Georgia Camera Ready program a huge perk for films
Georgia Camera Ready does it all for productions coming into town, from scouting locations to developing resources and contacts.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Not only are Georgia’s tax cuts a huge incentive for films, but a one-of-a-kind state program is also considered a major perk.
Georgia Camera Ready does it all for productions coming into town, from scouting locations to developing resources and contacts. The state-run program is unlike any other, said Tray Baggarly, liaison of Coweta County Camera Ready.
“I don’t know of other states that do it,” Baggarly said. The program exists in all 159 Georgia counties, with each having its own leadership or liaison.
Baggarly simply describes himself as the “go-to guy” for directors and producers looking to shoot TV series or movies in Coweta. Long before any actors come into town, Baggarly is fielding emails and calls from crews seeking potential sets and sites.
“A lot of times I’ll jump in the car, they’ll tell me what they want, and I’ve got some ideas and we’ll go look at it,” Baggarly said. As a large county, Coweta’s landscape offers a variety.
“On the western side, [we have] very rural horse farms, really pretty pastures,” Baggarly said. “[On the south and east] are five or six old downtowns and old main streets.”
Quaint and different from the city of Atlanta, the area can transform from adding the simple Southern touch in “Sweet Home Alabama” (which was partially filmed in Sharpsburg) to providing intricate settings for Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy 3,” partially filmed just outside of Senoia.
Coweta was also the site for TV’s hugely popular “The Walking Dead” series.
Requests for film sites arrive differently, Baggarly said. Film companies will sometimes ask for locations already available in the Camera Ready directory or ask to offer a homeowner or business owner a contract to film on their property. Camera Ready assists in setting rates and getting permits.
A Camera Ready liaison’s job “takes out a middle man and gets [the production] what they need quicker and easier,” Baggarly said.
Whether it’s private properties or public buildings, local officials keep the information stored in a database to make the scouting, contracting and resourcing efficient. The top sites for films in Coweta is Newnan’s empty Piedmont hospital; downtown Main Street; and Newnan’s historic probate courthouse, which has been preserved since 1904.
Georgia Camera Ready was first introduced more than a decade ago, but for a while only existed in Coweta and 16 other counties. Advocates pushed to expand it statewide.
Due to the ongoing actors’ strike, Camera Ready programs were not getting nearly as many calls and requests to shoot films. However, with the writers’ strike over, Baggarly is seeing some slight movement as companies get back into production planning mode.
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