The DeKalb Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission, Part 1


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:

  1. Attract and support new opportunities;
  2. Promote the ones we have; and
  3. 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.

She Leveled Again

Right at her 18-month birthday we gave up on tracking all the new words she was adding to her vocabulary (which meant they were used correctly, were reproducible, and only used incorrectly in the most adorable ways). Before that she had been evidencing 2-5 new words a day. Now it is 5-10, and I just gave up on writing them all down.

However, one new word warms my heart. She got up on my lap while I was in front of my computer. She immediately began pressing keys, moving the mouse, and repeating the word, “Work!” Now she says that whenever she wants me to open the door into my office 🙂

Oh, and yesterday she walked all the way up our stairs by herself for the first time, holding onto the railing the whole way. Talk about leveling 😉 #proudrpgdad

One DeKalb

On Monday, I was appointed to DeKalb County’s inaugural Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission. One of the bright spots Tuesday for DeKalb County was the election of Michael Thurmond as CEO – our first elected CEO in 3.5 years. Interim CEO Lee May has made it clear that he is happy to pass on the gavel, and I had the pleasure of meeting with CEO-elect Thurmond today and hearing him speak on One DeKalb. One of the best things about DeKalb County has always been the fact that because the county is so diverse, if you want something to be successful – an event, business, organization, etc. – you have to involve everyone, no matter their political leaning, race, gender, orientation, etc.

I find that not only does this inclusiveness mean you have a much wider reach, all these disparate points of view give you a much better product. One of the pleasures of my tenure on the board of Decide DeKalb has been seeing new employers attracted to South DeKalb. One of the most exciting has been Valhalla Studios, one of the largest movie studios in the state (and on the East Coast), located off Bouldercrest Road and 285. Part of the excitement is knowing how many of my friends will be going to the movies they will start filming there in January, but the other is seeing that area thrive even more.

Michael Thurmond

Michael Thurmond

A Mini Ding

A number of MMOs  provide minor advances between the main level increments, referred to as “mini dings.” It is fascinating to see mini dings in real life, as RPGBaby makes sudden advances in unexpected ways.

She has a number of shape puzzles, where she has to figure out which blocks go in what spaces and how to manipulate them to fit. This has been a struggle for her, with us having to help her as recently as two days ago.

Then, yesterday, I put one on the floor for her and walked away for a couple minutes. When I returned, all the pieces (except one) were in their proper places. She asked for another puzzle, and I pointed to the last piece. She immediately put it in place. I put away the first puzzle, gave her the second one, and spread out the pieces. This one was more difficult, with a number of oddly cut pieces, and she set to work on it.

For the first time, she had no trouble figuring out where all the pieces went. She had more trouble manipulating them, but, also for the first time, put all the pieces in place by herself. I could almost hear the mini ding chime.

Another skill upgrade:

Sage rocks the head scarf as she learns bean bag toss at Refuge Coffee

Sage rocks the head scarf as she learns bean bag toss at Refuge Coffee

Honored to be Named Digital Media Game Changer by TAG


 Andrew Greenberg Among Hub Magazine’s 2016 Media Technology Game Changers

Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) publication releases latest issue focused on Digital Media & Entertainment Technology.

 ATLANTA, GA — September 28, 2016— The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), one of the nation’s largest state trade organizations dedicated to technology and innovation, recently recognized Andrew Greenberg, director of the SIEGE game development conference, as a Game Changer in Media and Entertainment Technology in the latest issue of Hub Magazine.  

The Peach State dominates in the Media and Entertainment tech industry. TV networks, film studios, digital gaming and more created $6 billion in economic impact in Georgia in 2015 and the state is the 3rd most profitable in the nation when it comes to entertainment, behind California and New York, respectively.

The Media and Entertainment Tech Game Changers list identifies the innovators who are leading in this vital industry of the Peach State.

View the digital version of the magazine at or here:

About Hub Magazine

Hub Magazine features timely news, ideas, people and trends that are at the intersection of Georgia’s Emerging technology community. Published bimonthly, HUB Magazine is a publication of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and reaches more than 30,000 technologists via print and digital distribution.  Learn more at:

About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)

TAG is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 30,000 members through regional chapters in Metro Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon/Middle Georgia, and Savannah. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy.

The association provides networking and educational programs; celebrates Georgia’s technology leaders and companies; and advocates for legislative action that enhances the state’s economic climate for technology.  TAG hosts over 200 events each year and serves as an umbrella organization for 34 professional societies. Additionally, the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG’s charitable arm) focuses on helping science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives thrive.

For more information visit the TAG website at or TAG’s community website at . To learn about the TAG-Ed Collaborative visit


Technology Association of Georgia

Tony Cooper

[email protected]

(404) 920-2008