Oz Magazine June/July 2013

Page 19

By Allen Rabinowitz Atlanta has long been infamous for its epic traffic problems. In recent years, however, there’s been some star power causing those irksome jams. Thanks to generous tax rebates for film and television productions shot in Georgia, we can expect to see even more delays as production companies and their trucks block off streets to capture the area’s more scenic places on camera. Very few Georgians, however, can find fault with the additional revenue the increased production schedule is bringing into the state, especially those whose income is impacted by the fastgrowing industry. Says Lauren Holley president/graphic director of the design firm GraphikNation, who lives in the Old Fourth Ward area in midtown: “I can hardly go out my door or drive around town without seeing a film production in progress.” With two decades of experience in ad agencies, interactive and web design, Holley decided in the past few years to branch out and explore the film business because of the large amount of film work in town. She’s worked in the art department for a few pictures, primarily assisting the art director and helping with props and continuity. Says Holley, “I have always wanted to be involved with film production. My dad has a background in film, and I was interested in movies. My skill range is varied so I can be involved in the

overall art direction of something. The challenge for me is the long days and the waiting around. In my home-based graphics business I can be efficient with my time, but on a movie set the whole world stops and you have to wait.” While the downtown connector is not quite the Hollywood Freeway in terms of stars per mile, it’s not uncommon to see limos containing such celebrities as Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crystal, Robert De Niro, Cameron Diaz, Clint Eastwood or Bette Midler stuck in traffic there with the common folk. The various companies providing essential products and services to the film industry have also prospered. Says Rebekkah Watson of Midtown’s Watson Gallery, whose stable of regional artists have had their work displayed in such films as Last Vegas and Prisoners and the VH-1 series Single Ladies: “We’ve been here for eight years, and every year it seems to be busier and busier. It’s really made a difference in our business. We deal with residential and interior design firms all the time, but the movie industry has been a big boom for us.” Like Holley and Watson, other purveyors of printing, signage and graphic arts services also report that the film and television business has been instrumental in helping their businesses grow. Bob Bush, president of Digital Printing Solutions, says that capturing film work seemed like a natural fit for his company, which specializes in wide-format color graphics for a variety of uses.

“We saw that a lot more films were being shot in Georgia,” Bush explains, “and an opportunity to move into that market to grow our business. They have a need for large format color images and other signage on the set to the in-house equipment we can provide. These are areas where we have many years of experience and expertise, and we wanted to take advantage of that in partnership with the film production industry.” Adds Peter Leafman, co-owner of Digital Arts Studio, who has provided digital printing and custom framing services to such recent noteworthy projects as Flight (for which Denzel Washington received an Oscar nod) and the family comedy Parental Guidance: “There’s a lot of business to go around and we want to get as much as possible.” Increasing his company’s share of the business, according to Leafman, depends on providing the needed products or services in a timely manner. Film clients prefer quick turnaround and reliability to bargains. “The movie and TV production people want a specific product at a specific time,” Leafman explains. “We have to follow-through with their needs – we could have the best product at the best price, but if we can’t get it done, that doesn’t mean anything. Service is really what they’re shopping for. If we get it done for them, they’ll keep coming back to us.” “They never ask for a discount,” Leafman continues. “They always pay ozmagazine.com | 19

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