Screen Gems Deal Should Only Be the Beginning: Post-Production in Georgia

Earlier this week the announcement that the City of Atlanta was close to signing a deal with Screen Gems to convert a long dormant portion of Lakewood Fairgrounds into a studio, spread like viral wildfire on Facebook and Twitter. After a year and a half of explosive growth in Georgia's film industry, it was not only a sign of the industry's current strength, it's a sign that entities are taking Georgia as a film hub serious enough to invest in having a permanent presence. While we should be celebrating the amount of revenue, jobs and projects this can generate for Georgia and the city, we shouldn't keep our eyes off the twin points that Atlanta still has a lot of warehouse and office vacancies that need to be filled and could be re-purposed for film production. But, we also must continue to find ways to encourage companies to also think of Atlanta and Georgia as a post-production hub for their projects as well. Here's a few reasons more indigenous post-production work is key:

  1. More post-production creates more jobs. That's an easy one, but, I figured I'll get that on record.
  2. Productions have known for a long while that starting portions of post-production while shooting not only saves money, it allows producers to artistically and financially course correct before a project goes off the rails. One of the next battles among states will be, and is, to attract those productions that will want to be as self contained as possible.
  3. More post-production allows smaller projects to thrive. Travel the festival circuit, talk to filmmakers, and you'll learn how many films exist only because filmmakers were able to work with companies and individuals that, living off larger projects by day, were able to offer discounts or in-kind services by night. Picking up a camera and shooting is one of the easier components of production. Post for many, eats up not only a lot money, but a lot of logistical time as filmmakers in many areas of the country realize that either they don't have the facilities to complete portions of their film, or the backlog of work pushes when they can complete their films back. Atlanta is already luckier than most cities in this regard. But, more post-production facilities would allow more personal and smaller projects to be produced here.
  4. Post-Production can be an innovation driver. From sfx to sound design to editing, post is where hundreds of thousands of new tech ideas are developed. Encouraging post-production here in Georgia can be a way to tap into the brain power that comes out of GA Tech, UGA, SCAD, Emory and GSU and to drive a tech revolution across the state.
  5. Robust post-production attracts other industries. The overlap with gaming (online, mobile, home), telecommunications and computing in general, is ubiquitous. The tech that allows gamers to play and talk with dozens of others simultaneously, is the same tech that allows companies to conduct virtual presentations in real time to hundreds around world. Build it and others WILL come. Along with number 4, this is a sector states have been competing for, for a long time.
  6. More post-production taps into Georgia's already robust music industry.
  7. Post-production facilities can help eat up some of that empty office space.
  8. Lastly, Atlanta's status as one of the most wired cities in the nation, with the busiest airport, and central location in the South, makes it a natural hub to pull in post-production work from surrounding states and even across the country.