So this is the time of year to make lists...things I'm going to do differently in the next year, people I want to work with, things I want to accomplish, etc. But, I thought I would take a few minutes and list some of the people I know in the film business who you may or may not know, but you need to! These are quality people who do their job extraordinarily well and give Atlanta a good name in the film game:
Paul has a long and storied career as a comic book writer for such names as DC Comics where he did a four year stint on Hellblazer and Marvel creating The Sentry, Wolverine Origins, and doing guest writing on practically any comic book you could imagine including Spider Man.
And just because writing stories for comics isn't hard enough, he successfully transferred into the world of video game creation. Just a few small titles really...God of War, Twisted Metal Black and Legacy of Kain. Most recently he has been directing short films in Atlanta and just had one of his creations greenlit for filming (Tattua).
Ok, so he is a seriously accomplished writer. Why should Atlanta care? Because here you have a true jewel who doesn't want to leave to go to LA or New York. He wants to direct and write feature films HERE in Georgia and he's great at it! His ability to craft a script with a palpable heartbeat and soul is incredible and then he proceeds to get that out of the actors. That's the kind of talent we need to keep in Atlanta! Follow him on Twitter!
2) Kristen Shaw, Actor/Acting Instructor
Kristen is not only an accomplished actress, but one of the premiere acting coaches in Atlanta today. She teaches the Strasburg Method (ok, yes, it's a little weird at first) but one can hardly argue with the notable actors who use the Strasburg method. People like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman and Jack Nicholson.
IF she were only an accomplished actress and IF she were only a great acting coach, she would probably make the list. Kristen's "Ace in the Hole" so to speak is really that she is a tremendously nice person who would do anything for you and really wants you to succeed. THAT, my friends is worth it's weight in gold in this industry. www.kristenshawactingstudio.com
3) Autumn Bailey-Ford, Producer/Creator of Get Connected
Where would the film industry in Atlanta be without Get Connected? She and her tireless cohorts Brent Brooks and Cynthia Collins have created the "must be seen at" event every month. I have never left there without a contact (or several) who has helped me along in my quest for success in this business.
But Autumn is much more than what you see at Get Connected. She also is out there making sure Atlanta is NOTICED by the film industry. Getting distribution in place for Georgia films, producing her own high quality pet projects and most recently, the Herculean task of organizing a new event which has turned into a who's who in the Atlanta entertainment industry, The Entertainment Gala on January 13th. Without the hard work of Autumn, I don't know that Atlanta would have half the entertainment business it has.
4) Quentin Plair, Actor
It is so rare to find that combination of good looks, acting chops and the ability to cry on queue that Quentin deserves mention here. I think he is a true undiscovered talent in the industry and you will be seeing more of him very soon. His IMDB is pretty sparse, but after having worked with him on two different projects, I can tell you he is a complete professional and has all the right stuff to go ALL the way!
You probably think you know Edward, until one day, he shows up at an audition for an autistic adult and totally blows you away. And the next day you get a call from him asking if you are interested in working with him on a feature film he's producing.
His IMDB page is starting to fill out nicely including a role in the upcoming Identity Thief, but Edward's true gift is melding the actor and producer inside of him. He knows what's needed on both sides of the camera and gives you what you need either way. He also brings a much needed diversity to the Atlanta film scene with his Latino heritage. Coming soon to a theatre near you!
6) Baby Norman, Actress/Producer/Singer/Songwriter
Ok, I have to admit, not only is Baby a great actress, but also one of my favorite people in the world. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that fact, but the truth remains. She is a multi-talented woman and Atlanta is lucky to have her.
Her life has had many incarnations including touring with Prince in the late 90's/early 00's (yes, THAT Prince) and modeling regularly, but her real love is acting and as Bill Oberst, Jr. (Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies) said, "she is a rare, undiscovered gem that the world needs to know about." You can talk all you want about her beauty and high cheekbones, but when you see her in tears in Concerto, she is anything but beautiful and gorgeous all at the same time.
There are actresses and then there are people who just ARE their characters. They take on characteristics of their role and really live and breathe the person they are portraying. Teresa Britton is such a person. She can play your best friend or your worst enemy.
With Halle Berry good looks, tall, lithe stature and amazing acting chops, you will definitely be seeing Teresa around. She is represented by the Jana Van Dyke Agency has several films in production at the moment and more to come. You heard it hear folks, don't say I didn't tell you!
8) Lorenzo Maldonado, Director/Co-Owner Outlier Pictures
Lorenzo isn't a newbie to the Atlanta scene, but he and Anthony Justice recently formed Outlier Pictures in mid town Atlanta and are committed to growing the film industry in Georgia through an extensive slate of modestly budgeted, highly profitable films ($1-5 million).
He has a great vision and is a perfectionist extraordinaire, but that only leads to a more high quality project with amazing production values. With his subdued style and signature NY ball cap, he presents quite the enigma in a town full of flashy people, but make no mistake, this is one to watch!
The first time I met Caiseen was for the Men of Film Atlanta auditions with Cynthia Collins and the whole gang at Film Atlanta. We saw then what I have seen time and time again.
This guy has some STAR POWER! His intelligence, movie star smile and charisma will take him a long way, but his ability to convey powerful emotions and tone down his good looks to the point of non recognition are amazing tools in his arsenal. But with all that, he still has the one final ingredient you need in which to succeed in this harsh, crazy business; THE WILL TO SUCCEED. Caiseen has it in spades and that my friends, is a winning combination!
10) Christian Monckeberg, Director of Photography/Editor
There are a lot of great DPs out there, but if you are looking for a budding talent and commitment to the project, Christian is your guy. He has a work ethic like none other and a willingness to learn from each experience and make the next thing better that I love.
Plus, he really looks like a young Bradley Cooper! All kidding aside, he has the equipment (Canon 5D, Mark 3 among others) and the talent to make your next project or commercial look fantastic.