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Booming Movie Industry Means Jobs for Georgia | Business

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Booming Movie Industry Means Jobs for Georgia

ATLANTA -- Big movie trucks like those outside the Georgia Aquarium Thursday night are becoming a common sight in Metro Atlanta, as the film industry continues to grow here, thanks to the state's generous tax cuts and diverse locations.

But it brings an additional benefit... jobs. Hundreds of them.

"Patrick Ingram and myself are two casting directors that work a lot," Bill Marinella said from his office in Atlantic Station. "And somebody might work for Patrick two days a week and me two days a week; and they're making about $400 a week for extra cash. So there is an opportunity to continually do different work on different shows."

Marinella's had to hire a small staff to find faces for films in the area.  Most of the jobs are for extras and small speaking roles. But for unemployed or underemployed Georgians, many of the gigs pay enough to cover at least some of the bills. And for the lucky ones, the payday can last several months with steady work.

Along with the movies and TV shows like "Drop Dead Diva" and "The Walking Dead" have come any number of cottage industries, from acting classes to make-up to voice-over work to virtual auditions like the ones they do at Casting Direct, which are posted online.


Veteran actors say the competition on the left coast is so fierce that many of the mundane and modest roles are now going to big name celebrities, That's why many journeyman actors and actresses are heading to Hollywood South.

"Here in Atlanta you've got an opportunity to get work," said Adam Drescher, whose face you would probably recognize because of all the small film roles he gets. "Get experience, build a resume [in Atlanta]. Then, once you're known, take the trip to LA. But there's still so much to keep you busy here. Why not stick around?"

And a sizable amount of work goes to young actors like tween thespian Curt Roland, who just finished auditioning for the latest Disney project.


"Usually you have to send tapes to California or wherever they're filming," he said. "Now it's all coming to Atlanta, and there are more opportunities."

But big filmmakers aren't the only ones taking advantage of Georgia's cinematic hospitality. Comic-actor Pierre is in town producing a small budget horror flick called "Slice." 

"I decided to leave Hollywood about a year or two ago, because I heard about the resurgence of movie making in Atlanta," he said on the scene of a shoot for "Slice" outside the Uptown Comedy Corner. "A lot of movies are coming here; this is a growing place for filmmaking. I decided to come over here because the city itself has opened up a lot for filmmakers [by] giving a lot of tax breaks."

Indeed, from tax breaks to lucky breaks, the movie industry in Georgia is ready for its close-up.

For a list of the best new movies, according to our sister site Metromix Atlanta, click here.