Fifty-year-old Rachel Crump is currently a student there. The widowed mother of four and former restaurant manager decided to go back to school and start a new career,after her youngest child started college. Her goal is to become a script supervisor, so to prepare she has taken advanced classes in film and video production. Ahead of her December graduation she is interviewing for a job as a production assistant for a new HBO series "Lewis and Clark," seeing this position as a way to get her foot in the door in an industry that shows no signs of slowing in her home state.
"There is so much work right now, it just feels you get a nice feeling that the work might continue for a good while," she said.
Of course, to keep that work, the state needs to give something to the industry, which is notoriously fickle and typically moves where its cheapest to film. Tax incentives are the most common way states have attracted production, and Georgia is no exception. Its incentive is slightly different from others though, in that there is no sunset on the incentive. To repeal or alter it would require state lawmakers' approval, and Thomas maintains they are not inclined to do so now given the positive impact the industry's had on Georgia's economy.
Georgia's incentive is also different in that it does not come in the form of a rebate, or cash the state has to take off its books at the end of the year. For a company spending over $500,000 in the state to produce a film or TV show, the state grants them a transferable income tax credit that starts at 20 percent and can increase to 30 percent. If the production company fails to use any or all of the credit, it can sell it to another firm, whether it is in the industry or not.
"Most of these companies, they are not going to have income tax liability in Georgia. So what they do is they sell them to individuals or corporations that have income tax," said Thomas. "And that's how they monetize them."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts jobs growth in the TV and film industry to be 3 percent through 2022, which would put it below expectations for overall job growth of 10.8 percent. While some of Georgia's job growth in the industry is expected to come from production relocating to take advantage of the tax incentive, and hopefully a better trained workforce, Bagwell said that in general, there is just more work to be had these days.