Producing in Georgia: Insights from Kevin Cullen of Southeast Production Services

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by Mollee Harper, Senior Editor

Georgia Film News grabbed some time with Executive Producer and Head of Production Kevin Cullen of Southeast Production Services based out of Atlanta, Georgia.  Cullen takes us into his world of content production and describes how Georgia’s booming entertainment industry drew him in with demand for the high quality large scale production work he specializes in and shares highlights from his journey from New York City, to Wilmington, North Carolina and now Atlanta, Georgia.  Cullen also provides insights for filmmakers and other artisans who want to produce in Georgia, take advantage of the tax incentives, and learn from the best in Hollywood.

Cullen shared, “I’m the Executive Producer & Head of Production of Southeast Production Services.  Southeast Production Services is a full service content creation company.”

“I’m originally from Brooklyn, NY and graduated from the RTF program @ Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ.  I got my start in the film industry in Wilmington, NC.  When I arrived in Wilmington, there were numerous big–budget features and television series being shot, but there were also national commercials being produced.  Many of the biggest AICP commercial companies like Moxie Pictures, RSA and Radical Media were shooting spots in Wilmington and Charlotte. My first commercial was a 30-day gig for an insurance company and once I started working on commercials, I was hooked.  I just loved the pace and intensity of commercial production.  But most importantly, I had the opportunity to work with and learn every aspect of production from some of the best companies, producers, directors and D.P.’s in the commercial world.  I worked my way up the production food chain as a coordinator, production manager and then as a producer which was always the goal.  It was an amazing time to be in Wilmington, to be in North Carolina.”

“The Ebb and Flow…  I love what I do and enjoy staying busy, so when the commercial business started slowing down in North Carolina, I commuted back and forth to NYC.  Our NYC home is @ Hudson River Studios which is an amazing full service facility in Union City, NJ.  It’s where I got my formal introduction to the still photography world and one of the main reasons SPS is able to work seamlessly between the motion + stills world in both Atlanta and New York City.”

“I have always been on the commercial and content creation side of the industry.  For the past 15 years, I’ve worked on national and regional commercials, long and short form branded content and editorial and creative photography.”

“I established Southeast Production Services as a way to accommodate an ever expanding client base.  As a means to provide both production and creative services.  As a freelance producer, I’ve worked as both a Line Producer and Creative Producer on the agency side.  After 2008, a shift occurred in the market and I began getting calls from brands and in-house marketing teams directly who were looking to produce content while maintaining the production values they were used to when working with an agency.  I welcomed the expanded creative role and collaborating with clients more directly. With the proliferation of digital platforms, the need for high quality content has only continued.”

“SPS collaborates with content creators:  production companies, agencies, studios, brands, corporations, networks, filmmakers, directors, photographers and independent producers.”

“It takes a village. SPS listens, consults, curates, partners, facilitates, solves problems and executes…  We service different clients in different ways depending on their projects needs.  Whether it’s developing creative from scratch or finding the right director or photographer to collaborate with, we have the established industry relationships and resources to accommodate those needs.  Filmmaking and telling stories is a collaborative medium, and for us, it’s much more then just hiring experienced crew and creative talent, it’s about having a deep understanding of the creative process, being a true partner to our clients and executing creative ideas well.” 

“Creatively, it’s an amazing time to be a content creator.  Digital platforms allow brands to engage with their audience like never before.  Whether it’s a :30 spot, a 20-minute branded content piece or social media content, the opportunity for brands to produce relevant and engaging content exists and continues to grow.”

“The seemingly exponential need for content means that everyone is looking to maximize budgets which requires more efficiency throughout the entire production process, from creative development through physical production and post.  Our experience along with the flexibility in how SPS is structured allows us to leverage our resources to consistently bring a world class production standard to every project, regardless of size or scope.”

Cullen advised, “Georgia is in a state of opportunity right now. If you want to get into this business, there is plenty of opportunity in Georgia.  Start anyway you can.  Work as a Production Assistant (PA) and explore the different departments to see where your interests lie. This is a people business.  Make friends!  When you find people you enjoy working with, help and support one another.  They’ll get you jobs and you them.  And when you do start working, find a mentor.  Work hard and prove yourself.  Industry vets who have dedicated their lives to learning their craft and love what they do, also enjoy sharing their knowledge with the next generation of filmmakers who they know are committed to doing the same.”

“So, what other potential do we see in Georgia?  I would have to say SPS expanding into the worlds of Independent features and television.  I have long time production partners with extensive experience and relationships in both worlds, so that would be a space I could potentially see SPS grow into.  We were recently asked if we could facilitate reshoots and pickups for features, so we’re currently exploring to see if the need for that service exists in Georgia.  If so, building out our infrastructure is feasible.  We’re always looking to meet new production partners and collaborators and we feel there is a lot of potential in Georgia to do so.”

“SPS has been operating in Atlanta since 2015 and services clients throughout the Southeastern United States and beyond.  We call Fayetteville our Georgia home, just minutes from Pinewood Studios.”

Kevin Cullen is the Executive Producer and Head of Production of Southeast Production Services.  He has an extensive background spanning 15 years producing and facilitating the needs of content creators in the Southeastern United States and beyond. 

His diverse portfolio and clients include: Chick-fil-A, InterContinental Hotels Group, Vogue, Relativity Media, Holiday Inn, Thomasville Furniture, NBC, NFL, ESPN, IBM, Duke University, UNC HealthCare, NC State University, Champion and Sealy.

For more information on Executive Producer Kevin Cullen and Southeast Production Services, email him here or visit: http://www.southeastproductionservices.com.

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