By Karen Jacobs, PMP

PMI Atlanta Chapter brought its Entertainment Forum back into the limelight on March 28. Craig Dominey, manager for Camera Ready Georgia in the state Film Office, and location specialist Ben McIver took the virtual stage to discuss the meteoric rise of Georgia's film industry. They painted a vivid picture of Georgia's journey from a humble backdrop for films to a thriving hub for cinematic productions.

Dominey reminisced about the roots of the state's film industry. "We owe our existence to the movie 'Deliverance' with Burt Reynolds," he declared. The film, shot in Rabun County in northern Georgia, sparked the 1973 formation of a state Fim, Video, and Music Office by former President Jimmy Carter, who was then Georgia’s governor. Since then, the state has blossomed into one of the top three US production markets alongside LA and New York, distinguished by its diverse range of landscapes and state-of-the-art infrastructure.

The industry’s investment has been bolstered by the state’s tax incentive program, which grants income tax credits for up to 30% of the cost of TV or film production.

The city of Senoia has been a key beneficiary, crediting its growth to “The Walking Dead” that was filmed there. As a result, many local businesses have opened, and the city is a popular tourist spot. “It’s kind of a poster child for the impact film and tourism can have on a community,” Dominey said. The city of Covington, site of the shows “The Vampire Diaries” and “In the Heat of the Night,” has also gained fame and fortune from the film industry.

Ben McIver, senior location manager with Entertainment Partners in Atlanta, said Georgia’s stage space for shows is now comparable to that of Southern California, and the state has drawn film crews to relocate from other film hub cities. “That tax incentive dollar multiplies in ways that people don’t really think about,” he said.  He also said the growth of Atlanta’s airport played a role in the entertainment industry’s success in the state as well.

McIver acknowledged the benefits of project management expertise in his job, particularly in communication, organization, and stakeholder management. However, he cited challenges of fitting formal project management structure into the fast-paced world of film production. Agile practices, retrospectives, and daily standup meetings are other project management activities McIver said he finds helpful in his job.

See a list of upcoming events on the PMI Atlanta Chapter website.