By Miah Harris, Editorial Intern
Talent and creativity comes naturally to a great number of people throughout the entertainment industry, but what is talent without access to inspire and help others? Just as any other corporation needs experts in different departments to execute specific tasks to keep business above water, the film industry requires a varied team of professionals who are willing to help bring a scripted idea or true story to life.
The interesting part about the film and production industry is that your “crew” or who/where you work is always subject to change. For example, it would be rare to see the same wardrobe stylist or set location for a love story that was used for a scary movie. Although this may be the case, there is one thing that will never change: collaboration.
Apart from the familiar production team, (director, producer, videographer, screenwriter, editor, etc.) several other roles are played behind the scenes everyday during the production process. In a thriving city like Atlanta, production positions in this industry are always needed and wanted from skilled professionals. Some of these positions (which still noticeably lack blacks) include lighting/gaffers, directors of photography, catering, props, set building, costume/hair and makeup stylists, and playback technicians.
In addition to self-teaching or simply “putting yourself out there,” educators and experts in Georgia like Jefftrey Stepakoff, executive director of the Georgia Film Academy, provide hands-on courses (outside of a classroom) for students looking to not only gain credit toward their AA, AAS, or BS degree, but to eventually work in production as below the line (paid up front) workers. “The academy’s first class is a ‘soup-to-nuts’ training program, where students are exposed to all the basic production crafts,” Stepakoff says.
It is never too late to pursue additional sources of income, especially when it includes doing what you love, possible traveling, access to valuable networks and the ultimate benefit of getting paid to do it.
Helpful websites: These references provide access to sites for current film project listings, recommended profiles for production positions (costume, makeup and hair stylists etc.) and supplementary production courses in Atlanta.
Testimonial Q&A with Patrice Hector (ATL Master Hairstylist) For more than 25 years, Patrice Hector has tamed some of the most influential manes in the country. Hector first sharpened her shears under the tutelage of master hair stylist Tom Harris of Decatur, Georgia. Her bi-coastal career has led her to be featured on Lifetime’s reality show Head To Toe and has also allowed her to become a lead hair stylist for several production and video companies. In addition, she has worked as a national educator for Paul Mitchell Hair Systems, Design Essentials and Nairobi Hair Care products. She is currently a senior stylist at Sokai Salon in Atlanta, GA.
Atlanta Tribune: Has the film industry boom here helped build your clientele? If so, how?
Patrice Hector: I wouldn’t say the film industry has helped my clientele, but I will say that being in the salon definitely helps because you never know who will be sitting in your chair or if they know someone, that knows someone else who can connect or refer you to style hair outside of the salon.
AT: What is the biggest benefit of having thriving beauty and film industries here?
PH: The biggest benefit is having the opportunity to work with actors and actresses from all ethnic backgrounds and showcasing your talents on the big screen! Also, it’s very beneficial to have the flexibility of working short-term or long-term gigs depending on overall goals within the entertain industry.
AT: How did you work your way onto movie/video sets?
PH: My first opportunity was working music videos. My client at the time, Teresa Caldwell, Bow Wow’s (Shad Moss) mom recommended me to cut his hair off. At the time he was wearing his signature braids, but he was growing up into a young man and wanted to change his look. From then on, things were pretty much just the commonly known strategy of “word of mouth.” I would meet people on set and they would refer me to production companies, artists and other talent.
AT: What is the best way to put yourself out there as an entrepreneur in the beauty/production industry?
PH: The best way to put yourself out there is to simply network often! Build a great reputation, be on time (15 or even 30 minutes before call time), be nice to everyone on set, become familiar with the project you are working on, build a professional portfolio and Utilize social media by posting your work on a regular basis, and simply be the BEST at your task. The sky is the limit from there! AT