Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Conference Shows Growth of Atlanta Film Industry

Conference attendees get hands on exposure in DSLR Photography for Filmmakers session.

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Oct. 13-14 Georgia BigPictureCon Film and Technology Conference has gotten a lot of people excited, including keynote speaker filmmaker Cory Edwards.

In an interview with Atlanta Christian radio station 104.7 The Fish, Edwards, the creator of the hit animated film Hoodwinked, said the conference is a sign of Atlanta’s growing film industry.

“What’s so great about this conference is that the city of Atlanta is becoming such a player in entertainment,” he said. “You don’t have to be in NY or LA to make a movie.”

Edwards said he loves traveling to other cities to make movies because New York and Los Angeles are very condensed, tough cities to work in where everybody is trying to do what you’re already doing. He said it was very refreshing to come to Atlanta and see how it’s growing exponentially.

“I’ll be honest, I’m new to Atlanta, I don’t know a lot about Atlanta, and this weekend has been my introduction,” he said. “It’s been really exciting to see the studios that are going up and the work that’s being done. I’ve met a lot of people that are just starting their careers and there’s a lot of excitement.”

Founder and producer Nancy Howard said this was the fourth Georgia Big Picture Conference, with previous conferences taking place in 2005, 2007, and 2009.

“It’s tough trying to make a comeback after four years away, but clearly the enthusiasm and positive feedback that we got from the attendees and speakers has been a good driver that we should continue this,” she said.

Attendees said the event was very well-organized and professional. The speakers were very well-received and provided a lot of good information. Highlights of the event included the opening keynote session Sunday where Edwards and comics stalwart Paul Jenkins, who has worked with both Marvel and DC Comics, were both keynote speakers.
“We had many more people than we anticipated,” Howard said. “We estimated over 100 people were there early on a Sunday morning.”

Jenkins spoke about the plans he’s made with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to bring more film and post production companies to work in Georgia. Edwards gave event guests a charge to take advantage of the opportunity to network and strategize for their developing careers. He also encouraged them to produce—even if they’re not sure what they need to do or don’t have all their ducks in a row, at least start “making stuff.”

Another highlight for Howard was the overall slate of speakers.  “Building our speaker list is one of my favorite parts of the conference,” she shared. “We had over 40 speakers – a great group, diverse in who they were, the expertise they brought, and their methods of teaching, but all of them were unified in their love of film, and a shared commitment to the growth of the Georgia film industry.  We even had two sets of twin filmmakers – DeWayne and Wayne Bontrager of Twiin Media, and Matthew and Jared Young of Brothers Young Productions.  Now how often do you find a phenomenon like that?”  Indeed!

Howard plans for the next conference to be in April. One of the conference’s target demographics is students, so moving it closer to the end of the school year gives conference organizers more of the school year to promote and prepare. Future conferences will feature a revamped logo and a new name—the Georgia BigPictureCon, bringing the event in line with more modern conference naming, like DragonCon or MediaCon.

“I think the conference was a great success,” said Big Picture Film & Video Foundation CFO and Conference Director Joe Howell. “We met our expectations and even exceeded them.”

The conference guests gave great feedback. People thought it very informative and wished they’d known about it earlier.

Howell thought Jenkins’ speech was one of the highlights.

“He was an excellent speaker and really advanced some of the areas that relate to filmmaking in Georgia,” Howell said.

He can’t wait for next year, in which he hopes the conference will be bigger and better.

One of the volunteers who helped make the conference possible was Roshawn Redwine, who learned about the conference through her friend and fellow volunteer, Victoria Porter. What she enjoyed most about the conference was the diversity of topics and speakers.

“It is a great way to gain so much industry knowledge as well as have an opportunity to network with so many great industry professionals,” she said.

What differentiates the GABPC from the other film events she’s attended is how accessible and hands-on the leadership was and how so many of the topics were fresh, relevant, and unique. She’s glad to have had the opportunity to participate. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

104.7 The Fish Google Hangout With Cory Edwards

Atlanta Christian radio station 104.7 The Fish held a Google Hangout with Cory Edwards, creator of the animated hit Hoodwinked and the keynote speaker of the 2013 Georgia Big Picture Conference.

In this video, he discusses the origin of Hoodwinked, the growth of film in Atlanta, how to succeed in film, and what it's like to be a Christian in Hollywood.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

All-Access Pass Discount Extended

ATLANTA, Ga.--The $49 discounted special for any pass to the GeorgiaBigPictureCon will remain available until Oct. 5. 

After that deadline, late pricing will go into effect of --$209 for a regular All-Access Pass, $169 for a student All-Access Pass, $129 for the master tracks only, $99 for a basic pass that does not include the master tracks, and $69 for a student basic pass.  

So get your pass today at the best price, by visiting 

The conference will take place at Westwood College in midtown Atlanta Oct. 13-14.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cory Edwards Keynote Speaker at 2013 Georgia BigPictureCon

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

ATLANTA, Ga.--Director of the animated film Hoodwinked Cory Edwards will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Georgia BigPictureCon

Though Hoodwinked was his feature film debut, Edwards had a long career as a filmmaker touching on almost every creative area of the business. As a child using a "Super 8" camera, Edwards shot everything from superhero comedies to adventure serials, complete with storyboards, miniatures, animation, and pyrotechnics. Every class project from grade school to college, Edwards would make a film or video project, sometimes winning national contests. He interned at an animation studio in Ohio while in college and after graduation, directed music videos and commercials for a Tulsa production company. 

After founding Blue Yonder Films in 1995 and acting in his brother's feature debut Chillicothe, Cory and his brother Todd pitched a Red Riding Hood crime story to a private investor. And so Hoodwinked, made totally outside of the studio system for a tenth the cost, was born. To make the film, Edwards worked with Glenn Close, Anne Hathaway, Chazz Palminteri, and Jim Belushi. He voiced the coffee-addicted squirrel "Twitchy" himself and wrote two songs for the soundtrack. Produced by moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the film has since grossed over $150 million worldwide.

Since then Edwards, a resident of Los Angeles, has co-written Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil as well as created Roger Cosmonkey, the world's first Twitter series.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Georgia BigPictureCon Seeking Volunteers

ATLANTA, Ga.--The Georgia BigPictureCon is seeking volunteers for this year's conference, which will be Oct. 13-14 at Westwood College.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The location has yet to be determined. Those interested in volunteering should email or download our volunteer app at

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Atlanta Film Networking Coming To Apex Museum

Are you an actor, agent, manager, casting director, writer, or entertainer? If so, the Apex Museum and FILM Atlanta, Inc. have got a networking opportunity right up your alley.

SLAM House Inc. will be putting on a presentation at the museum, 135 Auburn Avenue NE, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Actors and artists will put on live demonstrations, while everybody can give a thirty-second presentation about themselves. Bring business cards and promotional materials!

Light snacks and refreshments will be available. Admission is free but $5 donation appreciated. For more information and to sign up via, visit here.

The GeorgiaBigPictureCon is dedicated to helping grow the film community in Atlanta. For more information about the conference, coming Oct. 13-14, visit here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Clark Atlanta University Students Win Prizes At GAPBC Drawing

ATLANTA, GA.--Representatives of the Georgia BigPictureCon held a drawing Sept. 6 at Clark Atlanta University's Career Day and four lucky students participants won exciting prizes.

Ebony Terrell and Destiny Davis won GABPC Conference All-Access Passes, while Cha'Mia Holloman won a $15 Fandango gift card and Antonio McFadden won a $15 iTunes gift card.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Georgia BigPictureCon Who's Who: Darla Clarkson

Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

Darla Clarkson is an award winning film producer, casting director and photographer with her company No Fear Here Productions, located in Alpharetta. She produced “Concerto” which won Best Sound Design and the Audience Award in The 48 Hour Film Project in 2012. Her other producing credits include: "Just Breathe," "Absent," "Norman Dates," "The Final Hour," and the music video "Upyri - Something Close to Free." 

Additionally, she was an associate producer for the Upyri webseries, a production manager for the Spiritualized music video “Hey, Jane”, the casting director for the feature films Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, Collider, and Intrepid Academy. She is also an accomplished photographer of 30 years and a full time writer. She lives part time in Roswell, Ga as well as her family home in Savannah, Ga.  Speaker for The Filmmaker’s Apprentice: How Apprenticeships Work.

This presentation and much more will take place at the Georgia BigPictureCon, Oct.13-14. For more information and to register, visit here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Georgia BigPictureCon Who's Who: Dianne Ashford

Photo courtesy of Symmetry Entertainment website.

Dianne Ashford is a television producer, creating Emmy-winning reality and scripted programs for Turner and PBS.  As co-founder of Symmetry Entertainment Dianne has been producing and line producing for over 10 years. 

From an internship with Rainforest Films in 2001, she quickly learned the business and went on to produce titles like Trois: The Escort, The Gospel, Motives 2, Three Can Play That Game, Pastor Brown, Stomp The Yard 2, Echo At 11 Oak Drive, and most recently Ride Along

Never one to be confined to just one aspect of the industry, Dianne has also produced numerous short films, documentaries and commercials for clients like CNN and TBS.  She is most proud of a documentary she produced for BET entitled Alpha Man: The Brotherhood of MLK, Jr., which took an unconventional look at Dr. Martin Luther King’s life.  Panelist/ Moderator for Producers Panel: What A Producer Does.

This presentation and much more will take place at the Georgia BigPictureCon, coming to Atlanta Oct. 13-14. For more information and to register, visit here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Joe Howell spreads word in Westwood graphic design classes

ATLANTA, Ga.--Big Picture Foundation board member Joe Howell spoke about the Georgia BigPictureCon to graphic design students at Westwood College.

“We’re bringing film technology to the students,” he told the students in Darryl White’s Westwood College classroom August 14, referring to how the conference would be held at the college itself.

The event will cover film, technology, gaming, animation, and promotion. There will be two days of workshops and conferences with working professionals. The master class workshops for more advanced learners will feature industry professionals located in the metro Atlanta area. “They will be teaching about the most advanced aspects in their industry,” he said.

Student James York asked if the conference would be one large event or have different workshops. Howell said it would be broken up by topic. There will be three tracks dedicated to technology, industry and business, and the master classes.

Bryant Berkeley asked about Howell’s background. Howell said his degree is in information systems, but he has worked in music production for nearly 20 years. His career has brought him into contact with Universal Music artists and onto the production of film soundtracks. At the conference, he will host audio for gaming and music panels in the technology track, with a focus on scoring, soundtracks, and sound effects.

Director of Career Services Irene Hillman told students she was their point of contact for conference information and registration. Because Westwood is hosting the event, students will receive discounted rates.

Nancy Howard shares information about 2013 GABPC at Westwood College

Westwood College student Terrell Davis signs up for the Georgia BigPictureCon mailing list.

ATLANTA, Ga. — Georgia BigPictureCon founder and producer, Nancy Howard, spent the morning of August 14th making Westwood College students aware of the coming conference.

“We have an information table set up,” she said. “We’re excited to share that Westwood is our host school this year.”

The goal of the booth that was set up at the college’s student lounge was to share information about the conference and make students aware of the reduced admission price they can get because Westwood is the host school. The goal was to sign up students for the mailing list and show them the different aspects of the conference, such as the educational tracks and the film festival, whose deadline is getting close.

“It’s been going well,” Howard said. “People have been very excited about the conference coming here and all the opportunities they can access.”

Many people signed up for the mailing list at the table and when Howard and Big Picture Foundation board member Joe Howell made presentations in classrooms.

Rosemary Salem, chief executive officer of Mrz. Entertainment Productions and a Westwood student, was among the students interested in the conference’s booth. Salem founded Mrz in 2011 as a talent management company that soon branched out into event planning and production of television shows and films.

“We are trying to get us corporate sponsors, local business sponsors, to sponsor our productions,” she said. “As you know, it can be costly.”

The BigPictureCon interests her for its networking potential—other producers and directors will be there. This could help her build up her company. She is also interested in the workshops and panels, which could help her learn new things.

Regina Williams, another Westwood student, also checked out the booth. “I’m breaking into acting for film as well as producing,” she said. “I’m also a graphic design student.” On top of all of that, she has taken audio-video production classes at Westwood. The casting and production panels at the conference are of particular interest. She hopes she can make contacts and gain opportunities for future work.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Georgia BigPictureCon Accepting Short Films For Festival

ATLANTA, Ga.—The Georgia BigPictureCon (GABPC) Film & Technology Conference is accepting submissions for its 2013 film festival.

“At past conferences, we would always have a student film festival,” said founder and producer Nancy Howard.

Anyone can submit a short film on any topic. However, the piece must be family-friendly (PG or G-rated), with no grotesque violence, nudity, or other inappropriate content. Recommended genres include comedy, drama, suspense, music videos, and public service announcements (PSAs). Films cannot be more than 15 minutes in length. The purpose of the festival is to give participants a venue to showcase their work.

There will be four submission deadlines. The early deadline is Aug. 31, the regular Sept. 6, and the late Sept. 18. The fourth deadline, Sept. 25, is for those submitting via the online mechanism Those whose submissions are accepted will receive two 2-day passes and additional 2-day passes at half-price. There is a $5 submission fee. 

For more information and submission information, visit here.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Georgia BigPictureCon Who's Who: Ken Feinberg

One of the movers and shakers of the Georgia BigPictureCon is Ken Feinberg, founder and chief executive officer of Creative Studios of Atlanta. For over 25 years, Feinberg has been directing, writing, producing, and acting in award-winning films, hit television series like Enterprise and Angel, and major theater projects in Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta.

Now Feingberg passes his knowledge and experience onto students through a curriculum covering acting, directing, and screenwriting at CSA. One of the CSA's major program is the Film Academy, a highly selective nine-month intensive program to mentor talented actors and their parents and significant others for professional careers. Many of his students have starred in feature films, television programs, commercials, voice-over, print, billboards, and even Broadway.

Feinberg is currently overseeing the post-production of the feature film Santa's Boot Camp.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Georgia Big Picture Foundation To Hold Sound Workshop

ATLANTA, Ga. — Sam Ash Music Store will be hosting a sound and audio workshop courtesy of the Georgia Big Picture Foundation.

Foundation board member Joe Howell said the event, which will last from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. August 13, will draw on his background in audio engineering and sound design. An audio engineer works with recording audio and video on a film set, with duties including working with microphones and creating sound effects. A sound designer specifically records sound effects and creates the overall sound of the project, including the music needed to set the mood.

“That could mean I create a score that’s going to create suspense around a particular scene,” Howell said.

The foundation is putting on the workshop due to e-mail and survey requests for more information about sound. Howell said sound is one of the least-studied aspects of filmmaking. Even a film school graduate might have little knowledge about how to properly handle sound in a film.

In the workshop, participants will analyze equipment, talk about what sound can do for a picture, do hands-on exercises with audio equipment, and discuss the soundtrack and sound needs for a film. Howell will teach the class along with guest producer Gerald Coby.

Those interested in participating can sign up at The deadline is August 9 and the cost is $39 in advance.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2013 Georgia BigPictureCon Coming To Westwood College

This October, Westwood College in Midtown will host the 2013 Georgia BigPictureCon (GABPC) Film and Technology Conference.

“The GABPC is a two-day educational summit for professional and emerging filmmakers and those entering the film, technology, and digital media industry in Georgia,” said founder and producer Nancy Howard.

The conference, which began in 2005, is intended to connect students with professionals and industry representatives to keep them working in Georgia. The GABPC also serves as a resource for emerging filmmakers to find out what opportunities are available in the state. Compared to neighboring states, Georgia has much more to offer, including experienced production companies and post-production houses, trained crews, and skilled actors. In recent years, the state has provided tax credits and other incentives to encourage independent and studio film production in the state.

The conference will begin with a keynote session on Sunday, Oct. 13 and will end with another keynote speaker and a reception Monday, Oct. 14. In between, there will be educational sessions, workshops, and panel discussions on topics such as visual effects design, the role of a producer, digital content creation for mobile devices, and the latest trends in digital entertainment. Those with more experience will be able to attend the master tracks, which consist of longer, more advanced workshops.

Georgia Film Commissioner Lee Thomas will participate in the closing session, informing participants about the history of filmmaking in Georgia and discussing future developments. Ken Feinberg, founder of Creative Studios of Atlanta, will moderate the panel Acting in the Digital Age. Diane Ashford of Symmetry Entertainment and Amani Channel of Visual Eye Media will participate as a speaker as well.

The entry fee varies, with students paying $69 and up to $189 for an all-access pass for all sessions on both days. Groups of five or more can take $10 off per person if they purchase tickets together. Westwood College will host the conference, giving participants easy access to everything Midtown has to offer. The Hilton Garden Inn will be the host hotel, with a special rate of $149 per night for conference guests who use the promo code “GBPC.” More information about the convention can be found via phone or fax at 770-819-9635 or by visiting

Welcome to the 2013 Georgia BIG PICTURE Conference

Welcome to the 2013 Georgia BIG PICTURE Conference, slated for Oct. 13-14 in Atlanta, Ga.

This blog will be the successor to this blog, dedicated to the 2009 conference.

More information will be posted shortly...