Spotlight On – Dwight Dyer
Interview with Georgia locations manager – Dwight Dyer:
How long have you been working in film and how did you get your start?
I got my start in the Entertainment industry in 1994. I lived in Hollywood at the time by Sunset and Fuller. Being in Hollywood for 18 yrs you find yourself someway connected whether it was casting, transportation, craft services or photography. Many of my friends were involved and I had a buddy who worked on the Paramount backlot on Melrose. He was gonna pay me $300 to serve food for a crew so I caught the #2 bus to the Lot. While I was there they were filming Primal Fear next door and a AD asked me what was I doing behind a table serving. I told them what are you talking about? He stated you are supposed to be suited up as a prison guard. Next thing you know I’m Taft Hartley (SAG) and in a trailer. The rest is history. I didn’t have the tenacity to go to many auditions so I left the business in 1998 after doing bit parts and having a kids casting company.
What made you focus on Locations?
Upon moving to Atlanta I had started a family and got out of the biz altogether. While working for a major airline – which name I cannot mention, I heard Film language that was familiar to me. Quiet on the Set, Check the Gate, etc. A friend said, Dwight you should get back in – you understand us. So I said to myself, What can I do to benefit a crew without spending long hours on the set. Locations was a perfect match.
How does working in Atlanta compare to other entertainment cities you’ve worked in?
Atlanta is interesting because it has room to grow. It is still very green to having many productions and POC’s (Point of contacts). Also there is only 2 major commissions – Georgia and Savannah. The state has many pockets that haven’t bee utilized like Union County, Haralson and Colquitt. Those areas need to promoted and exploited. Some of the County Commissioners I spoke with do not have any parameters in place.
What are some common misconceptions that property owners have about renting their property to films?
Property Owners are either all in or skeptical. For starters, it can be a great revenue stream and beneficial to the community. Crews not only will use the property but support the local markets for supplies, use local restaurants for wrap parties and hardware stores for grip, ladders, fans, etc. Others do not want the attention and a crew in their personal space, regardless if there are property waivers in place to assume liability. It’s tricky, so I am sensitive with my relationships to property owners. They trust my judgement to book the right project.
How have you seen the locations business change over the last few years as more and more Hollywood productions shoot in Georgia?
Things are really taking off in Atlanta and I’m glad to be a part of it. Most of my transactions are done electronically so production companies are cleared before making that drive for say Duluth to Austell to shoot. Infrastructure is a concern going forward as more people move into the metro, productions might second guess locations due to proximity. Time is money.
With big budget Hollywood films paying high rates for locations, rates too high for indie films, what advice would you give indie filmmakers regarding finding affordable locations, without sacrificing the vision?
Let’s be realistic. Not many locations are free. With that being said I always advise crews to make a “Reasonable Offer” to the home owner or to the Economic Development Department in that community. Be transparent, give all details, be proactive, invite all parties involved to the wrap party. One day you might want to revisit that area and they might not welcome you back.
What do you think the film industry will look like in Georgia in 2025?
For 2025 we will see. Some of the current legislative issues on the the table could hurt future business. Productions might get deterred and look at the next frontier of cities recruiting for productions – Tucson, Nashville, Albuquerque, Dallas. Create quality content, diversify, and keep budgets under control.
Anything else you want to share?
While my focus is primarily in North West Georgia, I get invited to various cities and counties to put them on the map. Indie, Industrials, Features, Commercials. We try to accommodate all. You can text 24hrs a day to 404-857-4611 or follow us on @filmlocalga.