Out with the Old, In with the New

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Thomas Edison drove the film industry to California. PHOTO // Courtesy Getty Images/Erin McCarthy

Olivia Justus, A&E Editor

It is well known that Hollywood has had a hold over the film industry for many years. Hollywood is known to bring the glitz and the glamour, but geographically it makes little sense as to why it became so big. Let’s take a look back to over a hundred years ago, when the film industry started to get off of its feet.

Thomas Edison is the man to thank for the entertainment industry, if it weren’t for him, society would be so dull. Edison started making movies with his company Motion Picture Patents Company out of New Jersey. In turn, Thomas Edison was the biggest reason that Hollywood became what it is today because he very much almost ended the film industry before it really took off. 

Thomas Edison held almost all of the movie making patents, making it extremely difficult for production companies to make movies anywhere in the Eastern states. Anytime these companies tried to start a movie production, Edison sued them, leading to their productions to be shut down. Production companies started to become frustrated by this. They wanted to overcome the massive block by Edison so that they could produce quality content for the growing cinema audience. The companies decided to move out west to the glorious California. Moving west made it difficult for Edison to sue the production companies. This was a great move on their part.

Now, let’s hop over to the east, where the peach state resides. In recent years, it is no secret that Georgia has taken the reins on the film industry. To better understand how Georgia entered the scene of the film industry, let’s go back to the 70’s. The first movie to put Georgia on the big screen in 1972 was “Deliverance.” After this movie took off, governor Jimmy Carter saw the potential Georgia had in the film industry. In 1973, Carter created a film commission, better known today as the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office.  

The commission started to market the peach state as a shooting location. By 2007, the commission office recruited over 550 projects to film in Georgia. This caused Governor Sonny Perdue to double down his efforts by signing a tax incentive for film productions in 2008. The tax incentive reduced tax payments for businesses and individuals so that it would entice them to invest money into an area. 

With the tax incentive in place, Georgia’s popularity as a filming location began to skyrocket. Even when COVID-19 hit the world, it did not stop Georgia. The peach state thrived during this time because it was able to reopen productions with safety protocols in place. Georgia thanks COVID-19 for helping them secure the number one film location in the world. Who would have thought?

There is no doubt Georgia’s film industry will steadily continue to grow ahead of Hollywood’s film industry. It is time to say goodbye to Hollywood and say hello to Georgia when it comes to the film industry.