When your parents and most of your close family are professional singers and musicians, you may think your future is inevitable. In some ways it was, but in other ways it wasn’t for a young Giancarlo Bradjic.
The creativity planted inside Giancarlo — who also goes by the name Johnny — was obvious when he became obsessed with a new wave of special effects introduced on the big screen in the 1980s. At that point he knew music would always be a part of his life, but he wanted something else.
His path to that “something else” led him to jobs at theme parks, developing skills as a chef, and finally to the opportunity of a lifetime to work in special effects in Georgia’s exploding film industry.
“I kept quitting my jobs, yearning for something more creative,” Bradjic says.
His story starts when, at the age of 22, Bradjic left his hometown of Miami, FL, looking for a life that would fulfill those creative needs. In the late 80’s, Universal Studios seemed like the perfect place to build a special-effects career. Like so many other aspiring young professionals, it was a struggle. The types of creative jobs were not immediately available, so Johnny worked the theme parks to stay connected.
With Universal Studios proving harder to breach than expected, Bradjic created his own special effects company, Anatomy SFX Studio, a success from the start. He also turned to another passion, food, and became an award-winning corporate executive chef. His skills and creativity were a part of developing many food concepts and can still be seen in restaurants across the United States.
Through the years, he kept sharpening his skills as a special effects artist, doing work for Disney, Warner Brother Studios and Universal, all while continuing to develop his food service operations.
But then the opportunity that he had been waiting for his entire life would present itself, and Bradjic and his wife decided to take a leap of faith.
“I kept seeing Georgia exploding and so many things happening for the film industry,” he said. “My wife finally told me, ‘You know what, Johnny, we are going to Georgia.”
And just like that, they began looking for homes online. Eager to get started, they bought a house that they never even saw in person. “When you know, you know,” he says.
“We came here fearlessly,” Bradjic says, “and we are so glad that we did. Moving here has been the best thing that I’ve ever done.”
Since moving to Georgia, Bradjic has made a name for himself. So much so that earlier this year he and his team opened a new facility in Fayetteville, where he and his partners teach a wide variety of special effects classes such as Character Design, Digital Media and Molds and Fabrications. Anything you need to learn, you can do it here.
Bradjic also developed the Special Effects Makeup department for the Georgia Film Academy.
“Now my passion is to make sure the next generation of artists are well prepared for the jobs Georgia’s film industry will continue to produce,” Bradjic says.
This story is presented in cooperation with the Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance. Learn more about the Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance.