Oz Magazine January / February 2018

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Derek Bell is a veteran, world-traveled photographer whose guerrilla style has earned him high praise in publications from National Geographic to V3 Magazine. The former LSU and Art Institute professor’s portfolio includes famous faces like that of Nick Saban, but his greatest pride resides in his most dangerous work—e.g., postKatrina New Orleans, and weeks spent living and shooting inside a U.S. federal prison.

Tia Powell (Group Publisher) Gary Powell

Editor-in-Chief: Gary Powell

Managing Editor: Neal Howard


Michael R. Eilers Martha Ronske Kris Thimmesch


Erin Bethea & Drew Waters

Actress and producer Erin Bethea, star of the 2008 film Fireproof, has had an expansive career in both the independent and studio arenas. She has also worked as both a performer and marketer for the Walt Disney Co. and Fox Home Entertainment. Drew Waters is an actor and award-winning director most recognized for his roles on Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad.


Derek Bell Erin Bethea Dov Jacobson Laura Miller Isadora Pennington Drew Waters

Creative Director:

Voices: Acting The Part, p.44

Dov Jacobson

Kelvin Lee

Voices: #Metoo, And Then What?, p.34 Dov Jacobson founded GamesThatWork, Atlanta’s leading-edge digital media studio. Launched in 2002 and dedicated to “play with purpose,” GamesThatWork applies videogame science and art to solve real problems of human performance. The studio’s clients include leading corporations. The studio is involved in several VR/AR/ MR projects and has released award-winning titles in each.

Production and Design:

Kelvin Lee Michael R. Eilers Ted Fabella (Oz Logo Design)

Cover Image:

Aman Shakya

Laura Miller

Cover Story: Making Motion: Candice Alger, p.26 Laura Miller is a freelance writer from Atlanta, GA who has been scribbling away in her home office since 2012. From small community newspapers to national publications, Laura enjoys writing features, reviews, profiles, or good old-fashioned opinion pieces. Find her online at OmniaWriting.com.

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Isadora Pennington

Isadora is a photojournalist and multidisciplinary artist. Born in Nashville, TN, she spent her early life moving often between states on the East coast, before settling in Atlanta to attend Georgia State University, where she got her BA in Studio Art. She has worked as a designer and photographer for local print publications, and has also discovered a joy for writing, specifically when it’s about artists and their work. A lover of all things creative, she stays busy with new projects that span a broad spectrum of mediums. isadorapennington.com

www.ozmagazine.com www.facebook.com/ozmagazine www.twitter.com/ozpublishing www.instagram.com/ozmagazine (404) 633-1779 Oz Magazine is published bi-monthly by Oz Publishing, Inc. 2566 Shallowford Road Suite 104, #302 Atlanta, GA 30345 Copyright © 2018 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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Feature Story: Atlanta’s Satellite of Love, p.30

Aman Shakya

Cover Artist Born and raised in Nepal, Aman Shakya started his journey towards photography during his undergrad studies in information technology back in 2012. That was the time he first picked up a camera and then decided to pursue photography as his vocation. This steered him to SCAD, where he is currently doing his graduate studies in photography. He believes people’s expressions reflect their thoughts and emotions, which connects him with them, and motivates him to embrace human elements in his photographs. Most of Shakya’s work is studio based, and he excels in lighting his subjects. www.amanshakya.photography







A compilation of recent news and hot projects, from and about industry leaders.

36 The Shot List: Deja Dee


46 Is That You?


48 Middle-School Masterclass

Cover Story

Making Motion: Candice Alger Helping to innovate the technology that would make it all possible.


49 Oz Scene



49 Women in Film & Television Annual Gala

Feature Story

50 Xcel Holiday Party

Atlanta’s Satellite of Love Atlanta’s own B-movie spoof troop, Cineprov, has assembled a fast-growing fan base employing irony as a laser-guided weapon.

52 Fox Casting Mix & Mingle




54 Georgia Production Partnership Holiday Industry Party 55 Cinema Park Studios Launch Party




#Metoo, And Then What?


Let Me Give You My Card


44 Acting The Part


January / February 2018


OZCETERA Burt Reynolds at the Rome International Film Festival / photo by Derek Bell

Burt Reynolds Riffs at RIFF By Neal Howard


arking the 40th anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit, silver screen legend Burt Reynolds appeared as the guest of honor at the Rome International Film Festival (RIFF). He was also there to promote his new film, Dog Years, in which he plays a washed-up former star who can’t come to grips with the fact that his glory days are over. As attested throughout his pre-festival press conference, Reynolds holds a special affinity for the state of Georgia as a whole. The

most successful films of his career, including Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit, were all shot here, and he is often lauded as one of the fathers of the now-booming Georgia film industry. Spor ting a black , sequined suit and rose-tinted sunglasses, Reynolds deflected much of the credit to Georgia Film Commission co-founder, Ed Spivia, and then-Georgia governor, Jimmy Carter. “He wasn’t a politician, he was just a nice man,” Reynolds said of Carter.

“His brother was a little strange, but that’s all right.” When asked about his own role in putting Georgia film on the map, Reynolds said, “I don’t know if I had a big part in it, but I like to think I had some part in it. Every time somebody wants to make a movie with me, I always say, ‘Can we shoot it in Georgia?’ I just love coming here. I love the people here.”

Iconic Plaza Theatre Gets the Escobar Treatment


he Plaza Theatre, the oldest and only independently owned theater in Atlanta, is under new ownership. But when the Atlanta Film Society’s executive director, Chris Escobar, decided to purchase the venue, he clearly had a much grander vision in mind than to carry on business as usual.


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The Plaza will see upgrades to nearly every space in the facility, from the bar/concessions area (projected at approximately $70,000) to the repairing of a retractable second-floor wall that can be lowered to create two screening rooms ($250,000). One thing Escobar won’t be changing, however, is that for which the Plaza is perhaps

best currently known: screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Friday at midnight. He also plans to donate 10 percent of the Plaza’s proceeds to the “grossly underfunded” Atlanta Film Society, as well as blessing the organization with a $100,000 rental credit, allowing AFS to host events there free of charge.

January / February 2018


OZCETERA Eli Rotholz

Eli Rotholz Joins Hone Production


n November, Hone Production, the NYC and Atlanta-based hybrid production company/consultancy, added a new director of business development and content executive director, Eli Rotholz. Rotholz has represented some of the industry’s top commercial production companies, and is known for his contagious enthusiasm and his eye for spotting talent. Rotholz brings 10 years of sales and production experience, having begun his career as an independent sales rep for Ziegler/ Jakubowicz before moving on to Moustache NYC. From there, Rotholz worked his first in-house position at Click3x, where he built a diverse roster of directorial talent and the company’s first truly integrated production offering. He then founded Honor Society Films. With a focus on creative problem solving and sales, Rotholz hopes to aim his expertise at growing new business and expanding the content side of the studio. Hone executive producer/co-founder, Matt Mattingly, thinks Eli is the perfect fit for the hybrid model on which Hone prides itself, by functioning as an ally and resource to creative agencies and brands alike. “We’ve been working with agencies and brand partners within our disruptive hybrid model, and it’s been incredibly effective,” Mattingly says. “Eli has the perfect mindset and experience to balance both roles for our clients. He shares the abilities and capabilities that make Hone unique. If our offering is a unicorn in the marketplace, Eli is a unicorn’s unicorn.”

The 2018 ScreenCraft Writers Summit


he Atlanta Film Society and ScreenCraft are partnering to co-present the ScreenCraft Writers Summit, set to take place at the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF). The Summit will kick off Fri., April 13, the shared opening day for both the ScreenCraft Writers Summit and the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival, and will continue for three days of programming. Attendees can look forward to feature panels, keynotes, workshops, live table reads, small-group mentorship, a closing mimosa brunch, and a pitch competition where writers and filmmakers can compete for prizes. Social hours and shared evening galas will also bring Summit writers together with filmmakers and industry professionals. Pane l s an d wo r k sho p s w ill inclu d e: Screenplay Craf t and Structure, Adapting Intellectual Property, Writing the Television Pilot, How to Secure and Work with an Agent/ Manager, Producing Independent Film and returning attendee favorite, the Failure Panel. In addition to high-level writers, the “Your Voice” track will offer panels and instruction specifically for writers and filmmakers in the Atlanta area who utilize the local production expertise to produce and create content.

There will also be programming dedicated to diversity on-screen and faith-based content. Confirmed speakers include: Eric Heisserer (Oscar nominee, Arrival ), Doug Jung (Star Trek Beyond, Banshee), Malcolm Spellman (Empire), Keya Khayatian (senior literary agent at UTA, whose clients wrote Stick It, Dallas Buyers Club, Brokeback Mountain, Serendipity, etc.), Eric Fineman (producer, Spiderman: Homecoming, Miracles From Heaven) Hannah Ozer, (literary manager at Kaplan/Perrone), Michael Lucker (Lilo & Stitch 2, 101 Dalmatians II, Vampire in Brooklyn), Jacob Krueger (The Matthew Shepard Story, founder and Instructor Write Your Screenplay) and more. In tandem with the Writers Summit, the Atlanta Film Festival spotlights the art and craft of screenwriting through its annual Screenplay Competition. Three grand prize-winning feature film screenwriters will participate in an exclusive t wo - day screenwriting retreat leading up to the Writers Summit and will be recognized at the Summit Awards Ceremony. Lucker will lead the retreat mentorship, with additional mentors to be announced soon.

Melissa Hayes Takes Helm as Savannah’s Entertainment Manager


i si t S av a n na h i s p ro u d to we l co m e Melissa Hayes as their new entertainment manager. Hayes is a Savannah native and has worked with Visit Savannah’s Meetings & Conventions team for more than two years. In August, she was promoted to the role of entertainment manager, and she’s been moving quickly to assist current and future productions in the area.


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Visit Savannah’s produc tion ser vices are complementar y and include cast and crew housing assis tance, exclusive f ilm discount passes, event planning, location/ site visit arrangements, and general guidance on Savannah resources.

On set in Savannah with Birth of a Nation

January / February 2018



PlayStation Filmmaker Winners


ony Interactive Entertainment America (SIEA), in collaboration with Ideas United and its creative collective, We Make, announced the five winning concepts in the PlayStation Emerging Filmmakers Program. This initiative is aimed at harnessing the creativity and talent of budding filmmakers interested in developing the next iconic television show. These top five concepts will be produced as pilot episodes that will be shared with the PlayStation community. The program began with an invitation for writers and filmmakers in We Make to submit their best concepts for an original television series. Out of hundreds of submissions, 10 concepts were chosen, and their creators pitched their ideas directly to PlayStation executives and industry professionals. The creators attended a multi-day pitch event in Hollywood where they participated


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

in workshops and enjoyed access to mentors, including luminaries such as Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Wreck-It Ralph), Marco Ramirez (executive producer and showrunner on Marvel’s The Defenders), Justin Spitzer (creator and executive producer of Superstore), Gloria Calderon Kellett (executive producer and co-showrunner on One Day at a Time), and Mark Goffman (former showrunner on Bull, Sleepy Hollow). The top five concepts, which will move into pilot production for release on the PlayStation platform in 2018, are Breakthrough by Gordon Freas & Amanda Freas; Made in Boise by Max Cannon & Brandon Sullivan; Orthus by Shira Rosenzweig; The Many Lives of Ayn Winchester by Steve Spalding; and Two Roads by Miranda Sajdak & Vanessa King. “We’re proud to work with PlayStation to empower the next generation of filmmakers who have engaging stories to tell,” said Michael

Seminer, SVP of Ideas United. “Because of this collaboration, these five talented creators can now focus on producing pilot episodes that embody their creative vision.” The concepts were selected by a judging panel that included Stephen Falk (creator, executive producer and showrunner of the FXX series You’re the Worst); Erica Messer (executive producer and showrunner on Criminal Minds); Patrick Walsh (creator, executive producer and showrunner of By the Book, premiering in 2018); John Hlavin (executive producer and showrunner of Shooter and Blood Drive); Shawn Layden (president, SIEA and chairman of Worldwide Studios); Eric Lempel (senior vice president, marketing and head of PlayStation Network); Jennifer Clark (senior vice president, public relations and corporate communications, SIEA); and Nancy Kim (senior director, entertainment product and services, SIEA).

January / February 2018


OZCETERA Students with re.imagine/ATL take a tour of EUE/Screen Gems’ Atlanta studios

The Animal Casting Atlanta Team

Be the Best Animal You Can Be


nimal Casting Atlanta has opened a beautiful new 3,000 square-foot soundstage for animal-friendly film, video and professional photo shoots for motion pictures, print media, portraits and commercial/product photography. Animal Casting Atlanta’s new animal-friendly sound stage, complete with green screen cyclorama, is perched on 15 beautiful acres and conveniently located in Ball Ground, Ga., less than an hour outside Atlanta. This unique setting accommodates all indoor and outdoor spaces, and features climate-controlled comfort throughout the year. With over 30 years in the business, Animal Casting Atlanta is the number-one provider of animal talent and trainers for television and feature films in the Southeast. Their trainers and coordinators specialize in performance with dogs, cats, horses and farm animals. A wide range of exotics and horse-drawn carriages are available, as well. The facility is USDA licensed and features barns, pastures, and even a one-acre deer enclosure with blue walls for all shooting location needs.


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EUE/Screen Gems Hosts re:imagine/ATL


e:imagine/ATL has launched a new program at Tri-Cities High School and Forrest Hill Academy to train students in film production and connect them with local media professionals. Digital-service learning, soft skills and career exposure are key elements of the program, and its lessons are centered around the use of digital media as a tool to promote a positive message that helps others. For example, students produced micro-content videos encouraging their peers to get involved with the nonprofit, Next Generation Men & Women (the student’s “client” for this semester). Soft skills were practiced when mentors and guests visited the classroom, and students learned about career options during their trip to EUE/ Screen Gems. EUE/Screen Gems, a 10-stage, 33-acre Atlanta studio complex with sound stages and 250,000 square feet of production space, is located less than four miles from both high schools involved in re:imagine/ATL’s programs, making the connection between education and career even more accessible for students

interested in the local industry. “EUE/Screen Gems believes it is incumbent on those of us fortunate enough to be in Georgia’s booming production industry to pay that forward by helping the next generation get a good look at how their interests and skills match up with the creative jobs in our business,” says EUE/Screen Gems executive VP, Kris Bagwell. During the trip to EUE/Screen Gems students learned about the local film industry, production tax incentives, production life, and different roles on set. They also had the opportunity to talk with Iain Paterson (producer and director, Stranger Things, House of Cards), and the advice they received was priceless. According to the MPAA, there are 28,656 jobs directly related to the film industry in Georgia. The re:imagine/ATL program will continue to work at Tri-Cities, Forrest Hill Academy and other schools in metro Atlanta to connect students with film industry professionals and prepare them for new opportunities. The program was made possible through a grant from United Way of South Fulton.


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January / February 2018



InspireVR Emerges as Immersive Technologies Leader


n recent months, InspireVR has become an Atlanta go-to spot for immersive technologies. They currently provide high-resolution 360 VR audio and video capture, encoding and streaming in production from their infinity-cyc, green-screen studio. In post, they also provide a full 360VR workflow that you can visualize and hear in 3D, 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1.4 surround sound, Ambisonics or Dolby Atmos in real time. “We are one of the few VR developers with ADR and mix-to-picture experience…under one roof in Atlanta,” says InspireVR/Undercurrent Labs founder and CEO, John Penn. Having been a Unity3D/ Samsung GearVR development house, and now working in Unreal Engine 4.18 on a new, immersive music video for the EDM artist, Q-BikMuz, InspireVR is addressing a very nascent and somewhat fragmented new market in which reaching a mass audience is a real challenge. In turn, they’ve had to expand their development team to include both mobile VR devices and PCs, including iOS, Android and Microsoft Mixed Reality development. Penn and company also develop mobile apps for iOS /Android that synchronize AR content with audio and video communications in real time, enabling designers, VFX artists, architects and other creative professionals to collaborate remotely while working with 3D models. Real-time subtitles, translating audio content, or sync voice data with virtual avatars (for gaming and telepresence purposes) are additional project snapshots.

(Clockwise from top left) Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Noah Schnapp

Stranger Things Sets High Nielsen Bar By Neal Howard


hen Nielsen began logging Netflix viewership numbers last October, statistics nerds the world over couldn’t wait to see just what the ratings icon’s first data cache would reveal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, yet nonetheless impressive, breakout series Stranger Things ruled the roost, with each of season 2’s nine episodes clocking 4 million viewers per (3 million in the 18-49 demo). Even more jaw-dropping: the 15.8 million pairs of American eyes (11 million demo) who streamed episode 1 within the first three days of release, as well as the 361,000 die-hards who mustered the ambition to blow through the entire sophomore run in under 24 hours.


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January / February 2018



Barbara Divisek

Divisek Casting Expands to Georgia


fter decades of working in Los Angeles and beyond, Divisek Casting has branched out to Atlanta. Casting Director Barbara Divisek has successfully cast more than 4,200 projects, including film, television, commercials, industrials, voice-overs and video games. Her exceptional eye for talent and emphasis on client service have helped her build a global network of contacts and resources, enabling her to cast worldwide. But while going global is exciting, Divisek understands the value of a home base. She is bicoastal with a permanent studio in Los Angeles and three new studios in Atlanta, equipped with professional cameras, lighting and sound. According to Divisek, even when operating under immediate deadlines and intense circumstances, she uses her years of expertise and sound judgment to cultivate talent and help actors excel in auditions. These qualities propelled Los Angeles-based Divisek Casting from a two-person start-up to a highly respected casting office, working on hundreds of projects annually.

Classic Party Rentals Becomes M&M


&M Event Rentals has announced that the company will begin operating under a new name: Marquee Event Group, Inc. The newly unified organization will integrate M&M Event Rentals (Chicago, Dallas), Celebration Event Rental (Grand Prairie, TX), All Seasons Event Rentals (Kansas City, KS), AAA Rental System (Markham, IL), Classic Party Rentals (Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Nashville) and Marquee Event Group (Austin, San Antonio) into a singular brand. M&M’s Georgia film and television credits include The Hunger Games, Halt & Catch Fire, and Fast & Furious. “This is an exciting time in our company’s evolution,” says Marquee CEO Mark Murphy. “We have a broader depth of inventory and broader geography. It allows us the ability to offer a new level of commitment to our clients.” Combining years of expertise within each individual brand and the deepest product lines in the Midwestern and Southern markets, Marquee Event Group is poised to execute any type or size event.


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January / February 2018



Burst-Terranella’s Sissy Carlyle Crushes the Awards Circuit

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pening to critical acclaim at last year’s Atlanta Film Festival, director Fran Burst-Terranella’s first feature effort, The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle, closed out 2017 with a bang by racking up a host of awards. The tale of a young woman who supplements her quiet life by creating fantasy alter-egos was already a hit with Georgia viewers, but now audiences the nation over are beginning to take note. At the American Filmatic Arts Awards in December, Sissy left New York with honors for Best Feature, Best Woman Direc tor and Best Actress (April Billingsley). Then, just days later at the US Hollywood International Golden Awards in L.A., Jason Burkey, who plays Sissy’s brother, Riley, in the film, walked away with the prize for Best Supporting Actor. Congratulations to Ms. Burst-Terranella on behalf of the entire Atlanta film community.

January / February 2018


OZCETERA Project created by UTÖKA

UTÖKA Opens in Atlanta


TÖKA, an Atlanta-based creative agency, has opened its doors. The end-to-end company brings a deep understanding of a brand’s culture and goals to its approach to developing strategic visual concepts, which guide its team through the production and post-production process. The new venture provides design-driven solutions for a variety of projects, including brand identities, logos, print ads, packaging, point-of-sales installations, event installations, billboards and product activation on social media, multi-faceted broadcast campaigns and digital content. UTÖKA is also equipped to step in during the production phase, offering photography, illustration, retouching, CGI, animation, motion


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graphics, 3D modeling, editing, compositing, finishing and live-action production, to name a few. Helmed by two industry veterans, CCO Ed Dye and CEO Michael Zarrillo, the company merges its leaders’ skill sets with a complement of new artists that enable the creative agency to meet the full range of a brand’s needs entirely in-house. UTÖKA builds upon the synergy between two award-winning companies with over 20 years of experience: Artistic Image, the CGI, animation, live-action, motion studio, and Artemis Creative, the design/ photography and print house— founded by Dye and Zarrillo, respectively.

Dye, an accomplished producer and creative director in his own right, guides UTÖKA s team of designers, CDs, animators, CGI artists, 3D modelers, motion graphic artists and editors, compositors, photographers, illustrators, producers and directors through the creative process. The multi-disciplined collective works as an integrated unit to create brand-boosting visual content that amplifies a client’s message across multiple touchpoints. Meanwhile, the partners have evolved the deliverable-driven business models of their former companies into a flexible, integrated resource that supports a seamless approach to every phase of a project, from inception to completion.

January / February 2018



Growth Mode for Wallace Graphics


Largest Liquidator in the Southeast.

allace Graphics Inc., printer of the Georgia Film & Television Sourcebook, has acquired Alpharetta-based firm MegaBytes Digital, a leading large format and signage business. The acquisition represents the company’s strategic move to grow and expand its service line to large-format printing, as well as to broaden existing digital services. The combined business will operate under the Wallace Graphics brand from its new 70,000 square-foot, freestanding building in Duluth, Ga. Founded in 1987 by John Wallace, Wallace Graphics Inc. has grown steadily over the past three decades to offer a wide range of print services and industry-changing value. Family-owned and currently operated by Wallace’s two sons, the company says it will continue to focus on maintaining a youthful, high-energy approach to offering superior printing solutions to a loyal customer base that features thousands of successful clients. With the addition of Megabytes Digital, Wallace Graphics now offers turnkey print solutions, from digital and sheet-fed printing to custom signage, large-format capabilities for retail and pointof-purchase displays, trade-show graphics, wallpaper murals and automotive wraps. The expanded business serves as a single-source provider for full marketing campaigns, including design, digital, small-format printing, large-format printing and direct mail. “In our 30 years of business, we have grown from a single, small printing press to a larger operation that can provide complementary design and production services for digital campaigns all the way through physical signage,” says Jonathan Wallace, president of Wallace Graphics Inc. “By bringing MegaBytes Digital into our evolving team, we run the gamut of services we provide to clients.” Wallace Graphics relocated to its new facility in Duluth in late 2017, in order to accommodate the company’s expansion. The Duluth facility is designed to optimize efficiency among the creative workforce and centralize the company’s service lines in one dynamic space. Rupert Murdoch

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Disney Acquires 21st Century Fox for $66.1 billion


nder the terms of a new agreement, Disney will stake its claim as the largest media company in the world by acquiring 21st Century Fox for $66.1 billion. Fox, currently owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has assets that include the 20th Century Fox movie studio and 39 percent ownership of the popular European network, Sky. These will add untold value to a portfolio of intellectual property and branding that encompasses everything from Darth Vader to Donald Duck. If approved by the regulators, the deal will see Disney paying $52.4 billion in stock, coupled with $13.7 billion in debt. Fox’s shareholders, who will now own roughly 25 percent of the company, will be given 0.2745 in Disney shares for each share they hold in Fox. The deal will also have a significant impact within the global media sphere, as it severs Murdoch’s ties to Hollywood and prompts a parting of ways with his son, Fox CEO James Murdoch, who is likely to leave once the sale is complete.

OZCETERA Narrative Feature: Disappearance - Directed by Ali Asgari

Atlanta Film Festival’s First Wave


eading up to the 42nd Atlanta Film Festival & Creative Conference (ATLFF), taking place April 13-22, 2018, the Atlanta Film Society has released the first wave of film programming: 15 works in both feature length and short form across narrative, documentary, pilot episode, music video, animation, puppetry, experimental and virtual reality categories. “One of the most beautiful things about independent film is that it allows creators who may be shut out of the Hollywood machine to tell their own stories and make their voices heard,” said ATLFF Programming Director Alyssa Armand. “As we approach our 42nd

year, we look forward to continuing to provide a platform for the alternative by showcasing films that you rarely get to see on the big screen, but that absolutely deserve to be there.” This group of 15 films comes from a new ATLFF record of 6,650 f ilm submissions. Hailing from Canada, Iran, Pakistan, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Turkey, UK and the U.S., they represent the inclusive and far-reaching breadth of the forthcoming complete lineup. Last year, women directed more than 50 percent of ATLFF’s film program, and nearly 40 percent of directors were filmmakers of color.

Now in its fourth decade, the Atlanta Film Festival—one of only two-dozen Academy Award® qualif ying festivals in the U.S.—is the area’s preeminent celebration of cinema. The Atlanta Film Festival is one of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country, welcoming an audience of nearly 25,000 to discover hundreds of new independent, international, animated, documentary, and short films, selected from 3000+ submissions from all over the world. Be a part of this great film festival experience. Attend, sponsor or volunteer. Go to www. atlantafilmfestival.com for more info.

January / February 2018



Entertainment Attorney Alan Clarke Joins Taylor English Duma


lan S. Clarke has joined Taylor English Duma LLP as a partner in the Entertainment Practice Group. Clarke previously served as managing partner of the Entertainment Law Group / Alan S. Clarke & Associates, LLC. “As the entertainment industry continues to boom in Georgia, we are thrilled to welcome Alan to the firm to better serve our clients and expand services to his clients,” says Marc Taylor, a founding partner of Taylor English. “Alan has an outstanding reputation not only in the Southeast, but around the country, for his distinguished career in entertainment law.” Clarke has experience representing recording artists, writers, performers, athletes, record labels, producers, managers, authors and others in the entertainment industry. Prior to starting his own firm, Clarke served as assistant district attorney and assistant solicitor at Rockdale Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. O u t s i d e o f w o r k , C l a r ke i s h e a v i l y involved in serving the entertainment community. He has previously served as chair of the Entertainment and Sports Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia, the North American Entertainment, Sports & IP Law Summit, and


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Alan S. Clarke

the Entertainment Law Institute. He is currently a member of the Recording Academy and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), and also lectures frequently on entertainment industry and intellectual property issues before legal associations and universities. Additionally, he has spoken to

attorney groups with Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein on legal professionalism and ethics. Clarke earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his law degree from Emory University School of Law.


January / February 2018



ometimes, it’s all about making the best of the opportunities life gives you. Nobody knows this better than Candice Alger, interim COO at TRICK 3D and a professor of practice at Georgia State University’s Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII). Born into a military family, as a kid Candice never stayed more than three years in one place. Most people would have reacted badly; Alger, on the other hand, both embraced and learned from it. “Looking back, I think that was really a blessing,” she says. “I learned how to adapt and make new friends. At the end of the day, I’m so thankful for that. I saw a lot of the world, saw a lot of different cultures.” Alger’s first step into Georgia was in the late ’70s, when she attended The University of Georgia in Athens. Shortly after arriving, she fell, almost accidentally, into the media world. She found it fascinating. She changed her major, eventually earning a degree in journalism. From there, her journey from the news world to the entertainment world unfolded. Alger started her career in sports PR, and then moved


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

January / February 2018


I like building things. I like bringing strong people together and then applying technology to innovate solutions.”

to satellite networking during its initial creation and use. She chased hurricanes and covered remote sports. Then, around 1980, she made the jump to CNN, working first in cable sales and later for CNN Sports. “CNN was an amazing experience…to be a part of launching a network,” Alger muses. “Back then, it was a real skeleton crew. We didn’t have cell phones or computers, so it was tricky. But we all worked really hard, and I learned a lot. I had the good fortune to have some amazing mentors there.” After her time at CNN, Alger joined Crawford Communications, a choice that would help define the rest of her career. The company was just a startup then, building a small teleport business. They


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reached out to Alger, hoping she could help run the entire operation. And like most other times in her life, she said yes to the opportunity. As executive VP, she built a solid team, which in turn created one of the most recognized private telecommunications companies in the U.S. Alger also helped to introduce the idea of automated, 24-hour news networks. “We were the first to automate them using modified robotics equipment, so that you could minimize the errors, increase the efficiency and lower the cost,” she explains. “I like building things. I like bringing strong people together and then applying technology to innovate solutions.” After a few years in that post, Alger moved from the satellite side of the equation to helping run the entire company. Crawford was soon approached by a local outfit, Biomechanics, that had invented a new technology called “motion capture.” Here, yet another opportunity was presenting itself to Alger. Biomechanics, still in its beginning stages, was using motion capture mainly in the military arena and on the sports field. However, they were eager to partner with Crawford and explore the potential opportunities in the entertainment sector. Alger knew immediately what a powerful tool motion-capture technology could become, so she went about building a team and a studio space. Crawford pulled out of the deal at the last minute, which then led Biomechanics to circle back with Commonwealth, an investment firm in New York, to bring in

another round of fundraising to launch an entertainment company around the technology. Alger was asked to come on as CEO to help with the private placement memorandum and to build a team. Those combined efforts resulted in the birth of Giant Studios. It was a tough road in the beginning, she admits, but with the combination of an incredible team and some amazing opportunities, Giant was able to push the technology and develop the necessary production pipelines to open more doors in the film and video game markets. “We assembled an incredible team, we got some amazing opportunities, and things just really blossomed for us,” Alger says. “When we landed the Avatar project, it was a life-changer. And that led to The Adventures of Tintin and Spielberg. But it was all really about the team.” With Alger at the helm, Giant Studios became a world leader in motion capture and virtual production. In 2005, the company received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its “unique contributions to the filmmaking process.” “If you had asked me 30 years ago what projects we would be working on,” Alger says, “never in a million years would I ever guess that we’d be working with some of the finest directors in the world on some really amazing projects and pretty powerful game studios. It’s really kind of shocking.” After selling their proprietary performance-capture tech to James Cameron and Jon Landau’s Lightstorm Entertainment in 2015, Giant Studios shuttered, much to the dismay of the entertainment world. The transition wasn’t easy for Alger, either. She has a long-standing habit of considering her co-workers more of a family than a business, and since most of the Giant staff had been around for the full 18 years, this was no different. Some days, she still misses the people and the camaraderie. However, Alger knew she had reached the pinnacle. “All of the pieces feel into place and I just knew, in my gut, that it was the right time. I never stopped building it, but it was just time. I guess you could say that I accomplished what I set out to do. It was a thrill, a sort of adrenaline rush, to compete at that level.

I met and worked with so many amazing people along the way.” From the fondness with which Alger refers to her colleagues, it’s clear how much she respects and values their shared experience. And from her time at Giant to her current role at TRICK 3D and Georgia State University, she has always made sure to utilize the best talent and the best technology available, in order to do her best. These days, as professor of practice at CMII, Candice relishes the thought of forging new roads as she helps to prep her students for a career in this highintensity, ever-changing world of film and entertainment. She spends her days working with a dedicated team to develop relationships throughout the industry, filling gaps and building bridges for the newest players in the game. Similar success stories from all walks of the business visit the institute as well, and work with the students to ensure that they receive invaluable, hands-on experience. In turn, those businesses are gifted the opportunity to test new technologies in a particularly energized environment. Of course, staying at the forefront of industry technology and trends has always been Alger’s M.O. “The team is remarkable and just passionate about what they do. It’s going to be really fun to roll this out into a pipeline that leverages these emerging technologies, so that we can tell our stories using the new mediums. That’s what everybody is trying to do right now. It’s kind of like the wild, wild West. Truly exciting. “[I want] to help empower the storytellers of the future and arm them with the tools they need. And to be experimenting with technology that helps us figure out, as a community, some of the best practices and best tools. I feel strongly that we’re poised to do some really incredible work and to have a lot of fun doing it.” Innovation and creativity rule when it comes to being successful in film. Alger knows this well and, accordingly, has fine-tuned her process over the years. Each project is approached on a caseby-case basis; she carefully considers all the angles, the benefits and the problems; then she presents it to her team. Collaboration is, after all, a vital part of her success. And focusing that

collaboration to produce a solution with both artistic and technical elements? That’s key. Crediting much of her success to the numerous mentors she’s had in her own life, Alger is also passionate about giving back to those who are new to the industry. In fact, she recommends that any novice who doesn’t already have a mentor go and find one immediately. “Having people that cared enough to guide you, give you sage advice and help prop you up when things got tough, that kind of determines the long-term outcome,” she says. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes; I’ve tried not to make the same ones. And I feel like I’ve learned from those mistakes. I try to do it better every day.” But while mistakes are vital, learning from them is even more so. Alger is adamant about creating your own opportunities. A certain kind of indefatigable drive is vital to success in the entertainment industry, and when you couple that with an ideal mentor and hard work, doors are likely to open. It’s how Alger has lived, and continues to live, her own life. The entertainment business is in a constant state of evolution, the movie and videogame world is exploding with opportunity, and nearly anyone can find a place in it. “It’s such an exciting time right now,” Alger says. “It feels like the Industrial Revolution to me. Everything’s changing, and it’s changing so rapidly. The challenges are to figure out what pieces to put together. It’s all really about integration and execution, and I think that we’ve got the smart people here, the creative talent and the passion to put it all together and hit it out of the park.”

January / February 2018


It’s a dark, quiet evening at the Plaza Theatre. There’s a muted hum of conversation as the audience filters into the venue and finds their way to their seats. The smell of popcorn lingers in the air, and the rustling of candy packets is barely audible above the rustling of viewers. At the front of the theater, a small group of people are conversing about the evening ahead. This is Cineprov, a liveaction event that fuses improv, theater and classic films. 30

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s the lights dim we are introduced to a motley crew, all funny in their own right, who are waiting on the stage. They are charismatic, easily drawing in the crowd with their quick wits and playful demeanor. For those who have watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), the concept is a familiar one: humorous commentary while B-rate films play in the background. Fans of the classic sci-fi series might feel a bit like they are in the Satellite of Love itself, and the improv adds an interactive, intriguing element to the enjoyment of these classic, often campy and cheesy films. Originally founded in 2005 by Larry Johnson and a few friends, Cineprov arose from humble beginnings at the Basement Theatre in Buckhead. The group would pull together two shows in a weekend, hardly advertise them at all, and hope for the best. “We would just sit and play UNO a lot in the hopes that an audience would show up,” Johnson says with a laugh. After some time, the group relocated to Sketchworks in Decatur. The distance combined with the risk of crime—the Cineprov crew was even robbed there once—led them to find a new home. For awhile, they performed at Relapse Theatre, projecting their films onto bedsheets suspended across the balcony. “It was super slap-dash and thrown together,” Johnson admits, but it was still a labor of love for the crew. Currently they are showing at the Plaza, averaging one performance a month every first Thursday, but they will be adding a few Friday night showings in 2018. “We found these ’70s movies, and they are all just so beige. The horrible way women were treated in the ’60s and ’70s,” Johnson explains, incited the Cineprov crew to make fun of those tropes. “I remember that when I grew up in Philadelphia, my buddy and I would go out and drink, then go back to his house and watch MST3K and just laugh and laugh. And I’ve always been snarky.” Inspired by the MST3K style, and after an encouraging encounter at Dragon Con with Joel Hodgson, the show’s creator, Johnson knew he was on the right track. “I met Joel back in 2008; the whole cast was there; I think they were promoting Cinematic Titanic; I was standing in line

"I am totally flattered to be called a 'comedy terrorist.'"

Larry Johnson

just to get things signed and wearing a Cineprov shirt. At the time, the coolest thing that I ever heard was Joel looked up and said, ‘Hey, are you the Cineprov guy? I’ve seen your website.’” Years later, in August of 2013, Hodgson was touring with his show called Riffing Myself, and Johnson reached out to him to suggest that he come to Atlanta and host a performance at the Plaza one night, then sit in with the cast of Cineprov the next. The stars aligned, and Johnson found himself onstage with one of his comedy icons, riffing and joking through a presentation of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. “The one with the whales,” as Johnson describes it. It was a big success and reassured Johnson that this form of comedy, a sort of mashup between live theater and old film,

would be fruitful. In 2015, when Hodgson launched a Kickstarter to bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000 to Netflix, again Johnson reached out. “I just emailed him and said, ‘Hey, congratulations on getting the show rebooted. I would kick myself to my grave if I didn’t tell you I want to be involved in this.’” As a result, Johnson landed his first role as a writer for one of the new episodes of MST3K, covering The Land That Time Forgot. Writing for the show was a little different than the hands-on approach with which Johnson and his Cineprov friends were familiar. Instead, it would require offsite, independent, internet-based writing. Instead of sitting around with friends in someone’s living room, sharing drinks and food while loudly making fun of old movies, he was directed to write down his ideas and his jokes, test them on others, and then send them in to the head writers, Hodgson and Neal McAdam. They told him, “Just submit, submit, submit,” and in the end, he estimates that he wrote around 586 jokes for the 72-minute movie. While Johnson’s sense of humor and passion for Cineprov is clearly the driving force behind the group, it hasn’t always been the most welcomed in every setting. He recalls one instance where he nearly had to leave a house party at a friend’s place because they were screening The Graduate and Johnson couldn’t stop making fun of the film. It was years later that he found improv, taking classes back in 2001 and joining the Laughing Matters local improv group. “I am totally flattered to be called a ‘comedy terrorist,’” he said, referencing a comment made by a friend who postured that his style of funny interjections was often pleasantly surprising and sometimes accosting. Improv became a way for Johnson to express his sarcasm, snark and wit. “Otherwise the sarcasm would build up in my head and it would actually explode,” Johnson explains, “so this is definitely a release for me to get the snark out.” It also allowed him to meet new people and reflected his appreciation for old B movies. “I love bad movies, but I can’t make bad movies. So, I totally respect that they make it so that we can make fun of it.” Another member of the Cineprov crew, Candace Weslosky, has been involved for the past year or so, and she has also been leading the Friday night January / February 2018


Larry Johnson

“The culture it creates, the fellowship, that’s the reason you do it. It is the chip and we are the dip."

screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Plaza for the past 17 years. One night, when Weslosky sat in with the audience during a Cineprov screening that was experiencing technical audio problems, she started improvising ad-libs along with the crew onstage. It got Johnson’s attention, and an instant bond was formed. “Since then, I think Larry and I have talked every single day for a year,” says Weslosky. “We are besties.” Outside of the Plaza, Weslosky has a rather serious and intense job as assistant to the head surgeon for the corneal department at St. Joseph’s Hospital, specializing in geriatric ophthalmology. Her roles during the day include helping patients as they grapple with vision loss, cataract surgery and corneal transplants. “I totally adult when I’m not around these people,” she says, her voice tinged with laughter. At work, she finds herself in the role of patient advocate, especially as it relates to elderly patients who have to negotiate with insurance companies and may not have other people fighting for their rights. “It is nice to work really hard in a stressful environment and then have something like this to do afterwards.” Beyond the day job and the performances at the Plaza, Weslosky also plays French horn for the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra and runs a convention by the name of Outlantacon on Mother’s Day weekend. Outlantacon is an LGBT+ convention featuring scifi, pop-culture and gaming, as well as 32

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a film festival. In all of these settings, Weslosky’s humor and compassion shine through. “I have many report cards that state ‘Conduct: Candace feels the need to entertain the entire class,’” Weslosky says. These days, while doing Rocky Horror and Cineprov, she thinks of herself as something like a concierge working between the audience and the team members. Now considered to be “zany,” Weslosky only wishes that the educators from her youth could understand how much her sense of humor benefits her life today. “Look at me now, it all turned out for the best.” Despite showing a penchant for dramatics from an early age, it wasn’t until the end of high school that Weslosky began participating in theater. Her first theatrical performance? None other than The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “I heard they were going to create a Rocky cast, so I just showed up there one night,” she recalls. Impulsively, she walked in when they asked the cast and crew to enter the theater that night. When confronted, she admitted that she was not technically part of the show, but they decided to bring her onto the cast instead of kicking her out. It is just this type of forward and risk-taking behavior that makes Weslosky such a compelling performer in improv and film scenarios to this day. Though admittedly not the most knowledgeable about films, Weslosky has found a welcoming home away from home in the culture and community that Cineprov creates. Her outgoing personality makes her a good fit in the dynamic of the crew, and she has the

uncanny ability to bring others together, get them laughing, and keep everyone on target. “What I feel like I bring to the table is that I have never met a stranger,” she says. Upon first meeting Weslosky, don’t be surprised if you leave the interaction with a handful of new connections and an invitation to multiple upcoming events. Seventeen years is a long time to run an interactive, recurring theater and live-action rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In that time, many faces have come and gone, and the community has grown into a subcultural cornerstone. “I love the culture that Rocky creates,” Weslosky says, admitting to more of a fondness for the music of the film than the onscreen performances. “The culture it creates, the fellowship, that’s the reason you do it. It is the chip and we are the dip. It gives us a reason to all come together, and suddenly all of the people who were on the Island of Misfit Toys, they end up being best friends.” It would seem that those who are drawn to the Cineprov lifestyle are typically funny, outgoing, and enjoy being in the spotlight. “Ever since I was a bird in my first-grade play, I have always wanted to be the center of attention,” says fellow crew member Christine Fitzgerald. Originally from Florida, she’s a writer who has found work, friendship and passion here in Atlanta. “I have had a very odd path to where I am right now. I initially wanted to be a stage technician at Disney, running the light and the soundboard for the shows that they have at Walt Disney World.”

Christine Fitzgerald

Candace Weslosky

Fitzgerald earned a degree in theater from Florida State and did children’s theater while in school, describing the youthful audience as being brutally honest. Later, after attaining a degree in radio and television from the University of Central Florida, Fitzgerald became something of a jack-of-all-trades in television production for many years. While working as a tech in camera, audio and design, she recalls many mornings spent watching MST3K with the crew before the feed began. Fitzgerald’s path led her to Atlanta for post-grad studies in mass communication at Georgia State University in the late ’90s, during which she worked with Laughing Matters here. Eventually she returned to Florida with her then husband. She didn’t stay away long, and returned to Atlanta as soon as she was able. “The minute the ink was dry on my divorce papers, I was back up here,” she says. Taking a job at CNN as a tour guide, she got to experience the inner workings of the TV productions she had always revered, and it ultimately led her to disillusionment with the profession as a whole. Writing quickly replaced production as Fitzgerald’s primary source of income, as she began working for Planet Hollywood, contributing to websites such as Socialite Life, XOJane.com, and Celebitchy.com. Today, she works as a copywriter for Atlantic American and Write Choice Copy. But while copywriting has been both enjoyable and financially beneficial, her

work with Cineprov has filled a different need in her life. “I really wanted to do something where I could express myself better,” Fitzgerald says. “I have just been trying to find a place to have a creative outlet up here, and that’s what Cineprov does for me. It rescued me from my mundane existence as an insurance copywriter.” Given her background in improv, the ‘yes and’ elements of Cineprov have been familiar, but also new, for Fitzgerald. “The camaraderie built really quickly. I feel like I’ve known them forever.” Local patrons of Cineprov span generations and demographics. Some have been lifelong Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, while others have stumbled upon the concept more recently. One local fan is Dan Carroll, the media relations director for Dragon Con, Atlanta’s annual comic and media convention. “I had been a longtime fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000,” Carroll says, “and back in 2011, I was doing some theater and comedy reviews for a local website. I was assigned to cover Cineprov and instantly found something I loved. I caught every show I could.” There’s a certain element of liberation that comes from attending Cineprov events, and for Carroll, the experience adds a kind of “new dimension” to the theater experience. “I always talk back to my TV. Did it last night, even,” he says. “I am not one who talks to the movie screen. Cineprov did it for me.” Collaborating with the Plaza has

"This is a whole other type of performance, in that it’s really of the soul..." been an impressive boon to their fan base and attendance, and everyone seems excited about what’s to come. Described by Carroll as “one of the 10 best independent theaters in the nation,” the Plaza has the unique ability to blend classic, movie-theater style and newer, more modern concepts with grace. It’s the ideal place for a concept like Cineprov to thrive. “This is a whole other type of performance, in that it’s really of the soul,” says Weslosky. “You just have a good time. When you leave, you just feel good.” Whether you’re part of the crew or a member of the audience, there’s a magnetism that surrounds this facetious event. Indeed, the love for film, for riffing, for jokes, and for improv has brought together this devoted bunch of funny folks. Sometimes it falls upon Johnson, as the so-called “big cheese” and “fearless leader,” to corral the group towards successful shows. “Larry grounds us, so that we stay on task,” says Weslosky. “That’s why I sit in the middle, so I can slap everybody,” Johnson retorts. Jokes aside, the group has found an evergrowing community of fans in Atlanta, and the future appears bright for further expansion. In 2018, Cineprov plans to host not only their monthly first-Thursday events, but also showings of Flesh Gordon and Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks. January / February 2018


VOICES Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

By Dov Jacobson


he tumbrils of Twitter roll, day after day, carting culprits to the guillotine. Famous heads are lifted high, then tossed into a basket: Weinstein, Spacey, C.K., Hoffman, Lauer, Keillor, Lassiter and more. The basket fills. The Bastille falls. Justice tears off her blindfold, fixes her robe and furiously hurls her scales at her leering boss.


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The #MeToo movement, unearthing misconduct, exposes managers to risk. Kevin Spacey’s behavior destroyed his career, but it also cost Ridley Scott $10 million to Photoshop Christopher Plummer over him in All the Money in the World. And that’s a rounding error to the liabilities at the Weinstein Company. In recent months, producer Kathleen Kennedy created a non-profit, helmed by Anita Hill, to end sexual harassment in the film industry. Hill and Kennedy have harnessed a lot of sentiment and converted it into financial support. But it isn’t as easy to convert these dollars into large-scale cultural change. And the ambitious goal of cleaning up Hollywood is hardly ambitious enough. For every violated actress, there’s a fleet of females in foodservice, factories, armed forces and tomato fields. They need help no less than the actress.

Risk exposure motivates managers to change the workplace, often by edict. The digital studio where I serve as managing director faces this sort of challenge all the time. “Our trainees don’t need to have fun,” an Air Force client once told us. “We’ll order them to play this game.” Similarly, in a proposed distracted-driver project, Doraville traffic court sentences the guilty to play the remedial game. But compulsion is not enough. Unless you actually engage the player, you get very limited results. #MeToo might out every bad actor from the White House to the Waffle House, but then what? You can root out misbehavior, but you cannot bury it until you introduce a new code of conduct. How will that happen? Our studio makes games to shape behavior. Games employ science and art to help players freely explore choices.

Players discover insights and master new skills that transfer to the real world. The goals range from helping children respect classmates in wheelchairs to helping CIA analysts overcome biased thinking. Large studies show that these games produce more permanent improvements than alternative methods. They help leaders introduce meaningful change. Engagement is not easy. It requires mastery of the media arts (everything from character design to music engineering to code artistry). No less importantly, engagement requires a deep working empathy for the particular player. Specifically, to end trouble, reformers must engage the actual troublemakers. The entertainment industry, which provided so many victims and villains in the great 2017 perp walk, can provide muscle here.

COMMITMENT WORLD VS COMPLIANCE WORLD What tools can offer Anita Hill enough leverage to make large changes in a toxic environment? Hill is a lawyer. A lawyer’s natural tool is regulation. To change behavior, set out new rules. Establish enforcement and you get compliance. In the world of compliance, workers learn the limits of behavior in a number of well-defined conditions. The system offers the workers little help in situations that rule-writers did not anticipate. Zero tolerance enforcement policies establish a leader’s seriousness, but they only make artificial divisions more rigid. They focus on rules rather than the relationships which rules are written to protect. Workers are concerned with self: self-control for the sake of selfpreservation.

Commitment is the resilient engine that starts with clear values and ends with intentional action. But the best leaders want much more than brittle compliance. They want commitment. Commitment is the resilient engine that starts with clear values and ends with intentional action. Abraham Lincoln said that people “are never less

likely to change, to convert to new ways of thinking or acting, than when it means joining the ranks of their denouncers.” He advised temperance activists: “To have expected them not to meet denunciation with denunciation...and anathema with anathema, was to expect a reversal of human nature.” Put simply, committed people reach goals more efficiently than compliant people. In Commitment World, workers focus on each other and on the team that they compose together. A man who sees a coworker as a talent is unlikely to treat her as a toy. Of course, Commitment World has rules too. In fact, these are the same rules as Compliance World. But they serve a different purpose. In Commitment World, rules are like guardrails on a mountain road. Sane drivers do not use those rails to steer their cars. They need them only to prevent disaster when something upsets their driving skills. In Compliance World, the fences are like those in a stockyard, where cattle bump against the rails as they are herded forward. It isn’t easy to get to Commitment World. Compliance can be compelled, but commitment must be earned. A worker accepts that his actions are constrained by rules, but no rule can tell him what to believe. We can be happy that neither rules nor technology inspired by clockwork orange can compel belief.

COMMITMENT THROUGH GAMING People learn by hearing, they believe by seeing, but they change by doing. Games have a unique way of making the hero’s journey personal. Games are also laboratories of behavior, and offer a few surprise discoveries. For example, when we use eye-tracking hardware for game-tuning, we consistently notice that male players look at each female character breast-first. Even when she is a cartoon character of an aging tomboy in a pantsuit. To build empathy for the oppressed, activists must first accomplish a far more difficult empathy: They must understand the offenders. They can’t fix the few true sociopaths and they don’t need to fix the innocents. But most men are muddled

in the middle with some history of bad jokes, biased assessments, pornographic daydreams, and a tangled mess of role models and peer pressure. They are not angels. But to treat them as monsters is to surrender hope. There are many approaches a game might use. A proven pattern in a narrative game is to start by placing the problem in the third person. The player’s avatar encounters other characters who exhibit the bad behavior, and the avatar is thrown into the role of mentor, helping the third person replace a failed perspective. In later levels, the avatar himself must explicitly demonstrate a committed approach, often with the help of a mentor. In the final levels, it is the genuine commitment of the player, rather than that of the fictional avatar, that is put to the test. When the law cannot dig deep enough, activists can turn to art, the essence of the entertainment industry. Stories can model healthy behavior, or they can trace the arc of transition. Getting “woke” is a hero’s journey. If rendered well, it is a journey that viewers can join.

BE PART OF THE GAME #MeToo is a unique opportunity to achieve a world of better behavior. But what world is that? It could be a nervous Compliance World, guided only by its zero-tolerance policy and controlling workers by the threat of punishment. Better leaders would establish Commitment World, in which workers have reason to trust one another. In Commitment World, people listen to all voices, uninterrupted. Workers value their variety and take pride in the productivity of the team. Surely, Commitment World is worth the work it will require. Better to dig out the roots of dysfunction than whack away at its manifestations. Embrace this challenge. The gaming world can and should assemble and energize partners from all quarters to join this quest.

January / February 2018




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eja Dee is a self-proclaimed Virginia military brat by birthright, but the former radio personality turned actor’s profile has been steadily rising since 2013 when she landed the role of Alma in Cinemax’s Banshee. Now, following up a fruitful 2016 and 2017 that witnessed her featured alongside the likes of Queen Latifah (Star) and Michael K. Williams (Hap & Leonard), 2018 is poised to be another bang-up year as she forays into the world of feature film. She’ll share the screen with Shia Lebouf and Bruce Dern in The Peanut Butter Falcon, and even chatter some teeth with Mandy Moore in the upcoming adaptation of Alexandra Bracken’s young-adult thriller, The Darkest Minds. Text by Neal Howard | Photography by Isadora Pennington

January / February 2018


OZ: When did you first notice that you had a naturally outgoing, expressive personality—a la, that of a performer? DD: I don’t know. Because when I was younger, I was kind of bashful, but I loved to create. And I was an only child, a military brat. As far as I remember, I can tell you that I never thought of it as being an actress. It was always about being an entertainer. Back in those days, watching the behind-the-scenes stories of actors, they did everything. They acted, they danced, they sang, they did comedy. And they were referred to as “entertainers,” so that’s what I thought. I really liked musicals, and I just remember really wanting to do them. But it was probably at 10 or 11 that I watched this film with my grandmother ­— a film that I’m sure I shouldn’t have been watching at that age — and that’s when I first understood what acting was. It was Sally Field in Sybil. Oh wow, that is a deep one for an 11-year-old. [Laughs] It definitely haunted me for a while. But I was familiar with her from Gidget, The Flying Nun and Smokey and the Bandit, and seeing her switch to a completely different personality and character within the same film, I was like, 'Ohhhhh, now I get it.' Your Facebook page has a lot of inspirational quotes. For instance, “There will always be someone who can’t see your worth. Don’t let it be you.” What have you been through in your life that makes these selfreminders useful? Oh, a lot. Eating disorder. Sexual assault. [Interviewer’s note: At this point in this conversation, Dee stoically recounts an incident of sexual predation she suffered as an adolescent girl, perpetrated by a pair of neighborhood boys. Although she tells it in the least explicit manner possible, to transcribe it here is neither tasteful nor necessary. Suffice to say that it is harrowing, heartbreaking. We take a hard right and change the subject altogether.]


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I’ve heard time and time again that it took L.A. transports—people in the business—quite a while to respect Atlanta as a legit entertainment city with its own ethos and vibe. How has your experience here played out, both personally and professionally? My first year, I was blessed. I booked 16 projects and 14 of them went through, so I was constantly working and I didn’t really get to “see” Atlanta. I’m just kind of getting around to the personal aspect of it. But professionally? Oh, it’s been off the chain. And first of all, let me just say thank you for doing this interview. The great casting director, Twinkie Bird, was asking me like three years ago what I do for PR, and I was like, ‘Nothing.’ She said, ‘Listen, I’m not saying you need to be on Jimmy Fallon’s couch, but you have a perspective, and there are plenty of actors who would love your knowledge.’ She was like, ‘I’ve done a lot of stuff, but I have no idea what it’s like to be an African-American woman on a predominantly Caucasian set. What is that like?’ Because I was the only black person my first year of Banshee, the only African-American woman in the cast. What obstacles does being the only black woman in a cast create? Well, let me say first that the crew was very diverse, so that was great. It was my first time seeing that diversity behind the camera. And then, of course, (Banshee director) Greg Yaitanes is just kind of a genius. And everyone—the writers, everyone—was just great. The core cast, the series regulars, they too were just great. But I was on another set recently where—OK, so African-American women’s hair: It’s a thing. [Laughs] And you can put this in the article: It’s a thing. And it didn’t really make sense to me, but the director wanted a particular “look” because of my character’s backstory. But that backstory was never referenced at all. I was just a day player on this one, but I bring it up because I had scenes with the lead, and it just became this whole thing about what my hair should look like. Of course, [the portrayal of race in film] has become a big conversation over the last couple of years. That conversation being, ‘If you want to tell a real story, tell a real story.’

One of your upcoming films set for release in 2018, The Darkest Minds, is ostensibly about a disease that wipes out 98 percent of the children in America. Is it as eerie as the plot summary reads? I cannot wait to see that one. In fact, I auditioned for a few roles, and one of the roles scared me. I got the script at night and I was like, eek!

If you want to tell a real story, tell a real story.” Do you scare easily? I don’t, but I have a very vivid imagination sometimes. So, I’m reading the script and I can see it in my mind, and I’m just like, whaaat?! Although the plot summary probably reads as more literal than it will actually be, because this is from one of those teen novels like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. The director, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, it was her first live feature and she was awesome, just awesome to work with. I only had a one-liner, but I use it as an example with the actors that I teach, that you can’t underestimate the power of a one-liner. You teach acting as well? Yes. And I always tell my actors that when I booked Banshee, it was for a oneliner. We didn’t know it was going to be a recurring role…but the work I did for the audition, when I show it to my actors they’re like, 'I saw everything!' It’s like 24 seconds and the line is, “C’mon, let’s go.” And they’re like, ‘How did you figure that out?! Oh my god! It’s all there.’ It’s one of those things that can’t be cut out because it’s a turning point. The director and I really worked on how to get there and tell the story, by just understanding what’s happening to motivate what you’re saying.

Was that the first one-liner that really opened your eyes to their power? No, I just believe that if someone is going to hire you even to say one word, it must be important, so I’m going to treat it as such. I often book those types of things because, a lot of times, people think that if it’s small, it’s not important. So, they treat it that way, and it looks that way. I don’t know when I began to understand that. I’m sure it was a natural thing. But certainly, within the last couple of years I’ve focused with my mentors and coaches on how important it is living between the words. That’s where you connect. What is the first step in getting your mind to that place, where you can act by expression alone and not lean on your lines? It’s a lot of detective work. It’s understanding the story that you’re telling, understanding the circumstances, where you are. It’s about understanding what your objective is, who the other person is to you. When you understand all of these things, seemingly it should be pretty easy. The problem—when it’s hard—is when you don’t understand. Because if you know the history between you and your partner in the scene, you know where you are at that moment, how you got there, what brought you to that moment. The writers are writing to move the story along, so you know what the conflict is, what the obstacle is, and then you have to consider the consequences of not “getting” your objective. How did you start teaching? Is this new? After studying with Wendy Davis in Charleston for three years, I was approached by this young lady who was in the record business. At the time I was a radio personality, and she was a model back in the day, and she wanted to create an artist development center in Charleston. She had music friends, she had the modeling thing, but she was looking for someone in theater to teach. She came to me for ideas, and I asked if I could just come in and sit at her open house and see what she was doing. I gave the actors some thoughts, some January / February 2018



Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

adjustments or whatever, and she and her partner decided they wanted to offer me a $10,000 management contract. I was like, ‘Wait, huh? You haven’t seen me do anything.’ And they were like, ‘By the way you spoke to those girls, we could tell.’ I was like, ‘But you haven’t seen me do anything!’ They said, ‘Go to L.A. for six months and see what happens.’ I said, ‘What if nothing happens in six months?’ They said, ‘That’s a chance we’re willing to take.’ It freaked me out for like, three days, because I’m thinking, ‘Eeee, I don’t know.’ And then God was like, ‘Girl, if you don’t sit down somewhere! Settle down, I got this.’ I turned down the offer at first, really because I didn’t know enough about management at that time, but I decided that I would come onboard to help if my coach gave me the thumbs up. She said absolutely. So, I did that for a few months in Charleston and, before I knew it, I had a gift of $10,000 that started my journey to move. When I left, I was just helping my actor friends because this region was all about taped auditions. I understood that I had to get really good at it, because you can’t actually go into the room. There were a few other actors who were also bicoastal at that time, so it was really just word of mouth reaching who I would coach. It was just a natural thing. This year, I have a ton of clients literally just from word of mouth. For most genuinely talented people, the medium of art is almost irrelevant. There are just people who “get it”— concept, execution, attention to detail—and people who don’t. Is that true of the talents with whom you’ve worked as a coach? Absolutely. They say you book or lose a job within the first five to 10 seconds of entering the room. What do you think Sierra, your character in season 2 of Queen Sugar, brings to the show’s dynamic? It wasn’t until probably my third episode that I really figured it out: I’m Nova’s bouncing board. I’m a corporate lawyer, so I’m smart. I’m already a partner in the firm at my age, so I defy the odds, as she

says in the first episode. And I’m having twins without the man because I’m going to get what I want when I want it; I’m not going to wait. Nova appreciates that, and I think Sierra is really there to help tell Nova’s story. You also appear in the Lee Daniels series, Star, alongside Queen Latifah. From a fashion perspective, which Queen do you prefer: early ’90s, U.N.I.T.Y., Cross Colours-wearing Queen? Or daytime talk-era, business skirt Queen? [Laughs and begins to sing aloud] “U.N.I.T.Y!” As a radio personality, part of my show was what we called “Back in the Day Buffet,” so I got to play that one often. [Sings] “Come into my house! Give me body!” But if you’re asking me which style do I prefer? Listen, it depends on which day it is. Because sometimes I wanna put my wrap on and be like, ‘What?! I dare you!’ Being that famous could make some people nuts. Do you think you’ll keep it together if you ever have that kind of profile? I pray that I don’t [go nuts]. I believe that I won’t. But I understand the possibility. Because I still have to check myself, even now. There was a Dave Chappelle interview from years ago in which he was talking about this same subject with regard to Martin Lawrence, after Lawrence was arrested for waving a gun in the middle of the street and yelling, “They’re trying to kill me!” Chappelle’s comment was along the lines of, ‘Celebrities who’ve fought their way to the top, then at some point suffer a mental breakdown, are not weak people. To get to that level, you have to be a strong person. Therefore, something insane has to be happening around them—happening to them— in order to make them act this way.’ His implication was that Hollywood culture can be so twisted and insidious that, over time, it makes many in the spotlight lose their sanity. When you don’t have your checks and balances in place, ego is a trip. Case in point: I booked 16 projects last year. In the

middle of this year, I’m like, I only booked three things! And one of my friends was like, ‘Girl, if you don’t shut up. Yeah, you “only” did that, but you’re working. You’re literally going back to New Orleans next week. You’re getting ready to go to Savannah for a shoot.’ Then, the other thing is just getting an audition. There are like 800, 900, 1,000 people who are submitting for a role, and there are only about 30 people selected to audition for that role. So, the fact that you’ve even gotten an audition alone, as a friend once told me, you’ve already won the lottery. Now you’ve got it; do your thing and be free. Then you get a call-back and it’s like, dude, you won. I always consider a call-back a win because, after that, it has nothing to do with you. I just learned recently, after going to an event and listening to the other side talk about their issues, that sometimes it’s about the combination of the director and the actor, or the writer and producer and actor. That combination has to line up, so sometimes you just don’t fit that combo. Other times, it’s about whether or not it’s sellable. Can I sell this project with this actor? Or if it’s an actor no one knows, can I sell it with this director? I was in the room waiting for something—maybe coming in for wardrobe—and it just so happened that they were trying to make a decision between two actors. It came down to the size of their heads, and they literally took out a tape measure. [Laughs] The actors weren’t there, it was on screen. But they were literally measuring. One guy’s head made him look older, so it was a choice. January / February 2018


It can come down to that minor of a technicality? That must make it feel even more rewarding to land the jobs that you’re landing. To be on the other side of the hump, so to speak, has to be a great feeling. I’m so grateful, and I have to remember that. Even the body of work that I have right now, even though I feel that most of it doesn’t match my talent, there are so many fabulous, wonderful, creative artists that don’t have that. There are so many variables, both within and outside of your control, aren’t there? Sometimes as creatives, we don’t think about the business side of it. I tell people that my understanding of it now is that the craft is only two percent. Consider the triangle is upside down, and that everything else sits on that two percent, so it’s gotta be good. All the rest of it is so many things: networking, researching, just living life so that you can inform your art. We never make time for that. Michael K. Williams, who you worked with on Hap & Leonard, is one of the most versatile—however underutilized—actors in the business today. Describe for us your experience with him on set. He’s very giving. Very, very giving in his art. 42

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the craft is only two percent. What does it mean when an actor uses the term “giving”? It means making sure that I’m giving you what you need—asking, checking in. Is there something else that I can do? And my man James Purefoy (co-star of Hap & Leonard), oh my God, I love James. If it wasn’t for James, I couldn’t have gotten through what I did for the finale. The crazy thing is that I was shooting Star and Hap & Leonard at the same time. Star was a very dark character, and though Miriam from Hap & Leonard wasn’t dark, she had dark baggage. So, it was the first time that I had been able to do this kind of work on set. I’d done it for class, done it for auditions, but outside of the projects that I’ve created for myself, I haven’t been able to do this kind of work. You just don’t realize how much it takes out of you. You understand intellectually that you’ve gotta get there, do it, then let it go, start over, shoot it again, et cetera, but it’s just really hard. You wanna do a good job and, in your mind, you’re thinking, I’ve gotta have all this stuff and I need to be ready. James would just come over and talk me down off the ledge. He’s like, ‘Don’t even think about it. Let it go.’ And he would give me this history lesson about how to deal with very emotional scenes. It was just really nice because it did help me deal with a lot.

What is your career endgame? What I have understood about my acting career since I was a little girl is that I want to help other young girls. I want to be an inspiration, because of what I went through as a young girl. The truth is that my story is not special, and I believe that God used me to experience just enough to understand the mindset you have to be in to want to kill yourself, or to have an eating disorder, or to deal with being sexually assaulted. He understood that, I need to give you just enough that I don’t break you. And it didn’t break me; it didn’t break my spirit. But now I understand what that feels like and where that place is, so I can help young girls dealing with that and show them, look, I’m still standing, I’m successful. Because when you’re in that place and you’re that young, you can’t see that far into the future. All you can see is tomorrow and dealing with school, your parents and whatever. And you’re gonna choose whether to deal with it or not. It’s funny, but I was just sharing this with another actor two nights ago. I believe that my frustration sometimes about my acting career is about not being able to get to the other side. I always believed that my fame, if you will, would allow me the opportunity, the access and the resources to put programs in place for young girls. Hopefully, to create a school in the vein of Montessori.

January / February 2018


VOICES Drew and Erin at the Heartland Film Festival

Drew and Erin at the Movieguide Awards

By Erin Bethea & Drew Waters


ost actors long for the day when they can finally make the big move to the City of Angels and pursue their dreams. It’s an exciting thought, and one that has been romanticized in movies, songs and television shows for a hundred years.

But one morning in Los Angeles, while sitting opposite one another and dreaming up the next steps in our careers, we both said aloud at the same time:


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“I’ve been thinking about Georgia.” There was little further discussion needed as we excitedly packed our bags and left the Pacific Ocean behind in favor of red Georgia clay. That was exactly one year ago. It’s no secret that Georgia’s film and television economy is booming. The opportunity to find one’s place in show business is alive and healthy in the Peach State. Together, we have nearly 100 acting credits, including regular runs on hit television shows and starring roles in a handful of box-office successes. Now, thanks to the freedom that running our own production company affords, we are lucky enough to choose where we want to live and work. Georgia checked off every last one of our boxes. Having been in the Southern market for a year now, we want to share some of the things we’ve learned over our combined 20 years in the

business. More importantly, however, we’d like to talk about how to make your mark on Georgia’s exploding entertainment market. We’ve both been there, both in front of the casting table and, more recently, behind it, as we continue work on our latest film. When it comes to giving actors advice, we don’t claim to have all the answers, but we can lend you a few tips that may help shape your career. Becoming a successful actor has absolutely no tried and true formula. In fact, possibly the most frustrating part of being an actor is that, to some extent, you have no say in how successful you will become. This means you’ll have to work extra hard at the things you do have control over. While every successful actor’s journey has been determined in part by factors that were completely out of his or her control, it’s important to remember:

Drew and Erin in The Redemption of Henry Myers

Luck is best defined as the place where preparedness and opportunity intersect. Preparedness is something that you can control. Keep your hardware up to date. Your hardware, in this case, refers the physical tools that are required for you to get work. As actors, we are professional

Our job is looking for a job. interviewers. Our job is looking for a job. This means you can’t let your job-search tools become outdated. Keep your resume up to speed. Does your headshot look like you look right now? Has your latest work been added to your reel? Are you visible on major casting sites? There is no excuse for not maintaining your hardware. After all, you are most likely holding a camera and video editor in the palm of your hand. Need new headshots but short on cash? Find a friend who has a good eye and shoot in portrait mode using your smartphone’s camera. Don’t have a reel? Find a buddy to read along with you, then tape yourself reading scenes. Get creative—you’re an actor for crying out loud. Keep your software up to date. If the hardware is the exterior tool, then the software is the interior tool. Keep your skills polished. Keep learning and stretching those acting muscles at all times. Sign up for classes and workshops. Good ones. Do some online research, ask reputable agents who they recommend. Whether they represent you or not, they’ll likely give you some good suggestions. Get together with some friends, write and shoot a short film. Keep yourself sharp and ready. Acting is like any other

skill: No matter how naturally gifted you are, if you don’t practice, inevitably you will lose precision. God forbid we aren’t at our sharpest when that moment of opportunity finally presents itself. Don’t let the comparison game bring you down. Just do your work. That’s the acting advice Matt Damon says changed his life forever. Stay focused on the kind of actor you are. This means that every decision you make should be informed by understanding who you are, not by comparing yourself to others. If you’re looking for an agent or manager, make IMDb Pro your best friend. See who each agent represents and what kind of work they are getting for their clients. If you’re a character actor, don’t fill your reel with scenes of you reading every-man leading roles. Find value in your uniqueness and exploit it. You are a commodity, and your job is not to worry yourself with what others are doing, but to sell you. Do your homework. It’s unlikely that you’ll become a famous painter if you’re unfamiliar with the works of Rembrandt or Picasso, so study up. Become familiar with the names, skills and works of others in your industry. This doesn’t mean just being a fan; it means immersing yourself in the business. Who casts and produces the shows you love? What was the creative vision of the director who made that movie you love? Knowing the ins and outs of this business will help you realize just how small of a business it actually is. The entertainment industry has a way of making those who are not in the top one percent of super-famous actors feel like outsiders, even if you are getting consistent work. Combat that feeling of “I don’t belong” by knowing precisely

Erin and Drew at the 70th Cannes Film Festival

how everything ticks. Know the players, become an insider, then you won’t feel left out in the cold. Get on a set. It doesn’t matter how. Carry coffee, be an extra, do accounting work, paint sets. Do whatever job needs to be done to be in and around people who are making things happen. There are literally hundreds of films and TV shows being filmed in Georgia this year. Why aren’t you working for one? The ultimate goal is to work as an actor, of course, but if you’re still working your way into those auditions, land a job in the business wherever you can. Knowing how a set works—the politics, the lingo, the hierarchy—can be invaluable once you start working more regularly. You claim to love this business? Then be a part of it however you can. Be a pleasure to work with. Even more important than talent, fame, or the number of social media followers you have, this is a business in which you get work based on who you know. Repeat: Be good to work with. Working on a set means long days and exhausting schedules, and people want folks around who make the time pass pleasantly. You’re not Mariah Carey, so don’t be a diva. Be agreeable, work hard, build relationships. A good reputation can take you further in this industry than you can imagine. One of the benefits of the Georgia market is that it is a smaller circle than you’ll find in Los Angeles. Importantly, it’s also a place where Southern hospitality is still alive and well. Go to industry events across Atlanta, meet people, make friends, say yes to things. As we mentioned before, the industry is smaller than you might think. See you on set.

January / February 2018








he first step to becoming an extra is to sign up with local extras casting agencies, which may entail a small fee. Most extras casting agencies will post extra opportunities on their website. Extras normally work around 12 hours each day, but it is not unheard of to work up to 18 hours. You will get paid minimum wage or a day rate. On your first day, check-in with the PA or in some cases a casting person. They could very well be the people who have a headset on with a clipboard yelling instructions to people. When you check-in,


Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

you will fill out a voucher. You will most likely be filling out a non-union voucher because you are not part of the unions representing talent, or at least not yet. You may be given instructions on what to wear for your first day. Wardrobe will make sure you are dressed in the appropriate clothes, or they will dress you with appropriate clothes. Do not do anything to damage your costume; any cleaning or repair cost could be deducted from your pay. Next, you will go into a waiting area until your group is called for your scene. When you are called on for your

scene, choose one constant action to do for the scene. Make sure you repeat it the same way until they change the scene. At the end of the day, make sure you are dismissed by the background PA. Bring your voucher to the person that checked you in, and they’ll sign you out and write down the time of your departure. They will make a copy of the voucher and keep one copy of it; the other copy goes to you. A good reputation can get you far in this business, and a bad one can ruin you. To get a good reputation, make sure you are always on time and very attentive when you are given instructions. You don’t stand out

by doing better than what is expected; you stand out when the other extras fail to do what’s expected. Always keep a low profile. Don’t get star-struck if you see a celebrity walking by or if a director addresses you directly. If that happens, you’re probably already in trouble. During the downtimes on set, have something to do. Some productions will allow you to bring your phone; others may not. A tablet would be a great way to pass time by playing a game or reading. A book is another option that allows you to keep quiet and to yourself. Snacks are provided, but it is a smart thing to bring your own snack if you have dietary needs. Extras eat last. Be sure to put all your devices on vibrate and stay quiet. Being an extra can be fun and exciting; definitely more so than a boring 9-to-5 job in an office. Although all that work and those long days can tire you out, the most important thing to remember is to have a smile on your face at all times. A positive attitude can really help you out. Maybe you’ll get selected for a more prominent role such as Woman Reading on Bench #2 rather than the girl standing in a crowd in the distance.


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OTHER OPTIONS • Auditions Free www.auditionsfree.com/tag/atlanta • Casting Call Hub www.castingcallhub.com/auditions/georgia • Cast in GA castingga.com/castingcall.html • Extras Casting Atlanta www.facebook.com/ExtrasCastingAtlanta • Lead Casting Call www.leadcastingcall.com/atlanta-castingcalls-and-auditions

• The Southern Casting Call www.thesoutherncastingcall.com/category/ casting-calls/georgia • Project Casting www.projectcasting.com/category/castingcalls-acting-auditions • Tammy Smith Casting www.facebook.com/tammysmithcasting • Catrett Locke Casting www.facebook.com/CatrettLockeCasting • New Life Casting www.facebook.com/NewLifeCasting • AJC buzz.blog.ajc.com • 800 Casting www.800casting.com (membership only)

• Love2act love2act.com/new/auditions-b328_0.html

• Backstage www.backstage.com/casting/open-castingcalls/atlanta-auditions (membership only)

• New Faces www.newfaces.com/casting-calls.php

• IMDB Pro pro-labs.imdb.com (membership only)

• New Life Casting newlifecasting.com

January / February 2018



Brandon Spink

MIDDLE-SCHOOL MASTERCLASS As Noah Kirsch on the Epix CIA drama, Berlin Station, Marietta native Brandon Spink gains invaluable insight from on-screen heavy hitters. By Neal Howard


hat constitutes the life of a typical 13-year-old boy? Summer baseball and Pizza Pockets, perhaps. Call of Duty binges and ill-timed bouts of acne. Posting excerpts from your sister’s diary on social media. No matter the anecdotal details, there is one trait that rings true almost universally among male adolescents: insecurity. Unless, of course, you have Brandon Spink’s A-list film resume and fast-emerging good looks. The young actor, born and raised in Marietta, has had quite the run since 2016, when he was cast in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. “To play the young Bruce Wayne was a dream come true,” Spink says of the 48

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

role. “The set was so cool—the Batmobile, the Batcave and, of course, meeting Ben Affleck.” More cool experiences on set would soon follow. That same year, Spink also landed the roles of Billy Snyder in Miracles from Heaven, and Peter in Mother’s Day. The latter was directed by comedy icon Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Happy Days), with whom Spink admittedly— understandably—wasn’t entirely familiar. “I’ve seen some of his movies,” Spink explains, “but I didn’t realize at the time that Garry was the director or producer. Then, when I booked the role and looked him up, I was so amazed at all the shows

and movies that he has been a part of. That was pretty awesome.” Spink was just 7 when he played Smee in a local theater production of Peter Pan, but he knew instantly that he’d caught the acting bug. Check the laundry list of megastars and journeymen with whom he’s worked already—Affleck, Aniston, Kinnear, Judd, et al—and it’s easy to deduce why his chops are developing at light speed. To hear him tell it, several veteran actors have devoted time in between takes to burnishing Spink’s skill set. Leland Orser (Ray Donovan, Taken), who currently plays his father on the Epix CIA drama, Berlin Station, is but the latest to lend a generous hand. “Leland has taught me a lot of things. He took me under his wing and gave me some great advice. He said, ‘Always listen when you’re acting.’ He also said that acting is reacting. So, basically, always listen and you can react off that. It works, and it helps to give you a better connection that makes your performance better.” Spink also credits his rapid development to the Marietta-based acting coach he sees prior to each audition, Ashley LeConte Campbell.


Photos by Camy Arnett Production Studios

(Left to right) Alex Ebanks, Robyn Watson, Lee Morin, BJ Arnett, Cheryl Jenkins, Kate McArdle, Lorielle Broussard, LaRonda Sutton, Leslie Hochsztein, Kristy Clabaugh, Stacy Galan-Shailendra, Shellie Schmals, Lisa Moore, Tammi Tanaka

November 11

Women in Film & Television Annual Gala


omen in Film & Television Atlanta (WIFTA) hosted their 2017 Annual Gala on Nov. 11, 2017 at Havana Club in Buckhead. The "Monte Carlo Casino" themed night included an awards ceremony honoring top women in film and television for their contributions to building a strong, diverse film industry in the state of Georgia.

Zoe Renee

Honorees included Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose, who took home the Creative Excellence Award; Donna Sloan, president of physical production at Lionsgate, who received Outstanding Contribution; Lynne Riley, Georgia Department of Revenue's state revenue commissioner, honored with the Georgian

Mario Van Peebles

Erica Michelle

Award; UPM/Producer, Katie Willard Troebs, who received the Watch Award. The annual event honors entertainment professionals whose talent and services have made a significant impact on the industry and celebrate the women in film and television of Atlanta.

Anika Noni Rose

Jazz Raycole

Lynette T. Riley, Donna Sloan, Anika Noni Rose & Katie Willard Troebs

WIFTA scholarship winner, Linda Sayseng & presenter Michelle Huckaby

Larry Rhem & Emily Lane

January / February 2018



Photos by Dylan York & JWR Photography

(Left to right) Aris Golemi, Dallas Austin, Juan Farmer, Kayla Jackson & Megan Gobble

December 14

Xcel Holiday Party


cel Talent held its holiday party at Tongue & Groove Dec. 14. The 900-plus attendees included dancers, choreographers, actors, influencers, models, casting directors, film and TV producers, stylists, managers and agents. Music mogul Dallas Austin and actor Jeremy Renner made appearances, as well.

To top things off, the night was filled with a slate of surprise live performances. Six-time Grammy Award nominee, Ashanti Floyd, took the stage, as well as YouTube dancing sensation Marquese Scott and dubstep dance trio, DragonHouse.


Diego Serna

Melissa Coffey & Diego Serna 50

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.

OZ SCENE (Left to right) Skyler Joy, Laurence McNally, Aspen Kennedy, Amy Sutherland, Marvin Laviolette & Barkley Harper

Boris Penton

Janelle Issis

Neal Reddy & Holly Whire

Marquese Scott

The Mad Violinist

DragonHouse Brandi Gibson

January / February 2018


OZ SCENE Scott Thigpen, Debra Crittenden, Baby Norman & Spencer Mumford

Bailey Coffer & Jessica Fox-Thigpen

October 26

Fox Casting Mix & Mingle


losing out 2017 on a high note, Fox Casting held its second annual Mix & Mingle at the 57th Fighter Group Restaurant. The event was held exclusively for actors and their representatives, as well as producers and directors who worked directly with Fox Casting. The capacity crowd grooved to decades of hits on the dance floor while catching up with old cast

mates and colleagues, and many took the opportunity to network with new ones. “It was another great turnout,” says Jessica Fox-Thigpen, casting director and owner of Fox Casting. “It’s such a fun way for our company to show appreciation to our clients and to give back to our partners in the acting community.”

In just a few short years, Fox has become one of the South’s most prodigious firms, casting more than 1,100 principal roles and providing many actors with their biggest parts to date. Ms. Fox and her team, including Susan G. Reid, Bailey Coffer and Mitchell Moran, added that they are already looking forward to making 2018’s Mix & Mingle even bigger and better.

Patrick & Beth Fleming

Mitchell Moran & Brittany Horn

Jessica Craig, Bethany Singleton and Kellen Boyle

Haley Krey & Ashley Sperrazza Jack Vincenty & Maxel Garcia 52

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Elise Duquette, Grace Elizabeth & Scott Rosenfeld

OZ SCENE Glenn Turner, Susan G Reid & Beth Becka

Cara Reid & Jason Lockhart

Mindy Hylton & Clark Sarullo

Jacqueline Goldston & Abigail Williams

Gabrielle Ortiz, Jacob Lawson & Gabi Hernandez

Kelly Johns & Adam Johnson

Samantha Worthen, Mimi Gould & Alex White

Rob Hays, Tony & Teresa Kramer Kurt Yue & Laura Pulido

Jean Alexander & Debra Crittenden

Cassi Maddox, Raquel Dominguez & Tristan Andrews Jana Van Dyke, Trudi Baudo & Sondra Darlington

January / February 2018



Photos by Hannah Pniewski & Doug Mills

(Left to right) Trey Butler, Matthew Carrier, Rachel Johnson, Clayton Landey, Jason Lockhart, Cara Reid, Anthony Nguyen, Lindsay Lamb, David Shae & Mason Thurman

December 14

Georgia Production Partnership Holiday Industry Party David Lyman & Mickie Pollock


eorgia Production Partnership hosted its Holiday Industry Party Dec. 14. GPP’s Susan Moss said the event was meant to “celebrate all the impressive success that was generated in the state’s entertainment industry in 2017.” With the support of sponsor NABShow, approximately 300 industry professionals gathered at Manuel’s Tavern to mingle, jingle, and spread some holiday cheer.

Michelle Rivera & Ray Benitez

Sharon McCabe, Tim McCabe & Noel Reitz

John Paul Marston & Becca Barnes HIP guest enjoy GPP's return to Manuel's Tavern

Adam Laborde & Cathy Reinking Audrey Thomas & Mike Pniewski Lisa Ferrell, Clark Cofer & Diane Butler 54

Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.


Photos by Stephonia Taylor McLinn

Writer's Guild of America East Panelists: Crystal Garrett, Geoff Betts, Sonhara Eastman, Brian Egeston, Lamont Farrell

Mingling outside of Cinema Park Studios

December 2-3

Cinema Park Studios Launch Party


ver 1,000 film industry professionals attended the Georgia Entertainment Summit and Studio Launch presented by Cinema Park Studios, Dec. 2-3. Cinema Park is Georgia’s first studio and incubator dedicated exclusively to creating original content. Attendees enjoyed panels led by the Atlanta Mayor’s Office, Invest Atlanta,

the Writer’s Guild of America, and a handful of Academy Award winners. Serving as a one-stop shop for film and media production in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Cinema Park facility boasts over 20,000 square feet and offers programming in acting, writing, producing and directing led by award-winning leaders in the film

industry. Cinema Park Studios will also launch the first investor training program in the state of Georgia focused on the entertainment industry. The Producer’s Certification Program for Accredited Investors is set to begin in January.

(Left to right) Harry Vasavada, Megan Stewart, studio founder Taylor Owenby, Robert Burke & Abhi Goel

Barbara Divisek & Ray Bengston

CPS Advisory Council Members Marty & Roberta Shindler

(Left to right) Richard & Valerie Gerber, Jordan Lynch, Kelli Hardy & Linda Frazier

Harry Vasavada, Robert Burke & Abhi Goel approaching the stage Ray Bengston & Megan Stewart

CPS actress Mai Lynn Yim January / February 2018



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January / February 2018



Risk Management of Atlanta Security & Investigations

RMA has been providing security for the Television and Film industry since 1997. 24/7 monitoring and protection of the location, equipment, and cast/crew. Our guards are trained to handle crowds on location and react to any suspicious activity.

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Oz Magazine - film. tv. entertainment.



January / February 2018