Georgia Hollywood Review March 2020


METAGEPRA, you say How an alliance of PR professionals is helping change Georgia’s entertainment landscape By Mi chae l J . Pa l l e r i no

M elissa Sanders and Mitch Leff recall walking away from the initial gathering of the Georgia Entertainment PR Alliance (GEPRA) with a bit of a sense of awe. The group, which included senior level public relations professionals with backgrounds in film, television, music, digital entertainment, and gaming, convened on an invitation from Sanders and Leff to explore the possibility of creating a PR dream team committed to spreading the gospel of Georgia’s $9.5 billion entertainment industry. TV. Film. Music. Digital. Gaming.

Melissa Sanders

Name a sector and Georgia continues to be a destination for companies—small and large—to carve a path of their own in the entertainment landscape. What Sanders and Leff, founders of Tadpole Communications and Leff & Associates, respectively, saw was an opportunity to help smaller companies generate awareness, make connections, and showcase their work. That first meeting in 2017, which consisted of 25 participants, was structured as a brainstorming session. It ended up solidifying everything Sanders and Leff had envisioned. The group walked away with a name, logo, website, and a messaging and branding strategy. “We’re seeing new companies come to Georgia every month, so our role will become key to their ability to be successful,” Leff says. “The entertainment industry is such a force in this state.” Today, GEPRA serves as a critical resource by providing PR and marketing support services for municipalities, companies, artists, and associations working in the state’s diverse entertainment industries. Some of its clients include the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Definition 6, the DeKalb Entertainment Commission, Crafty Apes, Moonshine Post-Production, MomoCon, and DreamHack, to name a few. DreamHack Atlanta is the ultimate global gaming lifestyle festival, a multi-faceted three-day esports event featuring Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) Local Area Network (LAN) esports tournaments, cosplay, live music, an expo area, and much more. This year, the gaming fete will make its return to the Georgia World Congress Center to award more than $1 million in prizes. In the background, GEPRA has been working closely with the area’s major esports groups to promote

Andrew Greenberg, DeKalb Entertainment Commission and Mitch Leff

Photos courtesey Mitch Leff

has worked closely with organizers to help market the Expo’s collaborative, supportive infrastructure to stimulate growth. “The DEC team was ahead of the curve in Georgia in creating a department that recognized the importance and economic potential not just of film and TV production, but also music and digital entertainment,” Leff says. “There are many local cities and counties that are recognizing that the industry offers their residents great opportunities. We have the expertise to quickly connect them with the key contacts in entertainment in Georgia. Businesses budget for the staff, facilities, and equipment to get their endeavors off the ground, but they often forget to put a line item in their budgets for marketing. We are proud of the work we are doing to help them.” As the success stories continue to mount, Sanders and Leff reflect on their initial conversation that asked: “What if?” Sanders says, “We saw this as an opportunity to join forces with other PR colleagues and together offer something unique. We’re all seasoned pros who are passionate about the work we do and the clients we get to work with. Now we get to be a part of helping this industry grow in our state, too.”

Sanders and the DreamHack team

the festival. Its collaboration and promotional efforts with the Atlanta Reign, Skillshot Media, Hi-Rez Studios, Turner Sports’ ELeague, Hawks Talon GC, and the new Atlanta Esports Alliance stand as a shining example of the substantive work GEPRA is doing in the community. “I love that we touch all areas of entertainment, but I think most recently we’ve had a substantial impact in esports,” Sanders says. “It has allowed us to take our footprint outside of Georgia. I think we have really made successful strides educating communities, connecting with partners, and collaborating on the power and potential of esports and digital entertainment.” An interactive, up-close and personal experience, the Entertainment Expo, presented by DeKalb Entertainment Commission (DEC), highlights the abundant resources and information available within DeKalb County and Georgia for companies, organizations, professionals, and residents looking to establish a presence in film, TV, music, and digital entertainment. Attendees get access to tangible resources and connections that can help enhance an entertainment portfolio. The GEPRA team

For more information on GEPRA, visit

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