Accomplishments

Accomplishments

Accomplishments

Georgia Film Academy

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.
Television
  • Disney-ABC Television 2014-2015
    Co-Executive Producer of Chasing Life, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for ABC Family, developed,
    produced, wrote, and rewrote for all episodes of second season on this critically acclaimed series,
    overseeing the work of staff writers, leading and collaborating as the Co-EP (the number two in charge) on
    the writing-producing staff
  • Lifetime Television/Canwest Global 2003-2004
    Co-Executive Producer of Wild Card, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for Lifetime, collaborated with
    showrunners to develop initial series arcs, wrote franchise-establishing stories for first season
  • 20th Century Television 2001-2002
    Executive Producer of Cover Girl, a One-Hour Drama Pilot for FOX, led studio and network senior
    executive team on development of Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries) property, created
    series concept, wrote pilot script, collaborated extensively with Alloy president and EVP of production
  • Sony Pictures Television 1999-2002
    Co-Executive Producer of Dawson’s Creek, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for THE WB, produced
    sixty-nine episodes, leading and collaborating with writing-producing staff in the story room, developing
    characters, series arcs, and episodic stories, writing and rewriting dozens of episodes, overseeing the work
    of staff writers, presenting to and working closely with studio and network executives at all levels,
    participating in marketing, audience outreach, and – regularly serving on location (in Wilmington, NC) as
    writer-producer in charge on this $2.75 million per episode hit series – supervising and collaborating on all
    aspects of production from scouting to casting to filming to post, integral part of small team that
    implemented new creative direction, ultimately propelling series into multiple pickups and international
    syndication
  • Constantin Entertainment/EM.TV 1999
    Co-Creator and Writer of The Magic School, a Half-Hour Children’s Television Series, working on location
    in Munich, led senior production executives from leading German media group in series development,
    conceived and presented original concept for series, and wrote multiple drafts of pilot script
  • Warner Brothers Television 1998-1999
    Co-Producer of Hyperion Bay, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for THE WB, produced the first season of
    this marquee series (first Warner Brothers series to air on The WB), leading and collaborating in the story
    room and on set, developing character arcs, storylines, and episodic stories, writing and rewriting episodes,
    and participating in all aspects of casting, marketing, production, and post
  • Brillstein Grey Entertainment 1997-1998
    Executive Story Editor for C16: FBI, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for ABC, worked in story room
    and on set, developing initial series arcs, writing episodes, participating in production and post
  • Paramount Television 1997
    Co-Creator and Writer of First TV, a One-Hour Drama Pilot for ABC, Co-created concept and story for
    this episodic series, collaborating extensively w/ Michael Piller (Creator Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine)
  • Spelling Entertainment 1995
    Writer for Robin’s Hoods, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for FOX, developed and wrote a freelance
    episode
  • Buena Vista/Disney Domestic Television 1995
    Writer for Land’s End, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for Syndication, developed and wrote a freelance
    episode
  • Pace Productions 1993
    Creator and Writer of The Yakov Smirnoff Show, a Half-Hour Comedy Pilot, went on the road with talent,
    developed series with talent, and wrote pilot script based on his act
  • Williams TV 1993
    Writer, researched, developed, and wrote longform branded entertainment programming for $100 million
    client
  • Warner Brothers Television 1991-1992
    Executive Story Consultant for Sisters, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for NBC, worked in the story
    room, developed storylines, wrote episodes, and participated in production and post
  • New World Television 1990-1991
    Story Editor for The Wonder Years, a Half-Hour Episodic Film Series for ABC, worked in the story room,
    developed storylines, wrote episodes, and participated in production and post
  • Paramount Television 1990
    Writer for Sons and Daughters, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for CBS, wrote a freelance episode
  • Universal Studios Television 1989-1990
    Story Editor for Major Dad, a Half-Hour Sitcom for CBS, one of the original writers who worked on the
    pilot episode (before series pickup), developed storylines and punched-up scripts in the story room, wrote
    episodes, and participated in production and post
  • Witt/Thomas Productions 1989
    Writer for Beauty & The Beast, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for CBS, wrote a freelance episode
  • 20th Century Television 1989
    Writer for Have Faith, a Half-Hour Sitcom for ABC, wrote a freelance episode
  • MTM Studios 1989
    Co-Creator and Writer of College Town, a One-Hour Drama Pilot, hired to adapt a script from novelist Jim
    Harrison (Legends of The Fall), developed a new television series and wrote pilot script, working for writerproducer
    David Milch (creator of Deadwood, NYPD Blue)
  • Universal Studios Television 1988
    Writer for Simon & Simon, a One-Hour Episodic Drama Series for CBS, wrote a freelance episode
Film, Animation & Digital Media
  • Citi 1995-1996
    Interactive Narrative Design Expert, developed interactive online banking software, wrote scripts for
    talking ATM interfaces, brainstormed ideas with interdisciplinary executive and design teams for future
    digital media platforms, wrote and pitched proposals for high-tech transactional concepts (i.e., ATM retinal
    scanners and credit card microchips) for the corporation’s research division, Citicorp TTI
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios 1995-1996
    Screenwriter of Tarzan, a Major Motion Picture, working closely with directors, animation and story
    department heads, and senior studio executives, fixed story flaws, developed new outline, incorporated
    Phil Collins’ music (You’ll Be in My Heart, for which he won an Academy Award), and wrote a script as the
    2nd screenwriter on this critically acclaimed $130 million feature film (worldwide gross $448 million)
  • ProSieben Television 1995-1996
    Screenwriter of Lapitch, The Little Shoemaker, an Animated Feature Film, led executives from HaffaDiebold
    (a subsidiary of Constantin Medien) the German production company, ProSieben, the television distributor,
    as well as acclaimed Croatian filmmaker, Milan Blažeković, in full-scale creative redevelopment of the
    project for film (and foreign TV/digital media platforms), wrote screenplay for an international version of
    this popular (DM900,000) animated film – Croatia’s 1998 Academy Award submission, original source
    material for the popular international television series spinoff of the same name
  • Paramount Digital Entertainment 1995-1996
    Executive Producer of Perspectives, a Web Series, pitched, designed, wrote, and produced a new interactive
    drama series for the internet, creating a new storytelling model as one of the first “webisodic” shows, and
    the first significant original creative content project for the digital media division of the studio
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios 1995
    Screenwriter of Brother Bear, a Major Motion Picture, after being presented with directives from Roy E.
    Disney (Chairman) and Michael Eisner (CEO), worked closely w/ senior studio executives to create the
    story for this widely-beloved feature film (worldwide gross $250 million) – first writer hired on project
  • Digital Pictures 1994-1995
    Scriptwriter of Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka, a Video Game for Sega Saturn, 3DO and DOS Platforms,
    collaborating with production executives and interdisciplinary teams, designed and championed narrative,
    created extensive branching storylines, and wrote dialogue for interactive game script
  • Inscape (HBO/Warner Music Group joint venture) 1994-1995
    Writer-Producer, working closely with CEO and startup team, developed concepts and wrote interactive
    scripts for digital media and videogames for this Hollywood-based videogames publisher (a blend of talent
    from the entertainment and programming industries)
  • MGM 1994
    Writer for Flipper (The New Adventures), a One-Hour Drama Series for Syndication, developed and wrote a
    freelance episode
  • HarperCollins 1994
    Scriptwriter for Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, Interactive Edition, adapting source material,
    developed and presented interactive concept, wrote narrative summaries and branching script
  • Grey Advertising 1994
    Writer, researched, developed, and wrote long-form video programming to support marketing and
    branding strategy for agency’s client
  • SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment 1994
    Writer, developed and presented concept, wrote scenario narratives and script for new location-based
    simulation attraction
  • American Videogram 1994
    Writer, researched, developed, and wrote branded entertainment programming for $4 billion iconic
    lifestyle brand
  • Digital Pictures 1993
    Writer for Fun House, an Interactive Video Game, developed concept and designed branching narratives
    with executives
Awards & Honors
  • The Atlanta Business Chronicle
    Most Admired CEO, Film, 2019
  • KSU University-Wide Finalist
    Distinguished Research and Creative Activity, 2014 ($1,000)
  • KSU Graduate College Recipient
    Foundation Award for Distinguished Scholarship, 2012 ($750)
  • KSU Department of English Recipient of Distinguished Teaching Award 2012
  • KSU Foundation Prize for Publication or Creative Activity
    Recipient, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2011, ($10,000 award)
  • Honored by State of Georgia General Assembly in 2011
    Privileged resolutions made in both the House and Senate recognizing Stepakoff’s work and its impact on the state, (Bills HR261 and SR 130).

©2020 Jeffrey Stepakoff. All rights reserved.