Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Emerging Charlotte Film Community

Charlotte, NC has a tremendous amount of emerging talent in the film community including actors, directors, producers, and voiceover specialists. With the advent of high definition digital video technology, it is now easier to produce independent films.

As digital filmmaking grows, there are more opportunities for local talent to have time on a movie set gaining valuable experience. This is a very supportive community, many who began their careers within the last few years. In a few cases it started with George Clooney bringing the movie "Leatherheads" to Charlotte 3 years ago.

Another area of the Carolinas which is also growing in projects include the Wilmington, NC area which includes a sound stage for Screen Gems. It is where they produce the tv series called One Tree Hill. In Charleston, about 3 hours from Charlotte, the television show Army Wives is shot.

On the first Monday of each month, there is a meeting of the Charlotte Film Community. This early stage meetup has accelerated the networking which brings all of this talent together. In my personal case, this already led to a role in a short comedy film called "The Chicken Hustle".

One advantage of filming in North Carolina is the lower cost of labor. North Carolina is "right to work" state, meaning primariy non-union. As a result, anyone who wants to work on a film is able to do so. There are more opportunities for films to be made here as the economics favor the producer and filmmakers. Many actors love the collaborative work of making a film and usually will work at a much more reasonable pay scale including "free". For many productions which aspiring talent will work for the experience and resume building, the "pay" comes in the form of food on the set, a copy of the movie/dvd or credit in the movie.

It is thrilling to watch all the emerging talent coming from the Charlotte area. Some of this talent has already begun to split their time between here and Los Angeles. If you have a dream of working in film, the journey can start here.

For me personally, 2010 is my year where I will be accelerating from being a featured extra to small speaking roles. A wonderful opportunity for this "accidental actor" and mediamensch.