For Jon Privett, 2010 was a terrible year that brought a great blessing.
He was laid off from his land-surveying job, had two deaths in the family, and his wife underwent surgery.
“The only good thing out of 2010 was me hooking up with the movies,” says Privett.
For Privett, who lives in Sharpsburg, GA, employment connected to Georgia’s film industry started seven years ago, and his work grows each year. This year, he even has a special Oscar connection, since he worked for director Clint Eastwood on the nominated movie “Sully.”
In 2010, Privett got a call from
a surveying friend who was grocery shopping for “craft services” on the remake of “Footloose.” It was being filmed at Senoia Motor Speedway, and the friend needed Privett’s knowledge of local stores.
“I worked eight days on that show and then got called to work on ‘X-Men: First Class’ down at Jekyll Island,” he says, and he hasn’t stopped since, building a long list of credits in craft services.
On a set, the craft services team provides buffet style snacks and drinks over the long days of shooting. That’s separate from catering, which provides meals like lunch and breakfast.
“Since I provide coffee, water, and trash cans to set, I can’t afford to be late,” he says.
Some jobs, like “Drop Dead Diva” in Peachtree City and “Ant-Man” at Pinewood Studios, are closer.
On Oscar night, he will be rooting for “Sully,” a box-office hit nominated for an award.
“He knows what he wants and gets it done, and we rarely ever worked long days,” says Privett, reflecting on his work with Eastwood. “I am looking forward to see how it does on Oscar night.”
Privett says Georgia’s tax credit supports the local economy and Georgians in ways not everyone sees.
“If Georgia changes it, locals will lose work and business,” as when North Carolina and Louisiana stopped providing valuable incentives. In Georgia, the industry generates some $8 billion in the economy.
For his work, Privett shops locally for food, spending $600 to $2,000 a day in stores. Hotels and restaurants get business from the cast and production workers.
“There is a lot of money spent in the communities we film in,” he says.