I moved to Atlanta in 2013 to a) start a casting company with a former mentor (that didn't work out so well) and b) start making movies in Atlanta (that hasn't worked out at all).
Since then, I've cast a movie in Savannah (MAGIC MIKE XXL) and the next one is shooting in Richmond, VA (PBS' "MERCY STREET"). Yet, I pay rent in Atlanta.
I'm the only person in the entire world who moved to Atlanta to work in the booming film industry here and can't get hired in his own backyard. I grew up here!
Alas. Onwards. Upwards. Message received.
I'm still continuing to teach.
I came to Georgia looking for investors for my projects HELL HOUSE and X-RATED. I've learned there isn't any money here. People are more interested in working in studio features (HUNGER GAMES, INSURGENT) making lots of money or if they HAVE money as investors, they buy up the tax credits to help the big budget features, as opposed to any interest in MAKING independent movies.
In LA you can't swing a dead cat without hitting 20 people writing a script or editing a web series. In Atlanta, you could drop a bomb and the five mile radius blast wouldn't have touched anyone even considering producing an independent film.
Needless to say, the past 18 months have been like getting my teeth kicked in repeatedly. Very disappointing.
Which is not to say I'm not extremely honored to be a part of Ava DuVernay's SELMA and MAGIC MIKE XXL - but I'm a "writer, producer, director, actor, and SOMETIMES casting director." I love casting. It's what pays the bills but doesn't feed my soul.
I sold THE MARKED (which became THE DAMNED, which became RIP) to Medient Studios, which became Moon River Studios, which became... I don't know what it's being called now. I can't even keep up. I spent the past year in Savannah researching, writing, meeting people, scouting locations.
And now that the contract for the film has expired, I am taking the script back and making it independently in Savannah. The company is focused on raising money for a baseball feature. I feel fairly confident in the relationships I've made over the past year in Savannah that we could be rolling by the fall. Horror sells internationally. It's a small budget. The script was vetted by a major marketing firm. We have buzz on it. People in Savannah want to see it get made. I'm very disappointed that it didn't get done with the previous studio, but I'm thrilled to have it back and to be able to make it my way.
I have a really good feeling about RIP. Great new team.
My other horror script with another company has gone through a series of potential investors and then gone completely off the grid. But we are back on the boards again with meetings happening in LA.
We will be launching a Kickstarter for X-RATED in June and hope to be rolling on it in the fall. It's finally time. I have an offer out to a "Joey Stefano" and as soon as I lock him in, we're announcing. And we're of course looking for investors for that.
I completed a feature film script in December that is getting a lot of heat in LA and can't talk about.
All this being said, I think I'm moving back to LA after MERCY STREET wraps. At least, basing out of there. I miss the drive and passion of the people in LA. I miss the hunger (not from lack of eating) that people had for chasing their dreams. I was in LA for 24 hours last week getting my taxes done and sitting around the table at Hamburger Mary's, I missed those people who pushed me and supported my scripts.
I'll keep my place in Atlanta for at least a year. I'm glad I kept by place in LA! At least my "move" will only be clothes.
I'm not ruling out anything, but all roads are leading back to LA. For now.