Stranger Things in Georgia

Georgia film production crew Stranger Things

Another heavyweight in terms of Georgia productions has been Stranger Things. The science fiction series set in the 1980s has been a massive hit, loved by millions of viewers worldwide. The series stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, and Mathew Modine, among many others. The 5th and final season is being filmed and it will be aired in 2024. If you haven’t seen it (even a few episodes with the glut of streaming options today), it’s a good one.

Stranger Things is the perfect blend of science fiction, horror, and nostalgia that will take you on a wild ride to the 1980s. With its retro vibes and eerie soundtrack, the show transports you back to a time
of Walkmans, arcade games, and feathered hair. The storyline follows a group of nerdy grade schoolers who get caught up in a supernatural mystery that threatens their small town. From the very first episode, you’ll likely be hooked on the show’s plot, characters, and mysterious government conspiracies.

The series is full of iconic pop culture references, from E.T. to Dungeons and Dragons, that will leave you feeling nostalgic for the simpler times of your childhood, assuming you’re old enough :). But don’t
let the nostalgia fool you – the show has plenty of jump scares and intense action sequences to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The show’s phenomenal success is due to its excellent production quality, which has been a significant part of its appeal. Fortunately, much of the filming for the series has taken place in Georgia, mostly
around metro Atlanta. Many of the neighborhood sets were in East Point, but also Stone Mountain, Stockbridge, etc. Here again is the AtlasofWonders link on where the actual locations were filmed.

I believe the decision to film here has been a big part of its success. While the story is set in Indiana, Georgia’s diverse landscape has provided a wide range of locations for the show’s filming. The state’s forests, small towns, and urban areas have all played important roles. And show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, have used these locations to create a great sense of 80s nostalgia.

For serious fans of the series, there’s a ‘Stranger Things Experience’ in Atlanta. I recently went and I recommend…particularly if you’re already a fan of the show. It’s an immersive experience where they
use actors, an emergency develops, and you’re given superpowers to save the day. While it’s thematically linked to the series, the events down’t follow any of the storylines in the series.

As a Georgia Film Production, Stranger Things has been a win-win situation for everyone involved. The show has benefited from Georgia’s tax incentives, diverse locations, talented crew, supportive film community, and local businesses. At the same time, Georgia has benefited from the show’s success, which has helped create jobs and boost the local economy. With its unique combination of resources, we’re sure to continue to attract these kinds of iconic productions.

Film production quality today is unreal

With the ever-increasing access to movies and documentaries via streaming, you’ve no doubt been inundated with options. It’s ridiculous to say today that movies of any kind are inaccessible. I’ve even noticed that in the last couple of years, access to old movies (say, 30+ years and older), is now often free on various sites. (Search tip: just type in the name of the older movie along with “watch free online”. And although while “free”, it’s always courteous to donate a little if you can 🙂 )

Anyway, it may have come to your attention that movie production quality has improved. Comparing one of today’s productions versus an old movie isn’t really fair. As you might expect, this is due to advances in technology and techniques. Of course, one of the biggest changes has been the transition from film to digital. This has allowed for a greater level of control in the post-production process, as well as a lower cost for production overall.

In addition to the switch to digital, there have also been major improvements in special effects. CGI has become much more realistic and seamless, allowing filmmakers to create entire worlds and characters
that were previously impossible. This has opened up a whole new level of creativity for directors and has led to some truly groundbreaking films.

Another area where movie production quality has improved is in the use of sound. The rise of surround sound and the ability to more precisely control the sound design has enhanced the overall viewing experience. In addition, the use of music in film has become more sophisticated, with original scores and songs being carefully crafted to support the emotions and themes of the film.

The use of camera equipment has also improved significantly. The development of high-quality, lightweight cameras has allowed for more fluid and dynamic shots, as well as the ability to shoot in a wider
range of environments and lighting conditions. This has given directors more flexibility and has led to some truly breathtaking visuals.

Overall, the quality of movie production has come a long way in recent years, thanks to advances in technology and techniques. From the switch to digital and the improvement of special effects, to the evolution of sound design and the development of camera equipment, there are many factors that have contributed to the increased quality of films. As technology continues to improve, it will be interesting to see how the movie industry evolves and what new innovations will shape the way we experience films and content.

Feature “Going Viral” in the can

The principal photography of the feature finished last month. Most of the funding was completed last December, but it still needs to go through post-production. Scheduling issues forced us to film over two separate time periods…3 weeks in January and 2 weeks in May. So we really experienced some extreme weather, both cold and hot. Each one of those conditions puts different sets of pressures to surmount.

It’s been a great learning experience for all (production, cast and crew) while at the same time, we got to put together a movie that I think will do pretty well…but in terms of critical and audience reception.

As a recap, the movie is set in the 1980’s and follows a high school boy wanting to break out of the rut of his unpopularity. Being a tech nerd, he accidentally finds access to artificial intelligence. He uses this to propel himself to the riches of local stardom. But like today, he comes to realize that technology comes with responsibility, and he gets more than he counts on.

The movie is an homage to the time of early mainstream technology…a time that most people consider was simpler. Fast forward about 30+ years to today and the uncertainty that seems to come along with technology.

As you can expect with all film productions, there were obstacles along the way. But I’d say that overall, the production was great with the cast being its biggest strength. The production team did a great job finding the right talent for each role.

Above are some pics of the production over both shoots. Post production will likely last through September and hopefully the film will be distributed by the end of this year. I’ll update by that time to let
you know when and where you can see it.

Georgia series comes to an end

Whether or not you were a fan and agreed that Ozark had a good finale, there’s no question that Georgia hosted a great TV series! The series was filmed mostly in the state with some in Missouri where the storyline was set.

georgia film location scout

I thought the location scouts really did a great job in finding places that worked well with the production. Finding the locations that fit the narrative, contracting with the owners, prepping and decorating the sets take a lot of time and organization. In this case, it brings a lot of value to the locations both in terms of are area visibility and revenue. Both the local area and the state benefit greatly in a number of ways, not the least of which is that residents will be talking about it for years to come. is a great site for finding locales where filming takes place. Page for Ozark.

georgia film scout

Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier served for the primary production locations. Many other locations were filmed on the northeast side of Atlanta. This includes Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Braselton, and Stone Mountain to name a few.

The most surprising was where they filmed the cartel boss’s mansion. I would have bet that that was filmed in Mexico or even Texas. But it was filmed in Atlanta – the Westview Abbey, which is very close to the state capitol in downtown Atlanta. To turn that into a Mexican drug lord’s hideout with ease requires the talents of impressive location and set professionals.

In Development: Teen Sci-fi Feature

We’re in the process of making a feature film. It’s called “Going Viral” and is set to be produced (principal photography) this November. The film takes place in the 80’s and is about a 14-year-old boy, Beckett O’Connell, who taps into technology of the future and captures the popularity he’s craved. But tapping into Artificial Intelligence of the future in the 1980’s provides some challenges of its own that Beckett isn’t prepared for.

Georgia film in development

The project is now in the late development stage. For GFP (we have most of the crew in place), specifically that consists of funding and identifying talent.

We’re about 75% of the funding that’s needed to move to pre-production. By the end of this month, we hope to have met our funding goal. There’s also the talent that we’re looking to add. Since it’s set in the 80’s, it’s been fun talking to popular actors from popular 80’s movies in looking to get them attached to the project. I’ll let you imagine some of them 🙂

Here is the development page that includes storyboards and a couple videos around the film-

Here’s the Instagram page too for the project –

Of course, if you’re looking to help fund the project, please do! If you know of others who might be, please share that page above with them.
We’d love for you to be included – it’s going to be a lot of fun!

In development - Georgia film

Location scouting in Georgia

One of the most important things in pre-production is location scouting. Where you decide to shoot is very important to the film and the budget you’re working with. For large films, this often includes a location team. But for smaller budgets, it requires either a dedicated, seasoned person or at least dedicated time from the producer and/or the director., in its charge to provide a welcoming environment for filmmakers over the decade, has set up a site where private owners have
submitted their properties as potential film locations. It’s not bad and has a number of entries. You can find that directory here. Still, there are many available locations that aren’t on that public site or others. Finding a good location often requires a professional who spends time in that area approaching private property owners. Technology and location websites are good, but there’s just a lot more to finding a good location than viewing listings.

georgia film location

It’s always a good idea to develop a list of locations for each unique scene. Of course if there are properties favorable to several scenes (eg an existing film set), then that’s even better. But no matter what location or property you find, it’s good practice to have several options at first and pare them down.

Once you’ve narrowed the selections down, you’re going to want to vet the particular locations. If you’re not an expert location scout (not many of these), then there are tutorials, videos, and checklists online for making sure that the location will work for your production. Some factors include space, power, sound, surroundings, parking, and permits. Sound stage space in Georgia is also plentiful, but requires some time to find the right fit and budget as well.

We at Georgia Film Production would be happy to help you find the best filming locations for your production. We help based upon the storyline and budget. Let us know if you need help!

On location

Filming in Georgia offers a lot of benefits. Of course for larger productions (over $500k) filmed here, there is a 20 percent tax credit. But that aside, the location opportunities for filming in Georgia are boundless. There are the large sound stages (Pinewood/Trilith, EUE/Screen Gems, and Blackhall Studios) in and outside metro Atlanta where more recent blockbusters such as “The Avengers”, “Black Panther”, and “Jumanji: The Next Level” have been filmed.

We’ve had very popular movies in the past that were filmed all around the state. Just a handful include “Forrest Gump” (Savannah), “Fried Green Tomatoes (Juliette), “Deliverence” (Rabun County/Tallulah Gorge), “My Cousin Vinny” (Monticello), and “Remember the Titans” (Rome). And of course some popular TV series have been filmed here as well such as “The Walking Dead” (Senoia), “Ozark” (Lakes Allatoona and Lanier), and “Stranger Things” (Jackson).

We at GFP have had opportunities to film at a number of great Georgia locations as well including Covington, Milledgeville, Macon, Lilburn, Druid Hills, and all around metro Atlanta.

We offer location scouting for those needing just the right setting. Some require permits while others are private opportunities that are managed adminstratively with the location owners. We’ll help you shoot wherever you need.

Pinewood Studio’s CineGear Show

Pinewood Studios had their annual CineGear event down in Fayetteville, GA yesterday. The equipment technology continues to jump by leaps and bounds. From better camera equipment to the latest state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and drone equipment, we were blown away!

The panel of cinematographers who spoke about the technology changes of photography and equipment was amazing. All the professionals on the panel are working on active Georgia productions including “Cobra Kai”, “Lovecraft Country”, “MacGyver”, and “Coming to America 2”.

Some pics…

“The Shadows of Life” Short

Here’s a short film we produced recently for an Atlanta film festival. It’s called “The Shadows of Life”.

We had a lot of fun putting this together. It’s kind of a short film nod to the silent film era as well as Citizen Kane’s timeless reflection on life :).

Magnolia Film Festival

Magnolia film festival 2019

This year’s Magnolia Film Festival was a rousing success. Affectionately known as “The Mag”, it supports the film industry within Mississippi, another state experiencing film growth. The festival is definitely a regional film showcase event, and was the state’s first film festival. Since then, Oxford, Tupelo and Crossroads film festivals have also come a long way.

georgia film festival awards

The President of the festival, Michael Williams, is a friend and collaborator to us. We saw lots of films over the three days, which took place in Starkville, MS. Some good, some great. The venue and volunteers were (and generally are) very friendly. It was well organized and I’m sure we’ll be back next year.