Written by Melisha “Mel” Childs, Senior Blog Contributor
Just the other day, I read a statistic that Georgia’s film industry has “grown from a $250 million-a-year industry in 2007 to more than $5 billion in 2014.” This is something that is not to be taken lightly. Investment potential is high and there are many who are coming here to take advantage of the newfound Georgia “gold.” One such company that has seen Georgia’s film opportunity is EUE/Screen Gems Atlanta. For this blog, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with Sharon Cooney Shuttleworth, Co-Owner and Director of Marketing for EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington NC and Atlanta. This, for me, represents a colossal opportunity because due the confidential nature of film in general, it is very rare to get a glimpse into this world. Therefore, I am glad to share this information with our readers.
MC: Sharon, thank you so much for taking time to share with Reel Focus readers more about EUE/Screen Gems Atlanta. Tell us more about what a production company does, particularly when productions are NOT taking place on your grounds.
SS: First, EUE/Screen Gems Studios is so pleased to be part of the film industry in Atlanta. We renovated the Lakewood Fairgrounds property and opened the first studio complex in Atlanta in 2010. It’s hard to believe that was almost five years ago!
EUE/Screen Gems Studios provides infrastructure and support for production companies producing feature films, television series and commercials. When you “host” a production, you provide the power, the electricity, the security, the buildings, trailers, wardrobe space, wood shop, paint and mill space, offices, the digital network and the systems that allow a creative team to come in and make movie or television magic.
In Atlanta, we also provide the lighting and grip for the productions that shoot with us. We offer our clients access to an extensive network of contacts, and in Atlanta, we also house the offices for a payroll company.
The to-do list at the studios can range from making sure the garbage cans emptied to ramping up security for talent that is constantly in the international press.
Having a strong studio infrastructure allows large productions to shoot as if they were on the lot in Hollywood. With the strong Georgia Film Incentives, the production studios can work here at a competitive price and stimulate the economy with the jobs and spending they bring to the area.
We’re constantly marketing the studios to executives in Los Angeles, looking to book the next feature film, television series or pilot so the next production will be ready to come in as the present production wraps. Our marketing efforts include visits to Los Angeles to meet face-to-face with executives, hosting decision makers on the lot, email campaigns, media outreach to the West Coast trade press, and collaboration with the Georgia Film and Television Production Office.
We also spend significant time educating lawmakers so they understand the economic impact of the industry and the role of studios in attracting productions to Georgia. We’re very grateful for our colleagues in the legislature who support our Georgia Film Incentives and see the jobs and small business opportunities that the productions bring to us.
MC: What is EUE/Screen Gems Atlanta most notable for in the entertainment world? What are some of the most popular productions your company has hosted?
SS: We’re proud to say that the top-grossing domestic film of 2014, “Hunger Games: Mockingjay” was shot here in Atlanta with us. During its tenure here, we weren’t allowed to discuss it with anyone to ensure the security of the cast. Other film productions have included “Insurgent,” “Flight” and “The Watch.” Television is a significant part of our business. In 2010, BET Networks was one of our first clients, and we hosted productions such as “Read Between the Lines,” “Sunday Best,” and “The Game.” Other series have included “Resurrection,” “Red Band Society,” “Satisfaction,” “Necessary Roughness,” and the first season of “Devious Maids.”
MC: In general, what does a production company gain from hosting film crews at their sites besides a mention in the credits?
SS: Just like a hotel is paid for allowing you to spend the night, our company is paid for providing the column-free shooting space, electricity, and extensive support needed to shoot a feature film or television series. We’ve been in the business for 50 years, now, so continuing to build on our reputation for outstanding client service, security and confidentiality is also important to us.
MC: What is EUE/Screen Gems Atlanta working on now?
SS: We’re usually talking to four or five productions at any one given time. Confidentiality is a big deal in this business, as I said before; so, I can’t tell you who we’re talking with, now [specifically], but I can say that Georgia is continuing to attract outstanding productions and talent!
Photos courtesy of EUE/Screen Gems Atlanta.
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