If Tyler Perry could dream big, then why shouldn't Decatur's Travis L. Ware?
Ware, 37, a Decatur High School graduate whose latest indie film involves a secret vampire society in Savannah, has visions of building a gigantic movie studio on more than 480 acres north of Rome. Backed by a private investor, he's signed a contract to purchase the land.
Ware, who now operates his film business out of his modest Decatur home, expects the land deal to finalize in July. He wants to break ground that same month on Silver*Ware Studios Inc., a production company that, in its first stage, calls for 13 soundstages as well as Ware's corporate offices. Initial costs are estimated north of $200 million.
Ware, who did not go to a university film school but has relied on a couple of mentors, wants to eventually have animation and recording studios, his own theatrical distribution arm and a studio lot with 35 soundstages, comprising more than 1 million square feet.
In Ware's dream, Silver*Ware becomes bigger than Hollywood's Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros.
"The only person who's got me beat so far is George Lucas," Ware says.
Do his friends tell him he's crazy?
"Yes," he says with a laugh. "But they also say I'm so crazy it's going to work."
Ware and his investing partner have been forming their plans for years.
"We've been shopping around and none of the plans were feasible," Ware says, "So we decided to build from the ground up. We needed the land and the space to it. We chose Rome because it's an indie film town and home of the Rome International Film Festival. I went out there and fell in love. It's peaceful and the hospitality is great.
"I said, 'Let's buy some land.'"
At the same time he's building his studio, Ware plans to film exteriors for his vampire movie, "Immortal Secrets."
"When the soundstages are built, that's when we'll film the CGI and green-screen work," Ware says.
Speaking of studios
While Travis Ware's plans might appear overly ambitious, remember that a few years ago writer-director Ralph Wilcox raised eyebrows when he planned to build a 22,000-square-foot production studio in Colquitt in southwest Georgia.
"When I came down there, they were looking at me, talking about how, you know, 'He's got to be hiding from somebody. We do peanuts and cotton here and you're talking about the movie business. Who you runnin' from?'" Wilcox said with a laugh recently.
Wilcox not only built his studio, he made "The Lena Baker Story," starring Tichina Arnold, which opened this year's Atlanta Film Festival.
Still speaking of studios
Later this year, Tyler Perry plans to move from his soundstage and production office complex in Inman Park to a 30-acre plot near Greenbriar Mall. The new space is expected to feature five soundstages, a 400-seat screening theater and a backlot. According to Perry's supervising producer, Roger Bobb, the new facility will have public tours, creating a new tourist spot.
Georgia State University's student-run Cinefest will hold a "Super Mega Summer Cine-Science Fiction Fest" June 13-July 3.
Among the offerings through Thursday: "Plan 9 From Outer Space" (1959) playing Friday-Thursday; "Flash Gordon" (1980) playing Saturday-Sunday; "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" (2001) playing Monday-Thursday; and "The Brain From Planet Arous" (1957) playing Monday-Thursday.
Among future films: "Logan's Run" (1976), "Westworld" (1973), "Metropolis" (1927), "Spaceballs" (1987), "Tron" (1982), "Fantastic Planet" (1973), "Light Years" (1988) and "Forbidden Planet" (1956).
For full details: www.gsu.edu/cinefest.
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