So this is my first article for The Backstage Beat… it kinda has that ‘new car smell’ doesn’t it?! I’ve thought about what I’d write about in my very first article and I started to drive myself a little crazy, so I thought I’d just keep as simple as a peanut butter & jelly sandwich (my favorite!)

This coming week – March 6, 2011 – is going to be an important week for Georgia’s film and entertainment industry. For months there has been a lurking boogie man hovering over the Georgia film industry. Recently, a Georgia House Tax Committee recommended abolishing tax credits for the film and movie business in the state; the official tax credit is called the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act. Granted, this was just a recommendation by a committee, but the effects have been swift and severe.

As a result of the tax panel’s recommendation, many film and television productions have been put on hold and some have even decided to film in other states like Louisiana and North Carolina where the tax incentives are similar to Georgia’s. With the loss of business and the uncertainty of it all; I took matters into my own hands.

On Friday I spoke at length with Senator Chip Rogers. Mr. Rogers is the Senate Majority Leader in the Georgia Senate and the highest ranking Republican in the Georgia Legislature. We talked about the effect of the tax panels recommendation has had and continues to have on the film industry. Senator Rogers was an original champion of the tax credit, supported it when it was first introduced in 2008, and has committed to preserving it and supporting it in the future. To that end, Senator Rogers is drafting an open letter to the ‘industry’ expressing his support. But he’s also taken it one step further by obtaining a similar letter of support from Governor Nathan Deal.

The Georgia Film Commission estimates that the film and television business brings approximately $1 Billion in economic activity to the state, and almost everyone agrees this is just is this the tip of the iceberg. With continued tax incentives, Georgia has a very real opportunity to become the new Hollywood. Film studios and production companies based in L.A. are taking a long hard look at moving their operations to Georgia as a result of our attractive tax policies, abundant scenery, access to talent, and affordable living conditions.

Thanks to Senator Rogers, we all can count on bright and prosperous future for our exploding film industry. I look forward to meeting with him this week and getting his letter of support and the letter of support from Governor Deal.

For those who are interested in being in films or are just curious about what productions are happening in and around the state – be sure to checkout my fan page ‘The Casting Exchange’ on Facebook. I post dozens of casting notices for anyone who wants to become a “star”.

Next week’s topic – ‘the art of the audition’. Shine on!