It’s no secret that the film and television industry is a prominent business in Georgia.
It’s a $7.2 billion industry in this state and leaders are looking to bring that wealth and growth to Southwest Georgia.
On Tuesday, state representatives, city leaders, film academy officials and other stakeholders met at Albany State University for a House Study Committee meeting on minority participation in the industry.
“In Georgia, what we’ve been doing is hearing about the industry, finding out how you may be able to be an extra in the industry but what I’m saying is hundreds of jobs are being treated in Georgia and we want to make sure there is diversity and minority participation in this booming and growing industry,” said District 56 State Representative “Able” Mable Thomas.
Officials say Georgia is only behind New York and California in the nation’s largest film and TV producing states.
“We’re very concerned [about]diversity and inclusion because this is an economic development issue here. They say that the average salary in this industry is $84,000. That’s enough to feed a lot of people’s families in Georgia,” said Thomas.
One of the aims of the meeting was to start the conversation about bringing film academy to Albany and other parts of the states to offer adequate training to minorities to be able to get in the business.
Officials also wanted to help get the word out that there are job opportunities available for them to break into the industry all the way from stylists, production assistants, all the way to writers and more.
“It’s not an easy thing. This is an industry that’s been closed and been [using]what we call a ‘circle of friends’. People refer their friends into the industry and subsequently if you’re not in the industry you can’t refer your friends in the industry,” said Thomas. “I’m just happy that the conversation is being put on the table because if nobody introduces this conversation, the industry keeps growing, growing without [minorities]. We must grow together.”
The committee specifically aimed to travel to historically black colleges and industries in the state to inform and discuss the ways to better train those aspiring to be in film and TV.
Tuesday’s meeting was the third of five on this topic.
There has been one at Fort Valley State University and in Atlanta and the next one will be at Savannah State University on November 10.