Atlanta is in the midst of an unprecedented boom in media. After introducing up to 30 percent in tax credits to production companies in 2008, film and television production in Atlanta exploded. In 2018, the industry generated an economic impact of $9.5 billion. With nearly 3,000 motion picture and television businesses and 92,000 jobs, Georgia ranks third in the nation behind only California and New York for media production.
Due to this sustained growth in Atlanta, Oglethorpe University students have had the opportunity to bolster their media education through hands-on experience. Situated in the heart of “The Hollywood of the South,” Oglethorpe provides a unique opportunity that allows students to accumulate real-world experience before they enter the field.
Starting in the fall of 2019, Oglethorpe students may now officially declare a major in Film and Media Studies. This new program focuses on giving students both a foundational media literacy as well as practical industry skills such as filming and editing.
Included in a recent host of campus expansions was the relocation of the campus digital media lab, a crucial resource for modern media education. Now located in the basement of Lowry Hall, the new media lab features state of the art hardware outfitted with programs to match the industry standard. Students now have open access to the Adobe Creative Cloud, Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X and more. Additionally, students can check out production equipment like Panasonic GH4 DSLR cameras, studio lighting kits, and microphones.
Earlier this year, Oglethorpe junior Caroline Bond secured an internship with Third Rail Studios, another Atlanta studio space for television and film. At 60,000 square feet, Third Rail has been at the forefront of Atlanta film, hosting blockbusters like 2019’s Stuber and 2018’s Rampage. Conveniently, it is also located just three miles up the road from the university. Bond is the second Oglethorpe student to work with the studio in the past year, following the success of Justin Brimm in early 2019.
“Third Rail was so helpful to me in developing a greater plan for my career,” said Bond. “They made it possible to explore my interests in a professional setting.”
Oglethorpe students have gone on to intern at major media companies such as Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, Viacom and more.
Third Rail Studios director of Marketing Mayra Garcia had high praise for Bond: “Third Rail Studios’ 2019 Fall Internship Program was designed for college graduates only, and even though Caroline is just a junior, she impressed us! She is passionate and driven to complete her film studies and start a career in the film industry.”
Both students were exposed to many different departments throughout the company. A typical day might see them helping in scheduling, personnel or other administrative tasks around the studio. Mostly, however, they are on set to lend a hand when needed. Working on such high-profile sets also allows students to network with all facets of production.
“It’s on-the-job networking,” says Brimm, “Whenever I have time I talk to crew members, PAs, set decorators; whoever is available.”
Oglethorpe University itself has also been a popular location for big names in cinema. In the past five years alone, Oglethorpe has hosted crews for movies such as Richard Jewell, Bad Moms Christmas, Candy Jar, and Love, Simon. Students have been able to observe the film making process and sometimes cast as extras.
With a suite of resources both on and off-campus, Oglethorpe students are emerging from school already armed with the experience necessary to thrive in the industry. Now with more opportunities than ever, graduates will be able to use their experiential liberal arts education to get engaged and get ahead.
Did you know?
Economic impact of the Atlanta film industry in 2018
Motion picture and television industry businesses in Atlanta
Jobs in the Georgia film industry
City for filmmakers to work and live, according Movie Maker Magazine
In the film industry according to Motion Picture Association of America
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle