THIS POST IS MY PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT THAT OF ANY ORGANIZATION TO WHICH I BELONG.
As many of you know, last week I was elected chairperson of the new DeKalb Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission. Much of Georgia’s recent success with these businesses has come courtesy of vigorous effort at the state level.
Between the entertainment tax credits, trade associations, the Georgia Film Academy and very focused efforts by the state Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, state leadership has been key to this effort. Most locales are lucky to have one government employee whose duties include recruiting entertainment businesses. In fact, I am aware of only two cities – Atlanta and Savannah – with full film offices, and now DeKalb appears to be the first county with one.
While the state’s efforts has seen stellar success, there is only so much it can do. I am amazed that so many cities and counties are willing to leave so many opportunities unfulfilled (and so much money on the table).
DeKalb has long been a home for highly talented entertainers of all stripes. More than 600 members of the IATSE union (the folks who actually make movies) live here, as do numerous actors, directors, writers, etc. Prominent musicians like Future, Amy Ray, and Keri Hilson lived here. Even Michael Stipe was born here. For a while, DeKalb County was the state’s game design powerhouse, with Holistic Design, Heuristic Park, Quintessential Mercy Studios and White Wolf all located here, among others.
Many people are amazed to learn this, and I am amazed that they are amazed. People have asked me what I think this new commission can accomplish, and my responses boil down to:
- Attract and support new opportunities;
- Promote the ones we have; and
- Help make our talent even better.
This means marketing, partnerships, talent development and much more. Over the next few months I hope to explore these in greater depth, but I look forward to your comments on what the commission should do.