As I have heard in conversation, television and film are the new radio for emerging artists. Some of you would probably dispute that, but I for one know of several artists breaking onto the national stage with out a major labor deal because of a licensing deal. I know one thing is for certain, an artist will not become rich and live in an MTV Cribs worthy house or drive the new exotic sports car with the budgets that are available for today’s television and film projects. However, an artist will gain one of the most important aspects to their career, EXPOSURE!! The income will be secondary. Lets face it though, if you’re a real musician, it’s the music that brought you and still keeps you in the entertainment business. In this article I would like to introduce you to Autumn Bailey-Ford and Len Gibson. Autumn is the Creator of the Get Connected monthly series that focuses on different aspects of the filming industry from television to the silver screen. Len is not only one of the creators and facilitator of the PVIFF (Peachtree Village International Film Festival), but the creator of My Portal TV which is on DISH Network.
Eric/TBB: 1) Who are you and what do you do?
Len: I’m a film & tv producer and the executive director/founder of the Peachtree Village International Film Festival. I’m also the CEO/Founder of My Portal TV which is a new thriving network on Dish Network in 18 Million Homes and growing.
Autumn: I am a Film & Tv producer a community activist I love helping people and Director of panels of the Peachtree Village International film festival.
Eric/TBB: 2) How did you get started in the entertainment business?
Len: I got started in college. I went to High Point University in NC and majored in English Media. Through working in media and journalism I found my love of film and tv production. One of my first production gigs was with Fox 8 in NC from there I worked with MTV, a few producers from Spike Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule and the rest was history.
Autumn: I got Started when I was in high school I use to have my own little talk show on my high school stoop and I use to work at my high school tv station as a production assistant. I knew from the age of 8 I wanted to be in the entertainment business behind the scenes.
Eric/TBB: 3) Please tell us in your own words what PVIFF is and what are your goals with it?
Len: PVIFF is an international, educational film and tv marketplace. We’re a festival that believes in educating while entertaining. It’s important for filmmakers to learn the business of the film and tv industry therefore we offer them the right tools to enhance their career. Our goal with PVIFF is to become the next Sundance through year round programming and being that place where deals are made.
Autumn: I have been with Pviff for the past Three years and all I can say is Mr. Gibsons and Mr. Browns vision is out of this world and I am just happy to be apart of it.
Eric/TBB: 4) How did Get Connected come about?
Len: Well Get Connected is Autumn’s brain-child. Autumn mentioned this to me when it was just a thought and I always thought it was a great idea. I’m just here to assist her with growing Get Connected because she’s here to assist me with growing PVIFF. We’re all about entertainment with purpose. We don’t take away from what others do in the city we just enhance Atlanta’s offerings and hopefully people will continue to support while gaining integral connections along the way.
Autumn: I came up with Get Connected in Late November with one of my partners Brent brooks of Blank Stage studios. I met Brent about two years ago at another mixer and we always spoke because we would be the only two filmmakers in the room so we grew close and we just started to think about ways we could help others. So I asked Brent over to my house in November of 2010. We took about 4 hours and came up with the name Get Connected and it’s mission. Brent introduced me to Cynthia Collins of film atlanta and that is how the partnership family began. We are more than a mixer, we are about giving back to the community and helping to educate others.
Eric/TBB: 5) What can we expect from you both in the near future?
Len: Well you can expect a few new TV projects and films from me. I recently partnered with actor Tommy Ford and our new company is called TLC, LLC (Tommy & Len Cinemas) and we currently have 3 projects in production and a few underway. We will have some exciting news to share soon.
Autumn: You can expect a Summer camp that I am working with Trina Martin on. She is the mother of young actor Justin Martin. We are at the beginning stages of that and we plan to partner with Get Connected & Pviff to bring that alive. You can also expect a few new TV projects and films I am producing or co-producing. I also work with Len & Tommy, so pretty much whatever they got going on I am apart of. Plus I am in the process of Autumn Bailey Entertainment first feature.
Eric/TBB: 6) Any last words to close with?
Autumn: I love being a filmmaker and most of all, I love being able to help people. I was always told I would not make it in life and I would be nothing. Just for me to be as blessed as I am, from my husband and my family to just seeing the smile on other people’s faces when they attend PVIFF or Get Connected means more to me then people will ever know. I always say if i get ten people at get connected I will do my best to make sure those ten people make a connection. I look above and beyond helping myself I am for the people who are afraid to speak up and feel they have no voice because i feel we are all one industry family.
Thank you Autumn and Len for sharing your time and your thoughts in this article. As for all of you musicians out there trying to build their career in the entertainment industry, here is yet another of the many opportunities available to you to do just that. This Thursday, June 30th is Get Connected Music in Film month. Be on the look out for NARAS Atlanta Chapter and NARIP Atlanta Chapter to be in the house this month. Come out to not only represent the music community in Atlanta, but to network with the film industry. You may walk away with a deal, who knows. Thank you for reading, see you next week.
-Eric Newcomer, The Artist Advocate