Karen Felix, a producer’s assistant who spent 15 years as a property master on Georgia film and TV productions, understands how difficult it can be to break into the film industry. After she found herself in a position to pay it forward, she made sure to extend the courtesy to other dreamers.
“As a department head, it feels good to give someone their first chance in the industry, the same way others gave me my first shot. I always hire local people and do my best to keep them working,” says Karen. “I believe in paying it forward to other Georgians and spreading the wealth.”
In 2004, Karen worked in Atlanta’s restaurant industry but desperately wanted to get into the behind-the-scenes work on films. After many asks and rejections, she finally nabbed one day of work as a set dresser on the HBO movie “Warm Springs.” She took the opportunity and ran with it.
Karen was determined to make her day count. She worked hard and was asked back for three days on set. Karen says she was so passionate about the work, she quit her steady job to take the three-day opportunity.
It paid off.
“Quitting my restaurant job was the best decision I made. The first day on set I saw the cameras and gear and how everything comes to life. It blew my mind,” says Karen. “I knew I had to figure out how to make this my permanent career.”
A producer noticed her hustle and asked if she could stay on for the rest of the show as an additional on-set dresser. A property master position soon came open for another production, and Karen was offered that job.
“Not only did I get lucky to get the position of property master so quickly, but I had someone who believed in me,” says Karen. “I worked weekends, stayed late, and did everything I could to do the best job possible.”
Karen has been working steadily in the industry ever since — especially since the 2007 tax incentives brought an explosion of work to the area. Karen says she enjoys seeing the crew base grow and to see the growth of the communities and businesses that the support the studios, too.
“It makes me proud to help local businesses,” says Karen. “I think it’s wonderful that we’re able to spread the money we get from the studios across Georgia to small and large local businesses.”
As a prop master, Karen is in charge of anything the actors use or manipulate on screen. Like on “Insatiable,” Karen needed tiaras and sashes. She worked with family-owned Premier Crowns in Monroe and found everything she needed.
After 15 years in the business, Karen has moved on from the prop department. She has recently changed to the production side and is a producer’s assistant and is working towards eventually becoming a producer.
“I love this industry and I’m so thankful film and TV production is in Georgia,” says Karen. “I love my home in Pine Lake and I’ve only had to travel twice in all my years working in the film industry. I feel blessed that I’ve been able to keep it that way.”