Georgia’s film and video production bouncing back due to stronger COVID-19 protocols

DeKalb County, Ga. — It’s been a long struggle, but those involved with Georgia’s TV and movie productions say the industry is beginning to spring back to life within the state.

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Channel 2 Anchor Jovita Moore spoke with Ryan Millsap, the CEO of DeKalb County-based Blackhall Studios about the reasons why he sees the industry beginning to recover from the pandemic-induced shut down.

“You know, it’s going incredibly well. The Producers Guild who put together all of the COVID protocols has done an incredible job keeping everybody safe and healthy. The transmission rates inside the industry as a whole are under 1%, which has allowed the production crews to keep cranking,” Millsap said.

Millsap said everyone involved with productions here in Georgia has a stake in keeping things operating safely.

“I think everybody takes it very, very seriously. Because they know that if there was an outbreak on a set that they’d all have to go find new jobs, right?” Millsap said. ”I mean, if a if a production goes down, it might be down for a month. And if it goes down for a month, it might be canceled. So I think everybody’s very, very cautious about the way they approach COVID transmission on set.”

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Moore asked if the larger-scale outbreaks in popular production locations like Los Angeles and New York have impacted things in Georgia.

“L.A and New York have been largely shut down, which has been a huge boon obviously to Georgia. A lot of the productions that have tried to film in New York or tried to film in LA have had trouble,” Millsap said. “Some of them made it through, some of it’s been government shutdown. But there’s just the the back and forth with the government stuff has been really hard on the production side. And so I think when people have a choice right now, they’ve been choosing Georgia, because of the certainty and openness that that the government has created.”

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Millsap told Moore he’s super excited about the studio’s $200 million expansion, which he believes should be finished by the summer of next year. He says it will just increase the amount of work being done at the already busy studio.

“More movie making for us a lot more jobs here in in south DeKalb County. A lot more jobs in Georgia. We’re not the only ones expanding,” Millsap said. “So you know, there’s a there’s a huge push in the entertainment industry in Georgia to really gather all of the talent that’s floating around right now that wants to get out of California, that wants to get out of New York, and wants to make a new home and a place that they can have a little bit more security.”

The state of Georgia says more than $9 billion dollars of revenue was added to the coffers from movie and TV productions. The state’s fiscal economist, Jeffrey Dorfman, says once the pandemic begins to wane, the production business and others will help the state’s economy rebound extremely fast.