Younger and Older Workers Needed for Georgia Film Industry

by Barton Bond, Director, Clayton State University Film and Digital Media Center

One of the best un-kept secrets in Georgia is the growth and size of the film industry in the state. Crews can regularly be seen shooting downtown, in local neighborhoods, in rural areas and industrial plants... and at Clayton State University. And stories about those productions can be found in newspapers, on the Internet and on local TV regularly.

Those stories always feature the fact that the film industry is having a major impact on Georgia’s economy and employment. At the May 12 opening of Clayton State’s Film Studio, Lee Thomas, the deputy commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, spoke to the recent successes of the industry. Film and television productions alone spent $1.4 billion and helped create 77,900 jobs, according to Georgia Entertainment Industry Profile for Fiscal Year 2014. The economic impact ran about $5.1 billion.

An Equal Opportunity Employer
The good news for Georgians is the film industry is very much an equal opportunity employer with regard to age and experience - for those with appropriate training. There are great opportunities and demand for both younger and older workers. Even with the high levels of technology used in the industry, film production is still a very labor-intensive process. An average budget picture requires close to 100 workers and many more if there are sets and props to be made.

Opportunities in film employment are quite varied with regard to skills and background and even age.  Some jobs in film can take advantage of a person’s work life before film.  A number of professions; make-up, wardrobe, carpentry, painting, welding, landscaping, and accounting for example; have some basis that translates to a film set. Therefore more experienced workers are very popular because their life experiences can be of great value.

On the other hand, younger workers’ stamina, innate strength, eagerness to learn, enthusiasm, willingness to try new things, flexibility and even ambition to advance are all productive assists.

However, someone wanting to work in film would be expected to have at least basic skills from the first day they start work. Working in film is very different than most any other industry, and to make matters more complex, every person has a very specific job to do in just one area, but needs to do that job at the right time and in sync with dozens of other workers.

How to Get Started
So a legitimate question for Georgians who want to work in the film industry is, “How do I get started?”

Clayton State University bridges the gap. The six-month Digital Film Technician Training program gives students essential basic skills to be able to perform at an entry level on a professional film set.

Students train on industry-standard equipment and use a 10,000 square foot sound stage. They learn how a film set works – who does what in what order – so when they get on a set they are able to function immediately. The program partners with area independent productions to put students on the crews of real professional films and webisodes and gives students the tools they need to network and market themselves.

The state’s film union, IATSE Local 479, is a training partner and has recognized the value of the program, and in line with the union, students receive film-specific certified OSHA 10 safety training. Since the program started one year ago, it has placed 11 students in the union and counts another 24 who are working in some aspect of the film industry.

The program is non-credit so there are very few barriers to entry. Students are not required to take an entrance exam or to have a high school diploma or GED.

About Film Training at Clayton State University

Clayton State University offers the only dedicated film crew training program in the state and one of only two in the nation. The six-month program has a track record of putting students into the film union as well as helping others establish themselves as independent business persons in film-related businesses.  For information about the program, go to or call (678) 466-5085.

In August 2015, Clayton State will roll out its newest academic program, the B.A. in Film Production, which emphasizes post-production. The program will also include content relating to pre-production and production, and the post-production focus will help students attain skills in; storytelling, compositing, editing, special effects, motion graphics, and sound effects. For more information, complete the form below.

On the graduate program level, the Clayton State MBA program offers a Sports and Entertainment Management concentration that includes classes on entertainment marketing, the economics of entertainment industry, and the legal issues surrounding entertainment. For more information, complete the form below or visit

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