Or more precisely, why act in Atlanta?
If you are a new actor, Atlanta could be one of the best places to start your acting career.
The reason so many film and TV productions are shooting here is because of the “Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act” (aka The Georgia Film and TV tax credit) which allows production companies to get back up to 30% of their production budget, quickly and with minimal red tape. This attracts plenty of big budget Hollywood film and TV productions to shoot in Atlanta. Basically, with this tax break, it becomes cheaper to film a movie or show in Atlanta than in Los Angeles. These productions then hire actors from the local Atlanta talent pool to play recurring and supporting roles and as extras.
But you might say, “How is this any different from Louisiana? Or North Carolina? Or any of the other states offering similar incentives?” Atlanta and the whole state of Georgia really have many other advantages that position them especially well to be the “Hollywood of the South” for the long term:
- Favorable business climate: Remember, film and TV are show business. And Georgia consistently ranks as one of the top states in the country for its business climate. Source: http://www.areadevelopment.com/Top-States-for-Doing-Business/Q3-2014/survey-results-top-states-analysis-2624441.shtml
For example, Site Selection magazine rated Georgia number 1 in the country. Atlanta has the 3rd highest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the US. And most recently in June 2014, CNBC named Georgia the number 1 place for business in the nation. So long as Georgia remains a great state to do show business in, there’s no reason for the studios and the film community to leave.
- Studio presence: Home to Turner Studios, Tyler Perry Studios, EUE/Screen Gem Studios, and Pinewood Studios and more. Coming soon is the “”the largest film and television media complex outside of California” by Jacoby Development which will be a 107 acre mixed use campus with 464,800 sq. feet of studio space, 310-room hotel and 1000 multi-family units. (Source: http://thejacobygroup.com/movie-studios). Also coming up is the massive Third Rail Studios at the site of a former GM plant (Source: http://thirdrailfilm.com).
- Amount of work available: Did we mention all the work that’s available here? 29 TV shows and feature films in 2014 as of May 2014 (Source: http://www.projectcasting.com/casting-calls-acting-auditions/29-movies-and-tv-shows-now-filming-in-georgia/)
- LA-level training: Well-known LA teachers like Ted Brunetti, Crystal Carson, Margie Haber and Sam Christensen all include Atlanta in the list of cities they travel to teach to.
- No SAG required: Georgia is a right-to-work state. This means you don’t have to be a union member to book SAG work. Which means it’s a great place to kickstart your career.
- Moderate climate: It snows here maybe 2-3 days a year tops. Atlanta almost never suffers from hurricanes or tornadoes, and is one of the greenest large cities in the US. In fact, when you fly into Atlanta you will be amazed at the lush canopy of green you see stretching to the horizon in every direction. This also makes Georgia more attractive than say the Midwest or Northeastern states which face severe snowstorms during the winter months.
- ATL: The busiest airport in the whole wide world with direct flights to over 200 cities everyday. It’s a monster airport that still operates very efficiently (rated the most efficient in the world in 2011 for example) and almost never shuts down due to weather (I’m looking at you Chicago) or strikes (Paris CDG, looking at you). Great connections to the rest of the world, metro train station right inside the airport terminal, and recently renovated world class facilities and dining. And 10 non-stop flights to LAX and 40 non-stop to NY airports, every day.
- Great lifestyle for the price: Of all the big cities in the US, Atlanta has one of the most affordable real estate markets and overall cost of living. Combined with the variety of landscape within driving distance (Savannah Beach and Smoky Mountains in 4 hours, awesome trails and Stone Mountain within city limits), amazing food choices (you name the cuisine, we probably have it) and neighborhoods to suit your style, it’s probably the best bang-for-buck large city in the US today. Here’s a pretty cool Huffington Post article about how Atlanta is the “Big American city you’ve been missing out on”.
- Close enough to the other Southeast states such as North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana so you can expect to book work in those states as well as a local hire (416 miles to Wilmington, NC and 469 miles to New Orleans – both within 500 miles).