When I was a lawyer practicing in rural Southwest Georgia, my favorite cases were the opportunities to represent clients who could not afford to pay me. Some were appointed to me by the court, while others just came to me with such a compelling story that I was not capable of turning them away. It is in my DNA to stand up and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. That is the purpose of this column.
I’ve been involved in the growth and expansion of the film and television industry in Georgia for 20 years. Yes, Georgia has passed legislation that has infuriated millions of people and caused some in our industry to call for a wholesale boycott of an entire state. I absolutely and completely support anyone’s right to free speech. However, I’d like the folks who are considering abandoning Georgia to consider the most immediate victims this action.
First, Georgia’s entertainment industry has spawned the creation of “career academies” in high schools around the state. I personally have seen these schools thriving in one of the poorest, most crime-riddled areas in Georgia. Yet those high schoolers are, for the first time, excited about school, where they can learn writing, producing and directing in addition to the technical arts of editing, camera operation, and sound and lighting design. It’s a great way to get high schoolers excited about STEM education. These kids are our future fellow SAG-AFTRA members, our fellow DGA members, our fellow PGA members and WGA members.
See the rest of this thoughtful commentary at THR.
Patrick Millsaps is the chairman and CEO of Londonderry, LLC, a vertically integrated media company based in Georgia. He exec produced such films as I’ll See You in My Dreams, Finding Noah and Wild Man.