Georgia Hollywood Review January 2020


State-of-The-Art, Boutique Studio Fit for The Content Race By Connor Judson Ga r re t t

G eorgia has emerged as one of the top filming locations in the world, and Atlanta ranks next to New York City and Los Angeles for TV and film output. As the content race heats up, cutting edge sound stages and production services continue to spawn throughout the state to meet the demands of the major corporations and Hollywood studios. Companies like Disney and Marvel are constantly planning where they will shoot their next films and the state is determined to remain at the forefront of those conversations. Facilities like Third Rail Studios ensure that Georgia has the firepower to match the long-established players in the industry. Third Rail is a 270,000-square-foot space on the site of the former General Motors Assembly Plant in Doraville. The media complex earned the distinction of becoming the first Wired Certified film studio in North America upon review of the property’s world-class technological infrastructure and adoption of emerging technologies. “Third Rail Studios possesses the amenities to support small productions to blockbusters,” says Third Rail Studios Director of Marketing Mayra Garcia. “We have sound stages, ample support space, and boutique offices equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including high-speed data transfer.” The property is “future-proofed” with the most up- to-date telecommunications equipment, ample capacity, and optimized digital connectivity, which positions the studio to vie for the large-scale productions that help these spaces thrive. Additionally, Third Rail boasts sound stages totaling 60,000 square feet, with 41 feet clear to the steel; 27,500 square feet of fully-equipped, loft-style production suites; drive through lane with direct access to studios; 70,000 square feet of mill / flex space; up to 30 gigabits of studio-provisioned, synchronous bandwidth; as well as sound rated below NC-25, according to WiredScored. Despite its relative youth, Third Rail has been a part of number of major productions like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Rampage , co-starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Malin Akerman, because of its ability to accommodate virtually any need the directors, producers, and crews had. “What distinguishes Third Rail from some of the other large-scale studio facilities is that we operate more like a boutique studio by offering personalized customer service for each production,” says Garcia. “We work to make the facility feel like a second home for the cast

Third Rail Studios president Dan Rosenfelt

and crew, so everyone can be fully immersed in their work. The fact that we have stages, offices, and mill space all under one roof adds convenience and ease of use for anything produced here. We even recently added a dog park, so the crews and our workers have some added balance.” In the content arms race, studios and production companies have to do whatever it takes to give themselves an advantage over the competition. The video-streaming market is worth billions of dollars, with companies like Netflix and Disney pushing for an edge. As Third Rail Studios president Dan Rosenfelt once explained, there simply aren’t enough sound stages in the world to keep up with Netflix’s desire for original content, let alone everyone else. To put into perspective how competitively positioned Georgia is, there are roughly 100 sound stages across the state; and nearly 100,000 workers who have moved to Georgia to work in the booming entertainment industry, along with more than 90 companies; since 2008. Few studios boast the full range of amenities Third Rail has, which allows the company to enjoy the abundance and overflow of the industry. Outside of Tyler Perry and Areu Bros. Studios, the majority of studios do not produce their own original content. Instead, they rent to production companies that stay for several months and leave like an extended stay at a massive Air BnB. Third Rail usually has multiple productions Georgia to work in the booming entertainment industry, along with more than 90 companies; since 2008. There are roughly 100 sound stages across the state; and nearly 100,000 workers who have moved to

Photo by Aiva Genys

occurring at once, employing a couple hundred workers, but it certainly has the functionalities to accommodate the types of television series that turn into long-term commitments for studios. Often times, TV series will pay in advance for their space to be held even when they are not in the middle of filming. Third Rail produced the eight-part Netflix series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings , based on her discography. The anthology is set to premier November 22, 2019. If the show strikes a chord with country music fans, Netflix will likely want to continue to work with the boutique studio. “We also have one of the most interactive and well- rounded film internship programs in the state,” says Garcia. “Interns are immersed in the physical production studio learning about day-to-day operations, attending networking events, and connecting onsite with executives and production crews. In the end, they’re given the opportunity to produce their own short films.”

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