Getting Into the Georgia Entertainment Business
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Oz celebrates the dedicated and accomplished individuals and businesses of Georgia and their extraordinary creativity. With engaging content, we delve into the creative processes involved in producing all media, and take a look at the trends that are shaping our lives; all while highlighting the people who are spearheading their development.
Perhaps no piece of legislation passed by the Georgia legislature has been more popular than
the Entertainment Industry Investment Act, better known as the “tax incentive” to those people impacted by it. Because of the state’s actions, the film and television production industry has rebounded from its moribund status prior to its enactment to boosting the Peach State to the rank of third biggest in the nation, trailing only California and New York.
The vendors who service the industry are among those who praise the law. From costume rentals, to signage providers to paramedics, they all almost universally declare its benefits. Says Scott Bellomy, general manager of Costumes, Etc. . . . Inc.: “It’s helped us grow our business by giving the movie and TV production companies a reason to come to Georgia and in turn, they sought out places that could fill their needs.”
“The [film and production] industry in Georgia has really grown since the introduction of the tax incentive,” says Donna Foland of DGF properties, who handles rental properties. “The tax incentive has done a lot to bring the industry into Georgia. It’s helped us in leasing out space in the short term, and helping some of the vendors to find space.”
“The movie industry in Georgia died for a while due to lack of incentives, “explains Bruce Cusmano, owner of Metropolitan Artifacts, Architectural Antiques which since 1980 has rented or sold large scale architectural antiques to people building large homes and restaurants as well as renting props to the movie industry. “We rent anything that is unusual. I don’t sell tables and chairs, just architectural pieces: iron balconies, 12-foot entry doors, chandeliers, stone fireplaces and items of historical significance. “
Having weathered a downturn in production business because of competition from other states
for the production dollar, Cusmano is happy to declare that the incentive has revived the industry. “The movie business in Georgia is back,” he states. “The incentive has been wonderful for everyone from restaurant to hotels to antique dealers to the trucking industry. We deal with almost all of the productions that come to Atlanta. People even ship these items to California or Florida or New York then bring it back to us.”
Film, television and digital entertainment tax credits of up to 30 percent create significant cost savings for companies producing feature films, television series, music videos and commercials, as well as interactive games and animation. Obtaining the incentive is simple:
Qualifying productions companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-
While the general public sees only the finished product of these efforts on the television or movie screen, the film and TV production industry is one that relies on an army of behind-the-scenes people who account for the bulk of personnel required to make the idea a reality. Many of these folks are Georgia residents who in turn are spreading the production dollars through all segments of the community.
As the Irving Berlin anthem proclaims, “There’s no business like Show Business.” From an outsider’s point of view, the business is all glamour and glitz, beautiful women in sparkling gowns and handsome men in tuxedoes on the red carpet at awards shows. To the public, show business is what they see on the big screen or on their televisions—a romantic getaway from an everyday job.
To those who help create the spectacle, “The Biz” is an entirely different undertaking. To begin with, it’s a very competitive industry where every position has a ton of qualified applicants not to mention an untold number of wannabes. The hours are long and the work is hard. A number of other obstacles –ranging from the weather to a balky script to a temperamental diva –can get in the way of a project coming to a successful and hassle-free conclusion.
Now that Georgia is ranked among the top production centers in the country, there’s been a pilgrimage of both extremely skilled crew people and raw recruits to the Peach State, all eager to enjoy the fruits of this constantly expanding situation. We’ve asked a number of folks involved in “The Biz” a series of questions to get their impression of the reality of show business. From the high (and low) lights of their careers to breaking into The Biz to their quibbles about life on a set to their favorite treats at the craft service truck, we’ve assembled an inside look at the daily life in an occupation that others can only dream about.
One more glimpse at the fantasy before our plunge into real life: There’s an old cartoon showing circus elephants on parade followed by a man in a uniform pushing a wheelbarrow and holding a broom and shovel. The man turns to face the audience and proclaims: “Hey, at least I’m in show business.”
There’s an African proverb that states that it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of an actor’s career, it takes an army of well-trained, disciplined professionals.
If an award-winning actor thanked all the people involved in getting him or her to the awards podium, the acceptance speeches would last until dawn.
The leaders of this campaign—the Generals, if you will—are the actor’s talent agents. Although important contributions are made by such people as headshot photographers, acting teachers and coaches, managers, entertainment attorneys, publicists, business managers, accountants and other professionals, without the guidance of the agent, that actor might not have had the opportunity to give the lauded performance.
“You have to have an agent to get the better jobs,” declares Linda Rutledge of the BNB Talent Group. “Most of the castings come through agencies. You can get extra work or do independents on your own, but if you want to get on a film or get on the big commercials, you need an agency for that.”
Mystie Buice of Houghton Talent says that the aspiring actor needs only a few things to grab an agent’s attention: “We recommend that they start with a simple headshot from an industry photographer and some general classes. It’s pretty basic.”
Follow the sign! The SourceBook provides an opportunity for individuals and business owners to market themselves to the film, TV, and entertainment industry in Georgia through the printed and digital SourceBook and our searchable website.
FREELANCERS - Required to have at least one paid professional credit/project. You must be a Georgia resident.
VENDORS - Your company or business must be registered in the State of Georgia. All submissions will be verified with the Secretary of State.