Developed, launched, and direct a first-of-its-kind film production school and public arts conservatory,
partnered with a rapidly growing consortium of SACSCOC accredited R1, comprehensive, state universities,
and technical colleges, generating over 40,000 credit hours of instruction and contributing to a 60% increase
($3.5 billion) in economic activity in the state’s filmed entertainment sector since classes began in January
2016. Widely recognized by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), labor unions, and numerous
competing states and countries as “the gold standard” in film and television production workforce training.
Selected achievements of GFA include:
- Developed and opened several strategic teaching sites across the state, serving students from all partner
institutions, including the flagship Georgia Film Academy at Pinewood Atlanta Studios campus, featuring a
16,000 square foot purpose-built soundstage (the largest educational soundstage in North America),
20,000 square feet of offices, classrooms with state-of-the-art technology, specialty workshops, worldclass
post production infrastructure, and a fleet of twenty-two professionally-outfitted grip, electric, and
camera trucks and production vehicles.
- Negotiated and implemented a groundbreaking contract between the State of Georgia (through the Board
of Regents) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE Local 479), which allows
students to apprentice on Georgia’s primarily union-covered sets. Over 900 students have been placed on
over 80 major film and television productions, and hundreds have joined the union and are employed. Also
worked closely with senior leadership at the major Hollywood studios, networks, and production
companies which sign the collective bargaining agreements, including The Walt Disney Company (which
produces its tentpole Marvel movies in state), to assure widespread industry adoption of the program.
- Envisioned, evangelized, and led the implementation of the public-private Columbus Film Fund Incentive
Program, featuring an innovative $5 million capital fund providing recoupable grants to incentivize
productions to shoot in the Columbus, Georgia region, access to 80,000 square feet of soundstages, and
reduced shooting fees and housing costs. Led negotiations between private sector philanthropists, higher
education, labor unions, and Hollywood law firms and talent agencies. In exchange for grant funding and
incentives, productions agree to hire and train students in accordance with the GFA-IATSE contract.
- Created a partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) to expand the GFA program into
secondary schools and build out a statewide education-workforce pipeline. The GFA developed the
curriculum and provides training of high school teachers across the state for both the core production
courses as well as a new Writing for Stage and Screen course, approved by the DOE board, the USG, and
TCSG to meet one of the state’s mandatory English Language Arts requirements, making Georgia the first
state in the country to allow all public high school students to study screenwriting and content
development as a standard college-ready course.
- The GFA developed and launched a unique public-private partnership with Avid Technology, the world’s
largest provider of digital non-linear editing systems, postproduction management, and distribution services,
to teach and certify students for needed jobs in editing and digital media, as well as to provide instruction to
corporate and enterprise clients. Installed a multi-million dollar system serving as the Southeast’s Avid
training center, with state-of-the-art classrooms, editing bays, a professional screening/mixing room,
and a mainframe “hive” designed to distribute postproduction and digital media
courses on broadband to universities, high schools, and instructional sites around the state,
particularly in rural regions.
- Developed and created a new professional MFA degree program in Film, Television, and Digital Arts,
in partnership with the University of Georgia (the state’s R1 flagship institution) and Pinewood Studios
(the world’s largest soundstage company) to train graduate students who will spend a year in residence living
and working next to the studio. Envisioned and evangelized the program, and led fundraising to secure a
significant gift to launch the program.
- Partnered with Invest Atlanta (city’s development authority) to advise on a multi million-dollar
New Market Tax Credit program with Tyler Perry Studios development of Ft. McPherson,
and coordinate film production job training efforts.
- Developed and advocated for clarification of the 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (the GA
Film Tax Credit), guaranteeing that the salaries of film and TV writers are covered under the credit,
making Georgia the only US territory to offer this groundbreaking content creation incentive. Worked
closely with the Deputy Commissioner of Film and the Commissioner of Revenue on implementation.
- Evangelized the need for and implemented diversity and inclusivity in the GFA program, as well as
Georgia’s filmed production workforce, by purposefully reaching out to institutions and stakeholders
across the entire state, urban and rural areas alike. GFA students are 52% people of color and 49% female.
- Overseeing the development and adoption of a wide variety of “above-the-line” and creative industries
courses and programs, including new MFA programs with Georgia State University and Kennesaw State
University, as well as the state’s standard curriculum and workforce program for eSports and digital media
- Leading and supporting a strategic plan to bring a much-needed film studio, production hub, and on-site
school to Savannah, in collaboration with Georgia Tech, Savannah Economic Development
Authority (SEDA), and industry partners in the region.
- The GFA created a variety of safety and sanitation protocols to ensure the continued operations of
instruction during the COVID pandemic, and developed a COVID Compliance Course,
offered free to productions and crews to support the filmed entertainment industry in Georgia.