Nikki Johnson, a set dresser from Jasper, says she is grateful for the film industry and the opportunity to make a good living without a college degree.
“My husband and I are building a house right now,” says Nikki. “Without the film industry, we could never have afforded to make that dream come true.”
Nikki can build furniture, upholster a cushion, sew clothing, and paint — all artistic capabilities that make her work as a set dresser for film and television productions a perfect fit.
But she almost didn’t take the chance to join the film and tv production industry and realize her potential.
“I was afraid to the join industry because it seemed so foreign and cloaked in secrecy,” says Nikki. “I’m glad I took a chance on it. Being a set dresser is a great fit for me. I’m making a good living and doing something I enjoy.”
Before working in the film industry, Nikki pursued a degree in art education. However, once she started working with kids, she realized teaching wasn’t for her. She quit school, worked as a receptionist, and flipped vintage furniture on the side. Bored and underutilized, she looked to the Georgia film industry for a new career.
A friend helped her get her start in the paint department on the set of “Finding Carter.” She then got a one-day spot in set decoration on “Fist Fight” to fill in for someone who was injured. She considers it a lucky break when while on the set of “Fist Fight” the leadman of the set decoration crew, Jen Knight, noticed Nikki’s drive and gave her an opportunity to work on her team, referred to as “Team Sandwich.” It was a move that set Nikki up for success, she says.
“With set decoration, every day is different,” says Nikki. “Yesterday I was drilling holes in the ceiling for lights. Today I reupholstered chairs. My work is creative, it’s problem-solving, and to me, it’s a joy.”
Nikki’s work can be seen in productions like “Black Widow,” “Stranger Things,” “Superintelligence,” and “Pitch Perfect 3.”