Radio/ TV/Film program put on. I agreed & soon found myself interested in TV & Film. I changed my major and pursued a new direction in life. Once I graduated, I moved with a group of friends to LA to pursue my dreams. Through a friend, I was able to get an internship with CBS/Paramount; I worked hard & it turned into a permanent gig on CSI. I spent my first 3 years in production, learning & doing as much as I could. Eventually a position opened in accounting where I could use my business minor. More recently, my husband’s job brought us to Atlanta where the TV & Film business is booming. The neatest thing is how small this business really is. I’ve had many “full circle” moments this year working with people from Los Angeles in Atlanta.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS? I’ve loved movies since I was a kid and always wanted to be involved. When I found out I could have fun in the field and earn money, my fate was sealed. I wanted to work on set like everyone else but felt the best way to get my foot in the door was to work in the office.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS? I actually went to film school and started off as a PA. But then things got complicated. I was gravitating towards the art department and SFX make-up, which led me towards puppetry and animatronics. I learned to both create and perform with puppets, but supplemented that work with props and set dressing work. So now I work both sides of the camera.

BEST ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR PROFESSION? Work Hard. I have found that if you have a strong work ethic, you will get noticed. Believe it or not, very few people know how to work. Show up early, stay late and volunteer to do as much as you can, as it will only help you in the long run.

DO YOU HAVE A WORD OR QUOTE OR MANTRA YOU LIVE BY? “Just show up...A lot of life is just showing up.” —My Mom

WHAT HAVE YOU WORKED ON RECENTLY? Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime); The Walking Dead (AMC); Devious Maids (Lifetime); 42 (Warner Bros); CSI (CBS); Hawaii Five-O (CBS).

BEST ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR PROFESSION? Always remember this business is a demanding lover. You have to love it or you won’t last long.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I work with creative, eccentric people. It is amazing to watch a finished project and see how all that hard work comes together.

HOW DID YOU END UP AS SCRIPT SUPERVISOR? I didn’t like working in the office as much as I thought, so I looked in the film directory and saw Atlanta only had two script supervisors at the time. I thought I found a niche. I bought a book about script supervising and taught myself how to take notes. Over the years, many supervisors kindly shared their process and knowledge.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SCRIPT SUPERVISORS? Many people think the script supervisor is someone who sits around writing stuff down. They don’t know that we are extra eyes and ears for the director. Or that we help the editor, who can be thousands of miles away, cut a film or work with actors so their performance doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor. PMs and ADs ask us for input when the budget gets tight and scenes need to be cut.

WHAT HAVE YOU WORKED ON RECENTLY? 38 | ozmagazine.com

The Game; Being Mary Jane; The Vampire Diaries.

BEST ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR PROFESSION? If you don’t have anything to do on a job, find something to do. People will notice. And get yourself a mentor.

DO YOU HAVE A WORD OR QUOTE OR MANTRA YOU LIVE BY? “It never hurts to ask.”

WHAT MAKES YOUR JOB COOL OR FUN FOR YOU? I’m never bored on a set because, studying film production, I understand what is going on and why.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT THE ART DEPARTMENT? Shopping for props and set dressing is like a big scavenger hunt for me. I love it when I find the perfect thing, and I love it when I can make something look real that isn’t. And I love spending other people’s money.

WHAT IS UNUSUAL ABOUT YOUR JOB? I’ve puppeteered a surprising number of food puppets. And underwear.


how i got into the business

Carelton Holt

Sveta Vick

Shane McIntosh

Producer/President of Granite Digital Imaging, Inc. www.granitedigitalimaging.net

Actress, Extra and Stand In svetavick@gmail.com

Executive Chef/Owner Ocean Catering Company / Ocean Market www.oceancateringcompany.com

WHAT FIRST PEAKED YOUR INTEREST IN YOUR FIELD?

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS? My daughter is an agent for WPA in Hollywood and she introduced me to the business.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS? My first job was in an old blues bar in Memphis, washing dishes. I hated those dishes, but loved the nightlife at the bar. I knew then I wanted to work in restaurants. I got really efficient in the dish pit and it caught the eye of the owner. After a lot of wheeling and dealing, he moved me out of the dish pit to burger flipping school. At the time I was too young to legally have a job so we were creative in letting me keep it. I think I made $3.50 an hour at the time, but could really care less!

It was the fall of 1969 and I was waiting for a ride home from junior high football practice when I noticed a small group of students enthusiastically huddled around a tripod and small movie camera. I wandered over and learned that they were making a short film and trying to get a filmmaker club going at the school. I was intrigued at the thought of actually making short films, so I joined their ranks and together we forged friendships and ultimately a filmmakers club. I was HOOKED! My love and enthusiasm for photography and filmmaking was overshadowed by the realities of earning a living and life in general.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS? It wasn’t until 2000 when, working in the commercial real estate business, I thought a short film about my company would be an effective way to differentiate us from our competitors. So I purchased a Canon video camera and set out to tell our story. It was the earliest beginnings of video on the internet, so we posted it on our modest website and also on a mini CD-ROM “business card” type disc. Every time we handed a prospect the disc, they were totally speechless and their enthusiasm spoke volumes to my business sense & smoldering passion for visual storytelling. About 30 cameras and five different locations later, we moved into a 12,500 square foot studio & sound stage, shooting now on RED 4K Digital Cinema cameras & are very proud to be a small part of the Atlanta film scene.

BEST ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN OUR PROFESSION?

WHO WAS YOUR FAVOR ITE ARTIST GROWING UP? Meryl Streep.

WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE ON A JOB? When I was working with Jim Carrey on Dumb and Dumber To. He was very sweet and funny. He asked out one of my friends on the set for a date.

BEST ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR PROFESSION? Bring a book, a blanket and warm socks because they shoot year round in Atlanta and you may be doing a beach scene in January.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD EXTRA? A large and varied wardrobe. Always be on time because the crew notice if you’re not. Arrive camera ready.

ADVICE ON HOW TO GET STARTED… Make sure you do your research and locate creditable casting agents. Also use Facebook and Twitter to find the roles. It’s where all the action is.

DO YOU HAVE A WORD OR QUOTE OR MANTRA YOU LIVE BY? Never give up!

IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM JOB? To Direct!

BEST ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUR PROFESSION? Find the establishment you admire most and go and get a job. If they are not hiring, go back in two weeks. Beg, plead, whatever it takes to get a job there. You’ll know immediately if this profession is for you or not. If it is—carry on. If not, get out of the way.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I love the satisfied look on someone’s face when they take a big bite of my food. It’s that moment of silence, doing a little happy dance in your chair, just to savor that moment. For catering, I just love the productions. Cooking allows me to be the rock star I was meant to be without having to play an instrument.

DO YOU LIKE HOW THE BUSINESS HAS CHANGED? Heck yeah! Today a chef can be so much more than just a cook in a small restaurant. There is TV, book deals, appearances, so much to do. Once again, you can be a culinary rock star!

Never lose sight of your dream!

ozmagazine.com | 39


oz scene | georgia production partnership fundraiser

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GPP Fundraiser

The Georgia Production Partnership Fundraising Committee would like to thank their 53 sponsors, 112 volunteers and 316 guests, who helped raise $12,337 in support of the tax incentive, and 219 winter coats to keep homeless Atlantans warm.

2

Julie and Dave Deutschel 1

2

Rick Estimond, Rebecca Shrager, Jen Kelley, Rita Harrell, Gary Hopkins Daniel Camacho

Samantha Worthen and Kris Redding 1

Michelle Kabashinski

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Sallye Hooks (c) poses with Chad Sanborn and Roni Casale

1

Social Media Updates 1

Tim Barrett

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3

1

Jacqueline and Chuck Whited

Alison Fussell

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Abbey Blues band entertains

1 2

Craig Miller

Cheryl Jenkins, Tim McCabe, Karen Ceesay Kym Brown and Pam Smith

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Denise Pereira-Santos, Pamela DeRitis, Sonya Golub, Kristen Benson photography copyright—1. Jim McKinney, 2. Tracy Page, 3. Katie Morris

ozmagazine.com | 41


oz scene | georgia production partnership fundraiser

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Jamie Miles, Tia Talley, Kim Perez and Lisa Farrell organize the silent auction

Ella Bardine, Rob Mello, Ashlee Heath

1 2

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Anney Reese and Denise Pereira-Santos

Lincoln, Mary Joe Dellinger

1

Linda Burns 1 2

Lisa Wright and Michell DiGaetano Steve Mensch and Diane Butler

photography copyright—1. Jim McKinney, 2. Tracy Page, 3. Katie Morris

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oz scene | georgia entertainment gala

Tyler Lepley, Abigail Spencer, Renee Lawless, Brad James, Demetria McKinney

Laura Turner Seydel

Jacob Latimore and Blake Cooper

Entertainment Gala Roars The Second Annual Georgia Entertainment Gala, presented by Autumn Bailey Entertainment and SEMAJ Consulting, was held at the Georgia World Congress Center in January. The gala honored the excellence of Georgia’s entertainment industry professionals across multiple platforms. Awards for categories including community leadership, rising star, and best actor commended the creative works and achievements of Georgia’s brightest stars. The themed Roaring 1920s black-tie affair was hosted by actress Abigail Spencer and actor Tyler Lepley. A portion of the proceeds was donated to benefit the art program of Bethune Elementary School and Corporate Code.

Maggie Jones

Rashan Ali

Bobby V–center–and band

Rebecca Shrager and Brenda Pauley

Jessica Black

ozmagazine.com | 43


oz scene | georgia entertainment gala

Xavier Lewis

Nick DeMao and Patricia Roberts

Vedo

Shante Paige and Nicole Lyons

Ken Feinberg and Demetria McKinney

Xernona Clayton

Renee Lawless and Brad James

Ali Froid

Michael Keith and Karlie Redd

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Abigail Spencer, Paula Martinez, Gabriel Wardell

Errol Sadler and Brandon 2Mill Thaxton


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L i m i t e d E d i t i o n G o i n g Fa s t

Industry Yearbook

In InYd sstrory du u Yeea arb rbot ooky k

Th Thee

2200 1 1 33

40 years of Georgia Filmmaking & the people who made it happen

19 7 3

The

40 Yea & the Peo rs of Georgia Film ple Who making 40 Yea de it Happe & the Peo rs of GeMa org ia Filmma n ple Who king Made it Happen

History SIDEBAR, TOP: Annette Stilwell, producer, Jayan

SIDEBAR, TOP: The early days: Tatum O’Neal on

Films.

the set of Little Darlings with a Lightnin’ Production

SIDEBAR, BOTTOM, L-R: Director Bart Patton and

Rentals’ truck (1980).

director of photography Paul Varrieur on the set of

SIDEBAR, BOTTOM: Lightnin’ Production Rentals in

Unshackled (2000).

2013.

ads featured Governor Carter sitting in a

watched the video and did change his mind.

director’s chair. Before long, the group’s

Over the next few years, Wayne would return

efforts paid off. Movie producers began

to Georgia many times to scout locations for

heading to Georgia to see what all the talk

future films. Other film companies followed

was about. Once crews arrived, Spivia and

suit, and before long, the film office had so

his five-person staff would actually go out to

many prospects, it was hard to keep up. Some

help scout locations. Sometimes producers

producers and actors kept coming back. One

came to the state with the singular goal of

of them was Burt Reynolds. In 1974, Reynolds, who had starred

finding the perfect location for their next film; other times, they were simply here on

in Deliverance just two years previously,

other business – in which case Spivia and his

returned to Georgia to film

team had to be a bit more creative in putting

The Longest Yard. The

Georgia on the producers’ minds.

movie was about a football who organizes a team of

Cattleman’s Association meeting. When

inmates to play against

Spivia found out about it, he arranged a

a team of prison guards.

meeting to convince Wayne to make a movie

It was scheduled to film

in the state. Spivia says, “An aide came

at a prison in McAllister,

in with a bottle of bourbon and poured a

Oklahoma, but three days

glass. John Wayne drank it down and said,

before the shoot, prisoners

‘Let’s get down to business.’ So, I played a

burned it to the ground.

tape in the VCR.” The video showcased the

Reynolds called Spivia for

diversity of the Georgia landscape – coastline,

help finding an alternate

mountains, and forests. Even though Wayne

location. Spivia recalls,

had previously filmed a movie in the state

“He said, ‘Can you get us

– The Green Berets in 1968 – he didn’t

a prison that looks like

seem convinced that the varied topography

this, real quick? If you can,

showcased on the TV screen was, in fact, in

you’ve got the film.’”

the state of Georgia.

The film commissioner

Robert Bock 1989: Camera Tech - Atlanta film Equip. Rentals (AFER) 2013: Camera Technician - PC&E

Kelsey Lane 2011: Actor 2013: Actor

Shay Latte 2000: Actor 2013: Actor

Randi Layne 1983: Actor 2013: Actor

Geoff McKnight 1987: Actor 2013: Actor

Debra Nelson 1981: Actor 2013: Actor

Curtis Bryant 1985: Music Composer 2013: Music Composer

Linda Burns 1992: Production Assistant 2013: Production Manager

Paula Rose Castronova 1991: Wardrobe Stylist & Buyer 2013: Wardrobe Stylist & Buyer

Pat Cooksey 1985: Camera Operator 2013: Director of Photography

Stephen Crocker 1992: Production Assistant 2013: 1st Assistant Camera

Sara Bess Norton 2011: Actor 2013: Actor

Charles Orr 2011: Actor 2013: Actor

John Osgood 1988: Production Assistant 2013: On Air Talent

Brenda Pauley 1993: Talent Agent 2013: Talent Agent

Jay Pearson 1990: Stunt Performer 2013: Actor

Guy D’Alema 1989: Stills Photographer 2013: Stills Photographer

Jody Danneman 1989: Camera Operator - Video 2013: Producer

Brennen Dicker 1986: Production Assistant 2013: Director of Sales for Creative Services - Crawford

Andrew Duncan 1991: Prop Assistant 2013: Graphic Designer

Dawn Dye 1990: Receptionist - Post Prod. (VTA) 2013: Receptionist - PC&E

Mike Pniewski 1983: Actor 2013: Actor

Sarah Reagin 2011: Stunt Performer 2013: Stunt Performer

Ric Reitz 1977: Actor 2013: Actor

Robert Robinson 2011: Music Composer 2013: Actor

Linda Rutledge 1987: Talent Agent 2013: Talent Agent

Ellis Edwards 1985: Stunt Driver 2013: Stunt Coordinator

Jack English 1983: Production Assistant 2013: Producer

Brenda Findley 1989: Set Dresser 2013: Art Department Coordinator

John Findley III 1991: Production Assistant 2013: Location Manager

Jeff Fisher 1992: Production Assistant 2013: Director

Mercedes Sanders 2006: Actor 2013: Actor

Rebecca Shrager 1983: Talent Agent 2013: Talent Agent

Chuck Shropshire 2010: Actor 2013: Actor

Heather Smith 2004: Actor 2013: Actor

Pamela Smith 1993: Actor 2013: Actor

arranged for production

“He said, ‘You can’t tell me this is Georgia.

to begin at the Georgia

Georgia is just hot and flat and dry.’”

State Prison in Reidsville shortly after. The Longest

a few minutes to finish my presentation, I

Yard would go on to net more than $43

do believe I’ll change your mind.’” Wayne

million in domestic gross sales. 5 It would

11

Terry Fitzpatrick 1985: Mixer/Location Sound 2013: Mixer/Location Sound

Carrie Gibbs 1989: Assistant Location Manager 2013: Location Scout

Thom Gonyeau 1986: Production Manager 2013: Principal/ Executive Producer - Mountain View Group, LTD

Chris Hamilton 1991: Stills Photographer 2013: Stills Photographer

Fred Houghton 1983: Warehouse/Generator Operator - PSA 2013: Shop Maintenance & Repair - PC&E

David Spencer 1992: Set and Sign Painting 2013: Actor

Laura Steele 1998: Actor 2013: Actor

Donna Summers 1978: Talent Agent 2013: Talent Agent

Tihirah Taliaferro 2011: Actor 2013: Actor

Patricia Taylor 2006: Actor 2013: Actor

Recess (a) Operator Allen Facemire on the set of Moonrunners (1975). (b) The Duke boys encountering the Sheriff on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979). (c) Script supervisor Charlene Webb on the set of The Dukes of Hazzard (1979). (d) A young Paul Varrieur (on right) was a member of the camera department on the pilot Six Pack (1983), which was based on a film by the same name. (e) Allen Facemire rigging a camera for a stunt sequence on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979). (f) Paul Varrieur, Allen Facemire, and Billy Sherrill on the set of a commercial in the mid-1980s.

45

92

Production & Support Companies

(g) 2nd Unit from The Dukes of Hazzard (1979). (h) Allen Facemire catching a high-speed drive-by with his camera on top of a pair of good old-fashioned ‘sticks’. (i) Gordon Siefferman, camera assistant on Moonrunners (1975). (j) Don Shisler and Doug Smith taking care of Boss Hogg’s infamous white Cadillac for The Dukes of Hazzard (1979). (k) Director Steve Rash and his camera crew in a bucket lift for The Buddy Holly Story (1978). (l) Gy Waldron, producer of The Dukes of Hazzard and Six Pack, taking a look at the framing for a shot, in the days before directors had the convenience of video monitors.

Companies

Year Started Founder/CEO/Officers

Companies

Year Started Founder/CEO/Officers

Electric Transfer Inc.

1987-2010

Joseph Donini, founder

Sirius Images Corporation

1990-2001

Marshall Peterson, founder

The Computer Studio

1988

Anita M. Critz

Imagic

1990-2005

Joe Huggins, founder

APC Studios

1988-2006

Salvatore Nappo, founder

Comotion Films

1991

Sheryl Myers, founder

Creative Edge

1988-2007

Beth Goodwin, founder

Comprehensive Technical Group, Inc. 1991

Baird Camera Cars, Inc.

1989

Greg Baird, founder; Wilma Jean Baird, CEO

Rob Rainey Video, Inc.

1991

Jo-Thor’s Dog Academy

1989

Joan Lask, founder

Telltale Films, Inc.

1991

Tom Luse, CEO

Peachtree Prompters

1989

Lauri Plesco, founder

Feature Systems South Inc. (Atlanta)

1991-2008

Bob Bailin

Riverwood Studios (DBA Raleigh Studios)

1989

Paul Lombardi, founder; Scott Tigchelaar, president

Atlanta Rigging Systems, LLC

1992

Rick Rushing, president; Dave Gittens, VP/GM

Casting Connection, Inc.

1992

John Culbreth, founder

SaltRun Productions

1989

Crossover Entertainment Group, Inc.

1992

Luther Randall III, GM; Billy Johnson, COO

Encyclomedia

1992

Gypsy Grips Georgia

1992

Triple Horse Entertainment

1992

Karl and Amy Horstman, founders

Artisan Pictureworks

1992-1999

Joe Gora, founder

Barbizon Atlanta

1993

Damian Vaudo, branch manager

Broadcast Equipment Rental

Georgia Industry Yearbook

110

111

Georgia Industry Yearbook

Georgia Industry Yearbook

Staging Directions

162

1989

Allen Facemire, CFO; Susan Satterfield, CEO Nick D’Allen, president

The Propper Source

1989-2006

Hilary Henkin, owner

Savannah Production Group Inc.

1989-2010

Mickey Youmans, Tim Rhoad, Maria Rhoad

Southern Animal Talent Agency

1989-2012

Senia Phillips, founder

Atlanta Films, Inc. (Get-A-Grip Atlanta) 1990

Mark Henderson, founder/president

Bob Shelley Special Effects International Inc.

1990

Bob Shelley, founder

Houghton Talent, Inc.

1990

Gail Houghton, founder

Magick Lantern Studios

1990

Bill VanDerKloot, founder

Neverland Film Services

1990

Tim McCabe, founder

Payroll South (Crew)

1990

Annette Stilwell, founder

Peachtree Post

1990-2002

Jeff Blauvelt, owner

Phelanx, Inc.

1990

Mark Phelan, founder

Powell Group, Inc., The

1990-2004

Tia Powell, founder

ShowPay

1990

Annette Stilwell, founder

Spotchex (union)

1990

Annette Stilwell, founder

Xchex (nonunion)

1990

Annette Stilwell, founder

Effigy Film and Video

1990-1993

Toni Colley Lee and William Hudson

Dick Cross Special Effects

1990-1999

Richard (Dick) Cross and Gayle Cross, founders

Steve McCormick, Jim Wile, co-owners Rob Rainey, founder

Lance Holland, founder Danny “DJ” Haizlip, Chunky Huse, co-founders

1993

Tony Foresta, GM

ImageMaster Productions, Inc.

1993

Dan Johnson, founder

Inertia Films, Inc.

1993

A. Troy Thomas, founder

Synergy Films

1993

Whoa! Films, Inc.

1993

Bill Orisich, founder

Brick House Editorial

1993-1997

Cindy Garguilo, Kevin Garguilo, co-founders

First Light Entertainment, Inc.

1993-2002

Vivian Jones, CEO/producer

Video Progressions, Inc.

1993-2012

Adair Simon, founder

Atlanta Dogworks

1994

Greg Tresan CEO; Carol Tresan, CFO

Blue Moon Productions, Ltd.

1994

Susan Kanellos, CEO

Bootleg Island Entertainment

1994

Mike Coolik, founder

Carlisle Production Services

1994

John Carlisle, founder

Danny Boy Services, LLC

1994

Dan Philipp, founder

Eagles Cry Productions, LLP

1994

J. Robert Russell, CEO; Karen Russell CFO

Company (BERC)

Entertainment Design Group, Inc. (EDG) 1994

George Watkins and Lyn Toll, founders

Steven L. Guy, CEO

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Georgia Industry Yearbook

10

came through and

banging his hand on the table,” Spivia says.

“And I said, ‘If you’ll give me just

Dwight Benjamin-Creel 1985: Special Effects Technician 2013: Property Master

player–turned–convict

the veteran actor came to Georgia for a

“About thirty seconds in, he started

Mark Apen 1987: Production Assistant 2013: Producer

Georgia Industry Yearbook

Georgia Industry Yearbook

Harold Morris, an inmate at Reidsville Prison, also worked as an extra in The Longest Yard. Originally sentenced to two life terms, Morris was later pardoned. When he was released, he wrote a screenplay about his life. Filmed as Unshackled, it was directed by Bart Patton and released in 2000.

LA Albarracin 1990: Hairstylist 2013: Hairstylist

Georgia Industry Yearbook

Case in point: John Wayne. In 1973,

In 1975, The Lewis Family founded Lightnin’ Production Rentals, Inc., in Atlanta. The company began renting production trucks to the motion picture industry in 1979 – everything from star trailers and honey wagons to camera trucks. Lightnin’s first feature film was 1980’s Little Darlings, starring Kristy McNichol and Tatum O’Neal.

Melva Akens 1990: Set Decorator 2013: Wardrobe Stylist & Buyer

Georgia Industry Yearbook

In 1974, North Carolina native Annette Stillwell moved to Atlanta and, one year later, founded what would become a very successful cast and crew payroll company. By 1980, Stilwell would become an Emmy award-winning producer and one of the premier casting directors in the Southeast.

Crew & Talent

163


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Oz Magazine is about people - the many fascinating people who make Atlanta a major player in the visual communication industry - and the cre...