“I had to do research. I reached out to the Georgia Film Office. I talked to industry professionals [and] economic development partners. I reached out to the city of Savannah, who had a film commission before us. I visited Film Los Angeles, then provided all of that research to the county commissioners and the CEO,” Jackson added.
Jackson has been with the DEC since its beginning in 2016, helping film location scouts find locales for television shows, small independent films and major films like “Black Panther.”
During her time, Jackson says DeKalb County has become the biggest film destination in the State of Georgia, and Georgia has become the third most popular state for filming in the United States.
“We have a number of diverse locations in the county [attractive] to the location scouts,” Jackson said.
“They know who we are now. They know we are open and welcoming, and they know exactly who to call to address their needs,” she added.
Taking out the COVID-19 pandemic year of 2020 when film production almost completely halted nationwide, a comparison of 2019 and 2021 shows how productions are booming in Tucker and throughout DeKalb County.
Film revenues for the DEC are up 4.3 percent year over year, while the number of film productions has jumped 15.8 percent.
The number of permit applications received by the DEC is up 16 percent.
Over the next three years, the Atlanta Regional Commission and DEC estimate that more than 10,000 jobs will be provided by film and television productions in DeKalb County.
Further, they estimate an economic impact for DeKalb this year at around three-quarters of a billion dollars.
Jackson said she only sees this trend growing.
“I have a vision for creation of studios for our students, jobs they can jump into right away. You don’t have to be a director. You can be a screenwriter or something else behind the scenes,” Jackson added.