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Capitalist Sage: Bill Frey’s Architect of Illuminations [Podcast]

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Have you ever wondered who’s in charge of designing and setting up those amazing holiday light displays? Well, this week, Karl and Rico sit down with Bill Frey – entrepreneur and owner of Illuminating Design, a local business event, holiday and specialty lighting company. Bill talks about his path into creating a business and how he found a niche in the holiday lighting market during the 2008 economic recession. Additionally, he shares about his struggles and solutions to working in a seasonal industry, as well as the joys of using his lighting designs to create and evoke holiday memories.

“I like to think about it in a theoretical way, where we really just provide the backdrops of people’s memories. You have your holidays, you have your holiday pictures and all the memories that you have. We’re the lighting behind that. We’re what brings about the emotion, we’re the ones that bring about the feelings of the season. By seeing our lights in different areas, it really brings about that Christmas spirit and gets people in the mood – whether they need to shop or come in and spend more time with their family – again, to create those memories. And that’s – that’s really the main point of where – what we do and what we like to do.”

Bill frey

Resources:

Illuminating Designs
Website: https://www.illuminating-design.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IlluminatingDesign/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/illuminating_design/
Phone: 404-454-8944

Podcast Transcript:

Karl [01:33 ]: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasons pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Trans World Business Advisors. My cohost is Rico Figliolini, with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing and publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing today?

Rico [01:50 ]: Good, Karl. Lots of things going on.

Karl [01:52 ]: Absolutely. Why don’t we start off by introducing some of our fabulous sponsors?

Rico [01:56 ]: Sure. So the first thing I should say is Atlanta Tech Park, which is where we are in this podcast studio. We’re doing the recording here in the city of Peachtree Corners. Atlanta Tech Park is an accelerator, right? Go to from a startup place – that’s the incubator – to an accelerator. That’s the next step for a growing company. And they have, I don’t know, how many thousands of square feet here. But they have enough event facilities, they run workshops, they run things with funding and venture capitalists.

Karl [02:28 ]: Absolutely. There’s a cyber – cyber event coming up I think later on. Thin-tech. It’s coming up later this week. Fabulous stuff to get connected in technology and business community here.

Rico [02:38 ]: That’s Peachtree Corners. So anything you need to fund your business, you can – I mean they do some of that pitch stuff.

Karl [02:44 ]: Yup – Friday morning. Pitch Fridays.

Rico 02:46 []: So then our other sponsor is GMC, or Gwinnett Medical. Just got bought out by Northside Hospitals, by the way. So – but it’s the place that just opened. It’s the GMC Primary Care and Specialty Center on Peachtree Parkway, next to Planet Smoothie and QT. And it’s a great place. We just interviewed Dr. Barbara Joy Jones just last week. Find our podcast, by the way, online. But they’re a sponsor as well.

Karl [03:11 ]: Oh, fabulous, fabulous. And I think in the next week we have –

Rico [03:15 ]: Smart City Expo.

Karl [03:17 ]: Smart City Expo coming up. I’m excited about that.

Rico [03:19 ]: It’s going to be great. You, me, Patricia Wenzburg, who’s a writer for Peachtree Corners Magazine. We’re all going to be attending that expo.

Karl [03:27 ]: Absolutely. And it’s kind of going to be looking at smart technologies and cities. And I think Peachtree Corners is going to be featured there.

Rico [03:35 ]: That’s right. So the first day, which is the 11th. It’s the 11th, 12th, and 13th. So the first day is gonna be – we’re gonna have – and it’s probably, I think it’s the only off-demo site for that expo. And there are gonna be people from all over the world and the country visiting, and we’re gonna be showing off our 1.5 mile autonomous vehicle track. Along with a couple of special surprises and stuff like that going on. But there’s quite a few things. I mean, we – to be having that in this city when they do a world conference of this in Barcelona. First time in the United States, so…

Karl [04:12 ]: So much fun stuff happening here. Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners highlighting technology, showing how a city can continue to grow and innovate on itself. And one other thing that’s great about this business community here – we’ve got lots of entrepreneurs in the business community, and today we’re just – it’s an absolute pleasure to have Bill Frey from Illuminating Design – a local entrepreneur, business owner here – that combines technology and art to create amazing lighting displays for holiday seasons, for a variety of cities, commercial customers. Just help them really celebrate the holiday season or whatever festivity they may be having through innovative lighting displays and design and display. So really glad to have you, Bill. Tell us a little bit about how you do that and how you’re able to make clients super happy with their displays and help attract people to come see them. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little bit about yourself?

Bill [05:18 ]: Alright. Well first of all, thank you for having me. I appreciate the time and being out here. This is a great thing that you guys do, and I’m very happy to be a part of it. Well – I graduated from Clemson University and went back to Georgia State to get a Masters degree in marketing, and found that the corporate world wasn’t really for me. I had the advantage of being in a management position at a very young age, however, when you’re dealing with people that are older and have been in the work environment a lot longer than you have, they tend not to take your ideas so seriously. So at that point, I’d always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and that kind of pushed me to do it. I was young, didn’t have any kids, didn’t have a family, didn’t have any responsibilities, so I was able to easily take the jump. I worked for a gentlemen that had a holiday lighting company and saw an opportunity where the market really wasn’t being taken care of. So opportunities for better customer service, better pricing, and really just a better know how on doing the holiday and event lighting. There were a lot of missed opportunities before, and this is back in 2004, so back then, there were maybe a handful of companies out there. Now, recently, there’s been more people jumping into the industry because they see what a good industry can be and the opportunities that are there.

Karl [06:38 ]: Fabulous. Well, for those that do not know, describe what holiday lighting is and how businesses like yours help clients.

Bill [06:45 ]: Well, in – I like to think about it in a theoretical way, where we really just provide the backdrops of people’s memories. You have your holidays, you have your holiday pictures and all the memories that you have. We’re the lighting behind that. We’re what brings about the emotion, we’re the ones that bring about the feelings of the season. By seeing our lights in different areas, it really brings about that Christmas spirit and gets people in the mood – whether they need to shop or come in and spend more time with their family – again, to create those memories. And that’s – that’s really the main point of where – what we do and what we like to do.

Karl [07:25 ]: So what made you choose to go into this industry? You saw – you worked for a company that did that before, but how did you feel that you could make it different or make a difference in this industry?

Bill [07:36 ]: Umm, for a long time, it was kind of like, Henry Ford’s saying – “You can have any color, as long as you want it black.” And that’s not really the way the design and the lighting goes. We saw – if you drive up and down, and you look at different Christmas displays and holiday displays, a lot of them are very similar. They use the same products, same techniques, and we found ways to be a little more creative. To use an artistic side to it. To add pops of color here and there. To add different elements that people wouldn’t necessarily think of. By being Christmas – 365 days a year, versus the other companies that are really doing it as seasonal job, we have the ability to research and work with worldwide vendors, find the best products, and really find what suits you. As a client. We don’t – we use multiple vendors, and we find the best fit for the client. We don’t lock you into proprietary software. We use all open-sourced software. And it’s really giving the client the options again. Giving them their voice in what they want. And a lot of people might not know what their voice should be saying, but we help bring it out what they want. So we have about 20 questions or so that we start our conversations with our clients to get them to kind of relax a little bit and to get into their own design mind and what they like. Are they symmetric people? Do they like the right and left to balance? Do they want – do they want heavily daytime decor? Do they want nighttime decor? Are they a less is more person? A more is more person?

Rico [09:07 ]: Do you have the things, like – also, like – you know how the fireworks, you can do that electronically now? Is it all app-based? How do you set up on something like that?

Bill [09:17 ]: There are some app based programs. What we find is a lot of those are limited. We actually use a program for our programming side – an open source software called x-lights. It’s based loosely on, my opinion, it’s based loosely on madrix, which is used for stage lighting. And that’s what I originally started with. So our philosophy is – we take the stage lighting and event lighting and everything and bring that into holiday shows. We go to concerts and say, “You know what, that’s cool. We like that. How can we bring that out? How can we make that relate to the holidays?”

Rico [09:52 ]: So you’re creating as you’re going, almost in a way – because every year it’s a little different?

Bill [09:58 ]: Right. And that’s the one thing that we want. Our philosophy is that, if you dream it, we can make it happen. And that’s what we try to do. We’ve had some wild concepts come to us that we’re working through – a fun project we’re working on now is, we’re working with a couple of people to create art pieces with LED background lighting for it. So they actually, as you’re – it’s not a stagnant picture any longer. So you’ll have color flashes that’ll change. Say, it’s a series of umbrellas, and the umbrella will change colors. 

Rico [10:25 ]: So you find the technology useful? I mean, you’ve been in the business for a while and stuff. Has technology helped you do your work better, do you think?

Bill [10:33 ]: I think so. I think it’s really cool, some of the stuff that we’re putting out. We work with – on one of our big displays, we made – gosh there were 15 by 25 foot light panels that we broadcast massive displays across. So imagery, and it’s the motion and imagery. So it’s not as stagnant. It used to be the only movement you had was twinkle lights. Every now and then, one would twinkle in. If you had your strand of incandescents, put the wrong bulb in, they all start twinkling on you. They didn’t like that.

Rico [11:04 ]: Do you do other things besides the lighting as well? Like mechanical stuff or other inflatables?

Bill [11:10 ]: Yeah. Some of the pieces we have, we can add motion to it if need be. Haven’t had the opportunity to – in our warehouse, yes we have plenty of that. Haven’t found the client yet that wants something with that much movement. With more movement comes sometimes more issues, and they’re afraid of that for a short term installation.

Karl [11:29 ]: I remember growing up in New York – we – the Rockefeller Center display was always a centerpiece, and people would, for years, you’d go and visit, and it would attract people to that display. You fast forward 20, 30 years later, you see more places using lighting and holiday kind of spirit to attract people to there. Do you find that clients get a lot of success by investing in these kind of displays to help attract folks?

Bill [11:59 ]: Definitely. It’s funny that you bring up Rockefeller Center, because that is one of the reasons I’m in the business. My grandparents lived in New York, and I would go see it as a child, and it’s one of my fondest memories as a child. And I’ve always said if I get the Rockefeller Center tree, I’d be done.

Rico [12:15 ]: You’ve reached the pinnacle.

Bill [12:17 ]: Yup – I’ve reached the pinnacle. What more can I do at that point? But yeah. We see – you know, it’s interesting because the first exposure I had to that, where it was really helping to increase revenues and things like that was during the recession – 2008. And when I – I noticed a lot of people were cutting back on what they were doing. Obviously, they were concerned about what was going on in the world, and with the market and everything like that. But what it did was allow me to kind of recenter our company and to see what’s going on out in the world. And neighborhood fronts – you had homes that were diminishing massively in value, and people were fighting against each other to sell their houses. So the first exposure was – we started decorating neighborhoods – neighborhood fronts. And by giving the exposure to those neighborhoods, it gave them more name recognition, allowed the home values to – I’m not gonna say they stayed where they were in 2006, but they did not decrease as much because you had the talk about – the word of mouth going around about what they were doing, and that the community looked nicer. People were doing a lot of cutting back, so we worked for our clients at those points to allow them to have that exposure. And also – you see a definitive difference in shopping centers. You know when you go out during the holidays, a shopping center that is not decorated, it’s like any other time of the year. You go in there, you spend what you would. Holidays are all about excess, you know? And that’s for – a lot of people it’s about, they eat too much, they shop too much, they drink too much. They do everything too much. And that’s what – having the lighting really evokes that feeling of peace and euphoria and good times and cheers.

Karl [13:58 ]: Especially, during the holiday season, if you think about, if you live up north where it’s snow, you feel Christmas coming around, you feel the holiday. If you live in warmer climate, you don’t have the snow, so the lights is something that could still connect people, that you could tell it’s a different time of year. If you have little kids, I know during the winter, people don’t go out as much. But if they’ll drive around the neighborhoods and see the houses that are doing better displays – 

Rico [14:27 ]: So do you find then that – because I totally agree with you. Living in New York or Brooklyn, everyone hung their lights and stuff, but it didn’t matter. If it snowed, it was Christmas – you knew it was coming. Down here, it’s so different. The hurricane’s coming, God forbid. So, but, you know, your lighting during – are you lighting throughout the year as well?

Bill [14:46 ]: We do most of our work during the holiday season. We do still work with events and facilities and things. If they have larger events going on, we’ll go out and help them. What we can do is year round. We’ve really created a niche in the Christmas market, though. We’ve worked on some of the largest areas around the Southeast. And we have really made our names for ourselves in the Christmas area. There are a lot of companies out there that do events. They have a lot of big products, and it’s kind of a different product base that we have, but it is still possible. We have a lot – maybe 50% of it transfers over, which allows us the opportunity to go and decorate for some weddings, or big corporate parties or Fourth of July. We got to go up to – one of the really neat things we got to do is, we went up to Knoxville and lit up the Sun Sphere for the World’s Fair. It was, I want to say, their 250th anniversary. And we had the lights rotate around, red white and blue, and they rotate around the Sun Sphere. It just happened to be the year that Pat Summit passed away, and we were able to dial in the Tennessee orange and light up the Sun Sphere in honor of her, which is a really, really neat and impactful moment for us.

Karl [15:56 ]: How did you get command over the technology? Cause it sounds like you gotta know a little bit about design – artistic design – but also to program, to figure out what pieces to go together, to integrate and all that.

Bill [16:11 ]: You hire the right people. To be honest with you. I dabble in the programming. I like to say I’m good at it, but I brought somebody into the company that has extensive background in it, and he – Tim Griffith – and he is phenomenal at what he does. And he – we work together, and it’s very – it’s kind of we’re yin and yang. I’m the artistic side, he’s the detailed process side. So we balance off each other in very, very great ways.

Rico [16:40 ]: So you can envision what you want, and he sort of implements it.

Bill [16:44 ]: Yeah. I come to him all the time and say, “I wanna see this!” And he kinda looks at me and goes, “Alright, give me an hour.” And it’s great, because you know, it takes him out of his comfort zone and I’m asking for elaborate things, and we kind of bounce ideas off, and I know enough to give suggestions about different ways to look at it rather than the engineering side. Look at it from this direction, see if it changes some things.

Rico [17:07 ]: Are you seeing the technology and lighting itself? Like, LED’s been around for a while, right? Are you seeing that changing? Are you seeing anything new coming out?

Bill [17:16 ]: Actually, yeah. And that’s one of the things that’s – and we’ve had to kind of adapt our company because of it. It’s, you know, LED’s – incandescents and LEDs are the first change in lighting in how many years? Forever. So then, so what do you think? Okay, well LEDs are gonna be here for a while, and this is how it’s gonna be. Well now they’re moving onto low voltage. So low voltage gives you – obviously, you’re running less amps, thus you’re having less – when you have a power spike because of rain or something like that, there’s less fluctuation. So it doesn’t trip your GFI. So low voltage lighting is exactly which landscape lighting runs on. So you don’t have problems with that normally when it rains, but your holiday lights, occasionally you do. And that’s honestly a problem. If you have a GFI, and it’s put in there, and it’s working right, and your lights go out because of rain, it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to. But nobody wants their lights out. And you can’t tell somebody – “Well, you know what? Sorry your lights are out, but that’s doing exactly what you want.” So we figure out ways to work around that. And we at – when we were working at Atlanta Botanical Gardens for four years, we had – I’ll never say 100%. So, 99.999% on rate. I don’t – I cannot remember or do not recall or was not told of any situation when the lights went out with low voltage.

Karl [18:31 ]: So you can use technology to help make them more robust and bring all that. When you think about the business side of this, when you started this out, anything that you learned along the way that you think would help someone else that was thinking of starting a business?

Bill [18:46 ]: Yes. A 22 year old does not know everything. I learned that one very quickly. And, you know, you learn to trust your support system. And that’s the foundation of how you’re gonna be successful in business. If you don’t have a strong support system with you, with family, friends, people that believe in you and are going to pick you up when you get knocked down and say, “You know what? Let’s get up tomorrow and try again.” That’s crucial. If you don’t have that, you’re off on an island. And it becomes extremely difficult.

Karl [19:17 ]: What is it like doing business here in Georgia or at least in this part of Georgia area? Have you found there being any advantages of being in a community like Peachtree Corners?

Bill [19:28 ]: Yeah. Well, one, it’s a newer city. So there’s a lot that the city’s doing that we can help out with. We’re actually working in the new City Center this year, which will be great. We’re very happy about that. I was actually – as soon as I heard it was starting to be built, I started calling. Because it’s a project I wanted to be part of. To me, the community is important. The community’s giving me, myself, my family so many opportunities. My children go to school here. Their friends go to school. I coach soccer here. So being part of this community is a great, great thing. I even moved my office here from Norcross so we’d be a little more local and tied more into the business community in Peachtree Corners.

Rico [20:08 ]: Are you part of any of the business associations here locally? 

Bill [20:11 ]: Yes.

Rico [20:12 ]: What are some of the things you’ve been able to gain through a relationship you’ve built through those?

Bill [20:16 ]: Some contacts. That’s really important. You find out – moreso business contacts, it’s personal contacts. People who have gone through what you do. As an entrepreneur, it’s very difficult for people to understand your day to day. What you wake up dealing with, what you go to bed dealing with. What problems you have. And you know what? None of us here are recreating the wheel. Whatever business process we’re working on – whatever situation we’re dealing with – somebody else has dealt with. We’re not the first ones to go through it, so why not ask for feedback? Why not say, “Hey, let’s go get coffee. Let’s talk about a couple things. What’s troubling you? What’s troubling me? What can we help each other work through?” And you never know who’s gonna have that opinion or that little nugget of advice that really helps you out.

Rico [21:03 ]: Let me ask you something, if you don’t mind. It’s a seasonal business. So the one thing that struck me – like urban growers, you know? They have the cycle – the season. Although they, if I remember, they said there’s really no season because they can keep growing throughout the year. How does that work in a business where it’s more seasonal? How does that impact revenue, income – how do you budget the company out? How do you keep staff where they need to be, I guess?

Bill [21:30 ]: That’s one of the harder pieces. That’s – if I knew all the answers to that, it would uber successful. You know, we’re not doing bad. But, it is difficult. The seasonality of the business makes it difficult for staffing. You have – so what we do is, we have a core group of people. That those are our people that we bring in. Then, we wind up bringing in revenue producers that – the guys are doing the actual install. But we bring the team of leaders in before that. We spend about a month with them and training them on what we are, who we are, going around and seeing the jobs. So we catch them up to speed on what’s being produced. Then we bring the next team in and do our OSHA training and those things. So, a lot of times, it’s recreating the wheel each time. It’s restarting the process each year. But we’re fortunate enough that each year, we have some residual people that come back. We try to find business owners that may have another business. That their seasonality goes a little bit lower in time, so we kind of work together in that aspect. And you find – you do have a lot of guys that are out of work over the holidays. So generally, finding labor in the actually installers is not that difficult. Because you have all the other season out – like, the non-winter jobs – pool companies, painters, landscapers, that aren’t doing as much. They all lay off, we hire them in.

Karl [22:51 ]: I’m curious, you know, if you were to advise – whether it’s neighborhood that’s deciding holiday lighting or retail areas and so on. What are top things they should consider if they’re thinking on doing this? Where do people get it wrong? When you go out there and you look at people trying to do it, what do they get wrong about it?

Bill [23:11 ]: A lot of the time, it – you wind up with inconsistencies. Where it doesn’t – it doesn’t flow. There’s – it kind of, it’s sporadic, where they’re not actually – they’re saying, “Okay, let’s light every tree.” Well, lighting every tree, while nice, doesn’t always give you the best visual impact. I like to work in negative space. So it’s not where the light is, it’s where the light is not. Because if you constantly have a wall of light, it’s a blur. It doesn’t give a good visual image. If you’re selective in what you liked – so really, I guess the answer’s editing – I guess, what exactly to do. Anybody can throw stuff up anywhere, but it’s systematic in that type of editing in the overall design that makes everything better. And the consistency in the products. You can’t have one color bow in one area, another color in another area. Or have weird colors. If – I’ve noticed a lot, they try to go with festive colors and things like that now. But it starts looking a little like Mardi Gras. Which is awesome for the Mardi Gras time, but it doesn’t really flow with what most people think of Christmas.

Karl [24:17 ]: And things that will create those memories that you were describing. If you do a blur of lights, it just remembers it’s a blur. But if you can create art with that and create it, that’s what create memories.

Bill [24:29 ]: Our lighting philosophy is, we believe every light is important. You can make a very impactful statement with a single light. So it’s all in the editing of how you edit those lights down.

Karl [24:38 ]: Fabulous, fabulous. Well, I’m curious, you know – as this time of year, we’re getting into the fall season. What’s it like for you this time of year? What do you have coming up? What do you do over the next few months as you gear up for the holiday season?

Bill [24:52 ]: First thing is not sleep. It’s – this is really the busy time. But we’ve set ourselves up over the past few months, and basically, since we’ve finished last year to be ready. So we’ve dotted all the i’s, crossed all the t’s. We’re just ready to go now. We have – we’ve tested all the products. We’re gonna be out. Within the next month or so, we’re gonna be working on some of the bigger installations. We’re gonna be at the battery for the Atlanta Braves, decorating out there. We’ll be building a 35-foot walkthrough ornament at World of Coca Cola. And working on some of the really large displays downtown Atlanta. We put all the garland on Peachtree street. So really finalizing what we’ve worked on for so long. It’s – you’ve had your spring training, and now it’s time to get to action. 

Karl [25:41 ]: You remember when Christmas season used to start the week after Thanksgiving? And now, I remember – I think in August, I saw Halloween stuff start to show up, and I’m pretty sure it’s happening with the season. When is Christmas really starting now? Is it October? Early November?

Bill [26:02 ]: November 1st is when a lot of the turn on dates. And you know – it’s understandable. If they’re spending good money on the displays, it makes sense. Go ahead and get them up. Yes, it mixes Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the idea is to spread the joy. To get people out there.

Karl [26:19 ]: So if they’re starting November 1st, that means if you want to have a spectacular display, you probably should be starting now having conversations with folks like you.

Bill [26:28 ]: Very much so. If not a few weeks ago. We’re – it’s time now. We’re locking in most of our bigger installations. And there are still some slots open that we’ll take as we go through. But yeah, there’s plenty of opportunity to still get decorated and for us to work with you.

Karl [26:45 ]: Fabulous. So how do people reach you? If they want to know more about what you do and how you do it, what’s the best way to reach you?

Bill [26:50 ]: First thing I suggest is to go onto our website and take a look at some of the projects we’ve done. See if it’s something you’d like to do and see if there – we can work together. We like to create a union with our clients. It’s – we’re not a one and done type company. We like to create relationships. So go onto the webpage. It’s www.illuminating-design.com. Or you can give us a call at 404-454-8944.

Rico [27:25 ]: We can also find you on instagram on @illumin. I’m assuming there’s lots of pictures there too.

Bill [27:32 ]: Yes there are.

Karl [27:33 ]: Fabulous. Well it’s great to see a local company here in Peachtree Corners. Entrepreneurs that are doing really fun business. I gotta imagine, when you complete a project, you get a big smile on your face, on your client. Who doesn’t like a business that helps create smiles?

Bill [27:48 ]: Oh, it’s amazing. It’s absolutely amazing.

Karl [27:50 ]: It’s fabulous for that. We want to thank you for being our guest today. Bill Frey, from Illuminating Design for being our guest. Taking time out and sharing your experience and journey on this, and giving some advice to folks that are looking to start in their own businesses that may not be as traditional as others. Maybe taking a different look in providing a different service for clients. And we also want to thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting the Capitalist Sage podcast. If you’re starting a business and looking to network with other people, like minded folks in there, there’s no better place to start in a community designed around supporting entrepreneurs and business owners. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. We help people – help business owners understand their business. When they’re ready to sell their business, when they’re ready to buy a business, when they’re ready to grow their business. We offer services to help them all throughout their business life cycle. And Rico – why don’t you tell them a little bit about what you’ve got going on?

Rico [28:49 ]: Sure. I publish Peachtree Corners Magazine. Just launched that this year. Cities – hopefully of what’s going on in the city on a bi-monthly business. We’ve got a lot of traction on it. We’re planning the three major stories that are coming in this forthcoming issues. One is – the cover story is a Pat and the People story. So submit your – this can be a contest giveaway starting Friday. You’ll find that on Facebook. So we’re gonna be giving away some prizes. But that’s one of the main features. The other one is Great Spaces for your Corporate and Holiday Events. We have a writer out there, and she’s already on the 8th or 9th or maybe 10th place. So she’s putting out there – she’s putting together the article as well. But that’s Patricia Windspur. And we have a third piece on technology in the school system, which is cool. So the magazine, of course, you can find my work also at MightyRockets.com. I handle social media, social media content, videography, product videos, a whole bunch of things that different types of companies may need. And that’s where you can find me.

Karl [29:54 ]: And follow us on Facebook. Peachtree Corners Life on Facebook if you want to get an update.

Rico [30:00 ]: That’s right. So, like us there because once you like us there, then you get notification of these live Facebook feeds. You can find the podcast, Capitalist Sage, on iTunes, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitcher – almost anywhere that – FM, that’s another one – almost anywhere you can find podcasts. Find this, listen to the drive, 25 minutes, and you’re good. And LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com is the website for the magazine, the podcasts, and all that.

Karl [30:28 ]: If you want to keep up with what’s going on, a fabulous job of keeping up, you go in there, you’ll see articles in there, it’ll give you highlights on what’s going on around Peachtree Corners and greater Gwinnett in general. But just lots of ways to get connected back to the community. And please do tune into the Capitalist Sage podcast, and all of the other podcasts that highlight local people in your community. About business owners, political leaders, community leaders, schools.

Rico [30:58 ]: We have two other podcasts – Prime Lunchtime with City Manager which is once a month. And we have Peachtree Corners Life which is a whole host of things, and we do interviews.

Karl [31:08 ]: So thank you very much for tuning in, and looking forward to bringing you more great guests on the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Thank you everyone, have a great day.

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Capitalist Sage: Beth B. Moore, Bridging the Artist and Business [Podcast]

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Beth B. Moore

When it comes to the entertainment industry, there’s still a lot of trade secrets. Beth B. Moore is here to explain some of the trickiest and most useful laws within the entertainment industry. In this episode of the Capitalist Sage, we join Rico, Karl, and Beth as they discuss entertainment law, emerging trends, the film and music industry, Georgia legislation and more.

Resources:
https://www.vividip.com Facebook: Beth B. Moore, Entertainment Lawyer

Social Media: @bethbmoore
https://www.instagram.com/bethbmoore/
https://twitter.com/bethbmoore/

“I really find interesting the intersection of business, art, and law. And so where I am in my career allows me to explore that unique intersection. You know at some point in my adult life trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I realized that you know aside from friends and family some of the most important things to me in my life was music and art.”

Beth b. moore

Podcast Transcript

Karl: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with TransWorld Business Advisors. And my co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine Hey, Rico, how are you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:54] Hey Karl, I’m good, thanks.

Karl: [00:00:56] Ah today is Halloween. So we have a lot of trick-or-treaters going out tonight. Hopefully if the rain cooperates, why don’t we introduce some of our sponsors today?

Rico: [00:01:07] Sure, a scary Halloween day we’re going to be, there’s actually. The scary thing going on for some startups because they’re going to have an opportunity to do a three-minute pitch. Five startups on November 14th its going to be part of the North Atlanta Tech showcase.

Karl: [00:01:23] That’s right.

Rico: [00:01:24] And that’s here at Atlanta Tech Park. That’s sponsoring us. This is the podcast room from that location. A partnership Gwinnett is putting this on and there’s going to be five, actually, nine startups doing a three-minute pitch to others, to investors and other people within the industry. And that’s going to be scary for them because they got three minutes. It’s worse than the Shark Tank at least, at least in Shark Tank you had like, I don’t know 15-20 minutes. Here it’s only three minutes to make that pitch. So, but Atlanta Tech Park is the place they’re doing it. This is a phenomenal here in Peachtree  Corners. It’s a great place along the track of the autonomous vehicle.

Karl: [00:02:01] Right here in curiosity lab right here in Peachtree Corners Atlanta tech park being a home for entrepreneurs. Tech, tech startup companies so it’ll be great to see those come in. And if you’re interested check out the website you could, you could register come visit that day and see some of the future entrepreneurs of right here in Gwinnett County. At the Showcase.

Rico: [00:02:24] PartnershipGwinnett.com or AtlantaTechPark.com will take you there. 

Karl: [00:02:28] So we’re glad to have Atlanta Tech Park as our home for for the podcast and we’re especially glad today to have a fabulous guest. Bethany Moore. She’s in a an attorney that specializes in entertainment law and intellectual properties. And today we wanted to talk to those folks out there that have lots of creative talents and their endeavors takes them into both entertainment and artistry and look at the business side of those types of careers and businesses. I know we speak a lot about the the talent that people have. But they may not realize that they are also a business and we figured, let’s chat about that some and Beth was more than gracious to come and spend some time and talk to us about that. Hi Beth how’re you doing today? 

Beth: [00:03:15] Hi. I’m doing great. Thank you for having me out on this fun and festive Halloween Day. 

Karl: [00:03:20] Absolutely fabulous that. To get to explore a, you know on Halloween. There’s a lot of artistry that goes around this holiday season typically, but I’d like to start off by, you know, I’m curious how you got into this particular area and field of law when you got started.

Beth: [00:03:40] Sure. Well, you know, I consider myself an entertainment attorney and that does include, you know clients who work in the music industry, film, television, book publishing, theater. Really anything and everything involving the creative arts. I like to tell people I get to have the most fun a lawyer is allowed to have. You know, and it is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work and there are serious legal considerations when it comes to working in the entertainment industry. I really find interesting the intersection of business, art, and law. And so where I, where I am in my career allows me to explore that unique intersection. You know at some point in my adult life trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I realized that you know aside from friends and family some of the most important things to me in my life was music and art. You know, there’s, there’s really a historical reason for the significance of music and art if you look back on the development of humankind, you know these things, you know, we developed along with music and art. You take a trip to Europe. What do you do? You go to the art museums you take in the local culture, the music, the architecture. So, you know, this has been a common thread throughout the entire life cycle of humankind and it’s something that I take very seriously and it just means a whole lot to me as a person.

Karl: [00:05:05] I always wonder when we think about that some people may not realize. That they’re in this creative art. I mean, I think it’s obvious musicians and it’s obvious maybe people that are in theater or actors and so on. When you talk to clients and folks that are in it, what are some of the other fields that people may not realize falls into these creative arts that where the electrical property and so on becomes really important?

Beth: [00:05:34] The beautiful thing is that art is everywhere. It’s everywhere. You can take any business that may be operating, you know with a logo and a trademark, you know, that’s you know, a common thread among all businesses regardless of what type of Industry you’re in starts with the copyright involved in the you know, any kind of unique image being used as a logo. And then there’s always you know the application to obtain a federally recognized trademark. That’s also part of what I do. And I can really do that for any business. But I specifically focus on those services for clients in the entertainment industry. You know art is you know is a consideration in an industry as large as advertising. You know, I’ve had to work with a lot of advertising companies to make sure that the artwork they want to use or the music that they may, you know that they may use in their television commercials that all of those are cleared and legally cleared to use. So considerations of intellectual property are everywhere and it’s certainly especially in the entertainment industry. 

Karl: [00:06:40] If you think of it from the side of the artist that’s producing that. What are things where you’ve seen people they may call you after the fact where they make mistakes or things they didn’t know as they’re producing and creating art and starting to share? What are some of the things that you the mistakes people make along the way?

Beth: [00:06:57] How much time you got? So, you know the music industry it, which is really my true specialty even within the umbrella of the entertainment industry. You know music is one of those things where it’s it feels good, you know, I mean, it’s a creative outlet for a lot of people. You know, they may not be thinking about making a career out of it. You know, everybody has to start somewhere and usually means starting out. As a hobby. You know, you pick up a guitar or you find a keyboard at the Goodwill and you know, you start making music that’s a beautiful thing. You know, I hope that all children and even adults get a chance to explore, you know, their inner musician. I think what naturally happens is for a certain group of people that that hobby progresses into a profession. They’re like hey, I’m actually pretty good at this and people like what I’m making, you know, maybe I can spend all of my waking hours making music and you know earn some money from it and make a living doing it. So I find that that transition can be really challenging for a lot of Music Makers. You know, primarily because if you’re, if all you’re doing is making music then chances are you may not have a big enough budget to hire an attorney, but by entering into this space without proper understanding of legal underpinnings of it and without having a legal advocates tell you what your rights are people end up, you know giving away their music for free. You know in a way that does not advance their career. They end up getting taken advantage of you know, by people who know just enough to be dangerous and to cut you out of the equation. 

Rico: [00:08:35] Let me ask you, what are two or three things that the musician should know right off the bat that they should do to help protect themselves? If they wrote a piece and they’re playing it but they’re not disseminating a jet. Short of YouTube Instagram putting out the music, what two or three things should they be doing to make sure it’s protected and someone else can’t use it?

Beth: [00:09:00] So there’s a couple of things that come to mind, you know first is having a firm understanding of the legal term copyright, you know, this is a term that a lot of people throw around thinking they know what it means and most people don’t. You know, one of the most important things to understand about copyright is that you know, if you are creating an original work of art and it’s tangible, in other words it exists in some way shape or form on this Earth other than just in your human mind, then you own a copyright to that work the moment it’s created. You do not have to file a federal copyright, certainly a good idea to, but you have rights in and to your work the moment you birth it into the world.

Rico: [00:09:40] So if I wrote a song and I put it out there on Instagram or Facebook, that’s tangible, right?

Beth: [00:09:46] Yeah. 

Rico: [00:09:46] I mean, that’s a recording. That’s right out there. 

Beth: [00:09:48] That digital file on your computer or more perhaps on your phone is a tangible embodiment of your work, right? And you have rights to that just as you know, everybody else has rights to their work. So be careful whose work you try to pass off as your own because those whoever created that work has rights to it. So that’s maybe the second mistake that people make is they see rampant copyright infringement happening out there in the world which gives a lot of people the false impression that it’s okay when it is not. You can get yourself into a lot of hot water, you know, if you try to sample somebody else’s work and if you misappropriate somebody’s work, you know, if you think I’ll just slide in this sample real quick and nobody will notice because it’s under five seconds. That’s not how the law works. 

Rico: [00:10:34] Because cover bands work. Those cover bands are out there playing other people’s music, I mean.

Beth: [00:10:40] There is a precise answer to that which is that the people who wrote the songs that the cover band, you know is covering have granted a license to what are called The Performing rights organizations, which then turn around and Grant a license to the restaurants and venues. Of course, the restaurants and venues have to pay for that license but once they have it they’re allowed to play any song that they want. 

Karl: [00:11:03] Let me if I can just understand and clear, a business owner and they are playing music in the background of whatever that store is. Do they have to either they have to pay for the right to play the song in their place of Commerce no matter what type? If it’s a doctor’s office playing the elevator music is that all covered? 

Beth: [00:11:27] Yes, absolutely. Now, I have counseled business owners including restaurant owners about this where you know, they just want to play the radio in the background or they’ve you know, they have a Spotify account and they wonder why can’t I just play this? Well, it’s because the people who wrote those songs own the copyright of those songs and what those business owners are effectively doing is using somebody elses copyright to sell coffee or to sell golf club, right? And if you’re going to do that, you should you know, you should have to pay the person that’s helping you create this commercial atmosphere that draws in customers and they do. 

Rico: [00:12:01] That’s funny because I’m, as she’s saying that I’m thinking starbucks and I’m thinking of those little  music cards they used to have at one point with musicians on there of that they would be playing. And I think they, that was sort of a give and take a little bit on their part to be able to play music in the background of some of the bands that they were promoting and Starbucks music in house. Then I thought about the Jukebox. Real time, you know, slide the quarter in this. After that went away, I think that’s when royalty would really like going.

Karl: [00:12:29] So in Rico’s initial example, he creates a piece of music and he puts it on YouTube and if I were to find it in a business and start playing the music on YouTube is the, should he do something to make sure that his rights are protected. 1 and 2, he may be able to be compensated. What should he do? 

Beth: [00:12:53] Yes. So as a songwriter Rico, what I would advise you to do is to join one of the

Performing rights organizations and in the United States, we have three. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. When you do that as a songwriter, you know in some ways, you know that helps to, you know, memorialize or put the public on notice that you are the author of that song. You are the creator, the owner. You know and so you can look up right now anybody out there listening can go to one of those three websites and look up their favorite song and find out who the actual writers are. You might be surprised, right? Because the person that you think wrote the song might not be the person who actually did.  And so, that’s what you would do as a songwriter you would affiliate with one of those three organizations and in turn those organizations will represent you. When a restaurant owner comes to them wanting to play music. So the organization let’s say you joined ASCAP. ASCAP will issue a license, right? A license is just a fancy word for granting someone permission. ASCAP will license the right to the restaurant owner to be able to play any song in the ASCAP catalog that they want and your song will be listed in the ASCAP catalog.

Rico: [00:14:10] So you’d just pay one royalty or monthly fee or whatever it is. You can play any song within that set up. 

Beth: [00:14:16] Exactly. Yes. It’s usually an annual fee. Yes, and the restaurant owner would do well to seek out licenses from all three organizations because chances are any song you want to play is going to be represented by one of those three. 

Rico: [00:14:28] I guess muzak came out at some point to avoid all that right? Because it’s regular, it’s like a synthesized music has nothing to do with any copyright at all. 

Beth: [00:14:40] It actually ties in perfectly with what I’m talking about because what Muzak did if I understand correctly is they had their licensing fees built in with the PRO fees right, so it was kind of a digital service that delivered the recordings but also included the permissions for the underlying compositions. 

Rico: [00:15:01] Okay, so it’s all in one place and that’s why you could use Muzak anywhere. 

Beth: [00:15:05] Yeah, and you know, it’s Spotify and Pandora,I believe, have commercial subscriptions now for places of business. So you can get licenses for everything all in one place.

Rico: [00:15:16] So when you play Apple music, you pay an apple fee every month for my Apple music. I can play any song, download any song within the Apple Library. That’s, which seems to be almost every song in the world. But so I’m not paying anything more than that monthly fee, right? 

Beth: [00:15:33] Well you’re talking about personal consumption.

Rico: [00:15:35] Yes. 

Beth: [00:15:36] So that’s different. Very, very different from commercial consumption. 

Karl: [00:15:40] So if you’re a business owner, you may have a personal Spotify, Apple music, Amazon account that allows you to play all the music. But when you bring that into your business, and you’re using it within your business, you’d have to get this additional license to do that. 

Beth: [00:15:59] Correct. It’s called a public performance license not to be confused with live performance. It has nothing to do with live performance. Public performance means that somebody’s music, specifically somebody’s composition, is being performed in a public space. A place of public accommodation. Which commercial places are, right? You know Starbucks is open to the public. Target is open to the public. Airports are open to the public. All of those places that want to play music in a public space, has to obtain a public performance license. 

Rico: [00:16:32] Content sent to the plant.

Karl: [00:16:34] So with all that would Rico get paid then, from that the group that he’s a member of, that he’s paying some fees to.

Rico: [00:16:42] The bottom line.

Karl: [00:16:43] The bottom, he would then get paid for some percentage. How’s that done? 

Beth: [00:16:49] Yes. So there’s two royalties, you know, depending on the situation. One royalty may be available for the recording artist. So that might be the person, you know, whose voice you actually hear, you know whose guitar riffs you were actually hearing. But there’s a

separate designation for who the songwriter is, right? So in this case Rico being the songwriter, yes, he would be in a position to earn royalties. From you know for every time you know Starbucks or Target or the airport you know played his  music. The algorithm by which an organization like ASCAP uses to determine how much you get paid is a trade secret. We don’t actually know but we can surmise that it at least has something to do with how much of the real estate of the airwaves, you know, you occupy. The more your song gets played the more royalties you’ll receive. 

Karl: [00:17:43] That’s very very interesting. Does it expand out beyond music? So if let’s take writings, and now we get digital media. People are putting out cat stuff on YouTube and creating funny videos, cartoon videos, explainer videos. Are all of those…

Rico: [00:18:01] Or even doing a public service where the news media recording a crime just happening and then they sell it to CNN. I mean, do they have copy right on those things?

Beth: [00:18:11] Yes, yes. And if any kind of original creative content you that you birth into the world belongs to you. And that would include, you know, silly cat videos. You know, it may just be something that you created at home. You probably have hours and hours worth of cat videos, but you have that one little clip where they did something funny. That piece of video, that audio-visual work contains a copyright. And the owner of that copyright is the person who created it.

Karl: [00:18:37] And there’s, there isn’t a similar organization for video, for writers, for all these different creative types of art. There’s a similar organization that manages that for them as well?

Beth: [00:18:52] No, but that would, that sounds like a wonderful idea. Right now, it’s really, you know, if I have a silly cat video and you want to use it, you know, for the Peachtree Corners podcast, then we would do an arm’s length transaction. You know, for what that licensing deal would be. Whether you pay me or I simply agree to grant you, you know royalty free license. Right now that’s something where you would have to approach the copyright holder directly to get that, get that permission. 

Rico: [00:19:19] There are protections in place. And although there was, I was involved in a website that was done once and we used stock photo as position only. Because eventually we’re going to remove the stock photo, put real photos on there. Two years later a lawyer reaches out and said that there’s a stock photo on that site you never purchased. How did they know it was never purchased, I don’t know. But they wanted their fee and they wanted it removed. But they wanted their fee at least to be paid. So there are protections, at least the free market allows protection in place for some things, right? 

Beth: [00:19:53] Well, you just perfectly identified one of the issues that modern-day content creators are facing. Is that, and it kind of goes back to the question you asked earlier, what’s one of the mistakes that people make in this industry? And its really disseminating, you know, their content without thought as to how to control it. You know, it’s like once something is out there it’s darn near impossible to retract it, right? So we have had to as an industry get really creative in how we monitor, you know, the use of our content. You know, make sure that anybody who is the recipient of a license that they stay within the confines of that license, right? So there are guard rails you can do this, but it doesn’t mean you can do that. And so there are little bots that you can put out into the internet to find out, you know, where did this Photograph go, right? And there are, certainly there are ways to get around that you know, but there are really sophisticated ways in which attorneys, you know and firms that represent content creators can track the usage of that content around the internet. I’d really like to see a more uniformed system to make that happen. I think that maybe blockchain might reveal some of the ways in which we can do that, but that’s maybe a future development. 

Karl: [00:21:11] I mean you’re trying to tap into something that it seems an interesting area of policy, government policy. So you’re also part of the Georgia sledded legislature representing, the district is 1995 here. Are there legislations that’s happening locally or federally to help corral what’s happening in this area. Especially with the internet because I see so much content being generated and I haven’t, I can’t imagine how someone could begin to manage and regulate all of that. 

Beth: [00:21:56] I think when it comes to managing your content and policing it, you know, I think one of the most important things anybody can do is just first to understand what your rights are. Hopefully they’re listening to your podcast today and they’re starting to pick up on the importance of this. As far as legislation goes, you know, we’re very fortunate in Georgia that about 10-12 years ago. We passed the, what is shorthand called the Georgia film tax credit, you know, which has been a great development for our state to attract the film business here. You know that is an engine of content creation, which has really been great. And so, you know down at the Capitol we’re certainly always, you know, in defense mode of that tax credit. You know, I think that it has so many benefits that we can’t even really measure. That really, that played a

very important role in my decision to get involved in public policy and to run for office. You know, I did not get into politics through politics. I got into it through the Arts and entertainment industry because I see firsthand  how smart state policy can really shape an entire industry and change lives. You know, bringing thousands of new job opportunities to Georgians and helping to develop a generation that has grown up with film and creativity and appreciation for the Arts right here in our own backyard. Georgia has a good history of you know of legendary music and I’m glad to see that happening now in the film industry. I bring up the film tax credit because there is a bill that has been proposed to create, well I should say a couple of years ago, they did pass what is shorthand known as the music tax credit. To essentially grant the music industry some of the same benefits that we granted to the film industry and to try to make sure we have more film business here. We certainly have a lot of talent in Atlanta, but anybody who’s been around the music industry in Atlanta will tell you that we lack some of the upper echelons of the business here. Which you know that like a lot of the record labels that used to be here have left or folded or just gone under. And so, you know, there’s lots that can be done to incentivize, you know music touring. That touring should originate in Georgia because that generates lots and lots of jobs. So they did pass a version of that bill before I arrived in the legislature. There are some issues with that bill. For example, it does provide some tax credits just like the film tax credit. The difference is in under that music legislation, those tax credits are not transferable. The transferability of those tax credits is key. 

Rico: [00:24:47] Transferable between businesses if they were purchased? 

Beth: [00:24:49] Correct. Because the concept of a tax credit is that it gets applied to your next project, right? So, you know, so some film companies may come here, make a film, they get the tax credit. Well, that has value. They can actually sell those tax credits to another company so that they can actually receive text benefit if that Film Production Company doesn’t otherwise have another project going on, right? And so the same could be true of the music tax credit. We created this incentive for production companies and for touring companies to bring their business to Georgia, but we did not make them transferable. And that makes… 

Rico: [00:25:29] Why did they? I mean, is there an another rationale that if it’s transferable maybe that business doesn’t come to Georgia? I mean is there a reason why? 

Beth: [00:25:38] You’ll have to ask the legislators who were there before me. But my understanding is that there was some hesitation about the bill to begin with so they thought well, let’s just get something on the books and we’ll fix it later. But we’re now in the Fix-It phase. But we have encountered some pushback there even though I do think that these are, these are common-sense changes that have bipartisan support. And I really want to encourage the the Arts entertainment working group who currently is vetting that bill to favorably pass it out of their committee. So it can go to ways and means. 

Rico: [00:26:14] Can I ask you about the trends as far as the movie industry goes? Because there’s always that talk that those credits will go away.  And people are fearful of that because then if that goes away, where’s all the production go? You know, that’s what happened to I think it was South Carolina?

Beth: [00:26:28] North Carolina.

Rico: [00:26:30] Where they nixed it. And then a lot of their industry just went away. 

Karl: [00:26:33] They came to Georgia.

Rico: [00:26:35] Yeah, which was good for us now. But there’s still talk, I  think when Kim came in there was some talk at some point. About his campaign about him wanting to do that, about removing that text printed. Do you see any trends there heading that way?

Beth: [00:26:48] You know every public statement that I’ve heard Kim say suggest that he is in support of continuing that tax credit. You know, some of his administration’s actions this year would suggest that maybe they don’t covet the film industry as much as I wish he did. You know because everything kind of works in an ecosystem, you change one thing about Georgia law that has an impact on other areas. And I have serious concerns about things like HP 481, the anti-abortion bill, you know. Which you know, a lot of people don’t want that here in Georgia. They think it is anti-business. And the film industry for the most part agrees with that but I don’t want to make a blanket statement about the film industry there’s certainly, you know, a multitude of political beliefs and affiliation within the film industry itself.  You know, so one of the challenges that we have with the film tax credit, the reason we always have to play defense on it, is because if you look at pure numbers, you see how much the tax credit quote-unquote costs in terms of lost revenue and you might see well that certainly is a lot of revenue that we’re losing. You know, you might question are we even breaking even on that? Is there a return on that investment? And I think it’s really hard to measure that because if you do away with the film tax credit all of that production business goes away, right? There’s, I mean and to me that would be a much larger hit to our state’s economy than if you just looked at how much the tax credit costs in terms of real dollars.

Karl: [00:28:15] I could echo that and I see it. All of the film business that moved into, Georgia generates additional dollars in support. If you look at from a real estate standpoint, AirBnB, since the film industry come and has taken off people that are investors in that part of the economy. All these folks need to be fed. So restaurants catering food, they need signage, they need support. But what I think is really, really understated is the longer the film industry exists here in Georgia. We’re building another generation of folks that are supportive of the Arts, skilled in the arts, able to create films which are jobs. Businesses tied around this other industry. If you look at what it did for California, how many people that live in California are artists are coming in there because the option is there. In New York City to film all where theater is really big and film, there’s a lot of artists that live and support and businesses that go there. It could be short-sighted to look at that how it impacts the other parts of the economy when you look at that. But I see small business owners that generate a lot of business from supporting the film studios here in Gwinnett County. There’s at least three of them that I know of that are driving economic activity. But I see young people choosing career paths that weren’t available 25 years ago before that was here. 

Rico: [00:29:49] That’s right.

Beth: [00:29:50] Yeah, I think you nailed it. You know, I’ll add a couple of more long-term views to this. You know, one of the things I love about the film industry is that it has relatively low environmental impact, right? You know people come in, they make a production, they don’t leave a permanent footprint with one exception. That you know, it can sometimes create a lasting legacy for some of these locations. For example, Rabun County, you know 30-40 years later is still known as the birthplace of Deliverance. And it’s kind of a local draw, right? Yeah and Senoia Georgia, home of the Walking Dead. I mean, you know, this generates you know additional ongoing opportunities in terms of film tourism. You know, I can draw some of those hardcore fans to locations like that. So I think there’s all kinds of benefits, you know. And another one is a lot of people don’t realize that Atlanta is a hotbed of advertising as well. The advertising community in Georgia is incredibly robust. Well, if you think about you know, the life cycle of a film or television show it’s short-term. You have people with these amazing talents in terms of on-screen Talent or behind the screen. You know in front of the camera, you know Gaffers, lighting, sound, all of that. Well when they’re not working on a film and television production a lot of those guys work in advertising, right? So, you know to have those two industries able to kind of coexist side-by-side strengthens both of them. 

Karl: [00:31:25] Have a friend that’s a camera, Steadicam operator and he does films and so on. But in between jobs, he does a lot for commercials, advertising. But that would be harder to find folks like him if the industry didn’t start generating the skill set in this capability within the market here.

Rico: [00:31:46] It took it took a decade, right?

Karl: [00:31:47] Yeah.

Rico: [00:31:48] I mean there was hardly any, just creating props for film sites, or electricians, or woodworkers, or HV AC, or you know, I mean those. As much as we have that industry room to build that infrastructure for the film industry is taking a decade to get there.

Karl: [00:32:06] So I’m curious. I know these arts start when you’re young. Entertainment, whether it can be Sports, it could be music and art. And there’s parents out there that have no real knowledge of how to guide and advise there. What would be some places where parents and people starting out in the business can start to educate themselves? One, about the rights that you mentioned about that they have but really, you know, understanding what are some of the things they need to start putting in place as they’re starting to develop these talents and start putting it out there. Where can they learn more about that? 

Beth: [00:32:40] Well, they can certainly come see me. It actually is quite common that when I am representing somebody who’s maybe a legal minor or you know is still very young, you know, the 18 to 21 range. That their parents will take, you know, almost an ownership stake in their career. It’s kind of, entertainment is kind of unique in that way. You know, if you go off and become a scientist or a lawyer your parents don’t usually get involved. But when it comes to entertainment, it’s arguably a good idea. Because so many people do get taken advantage of and if you know if your child is getting involved in film and television or music, you know, they really need somebody that they can trust to look out for their best interests until the day when they can fully you know, understand and appreciate the legal complexities of what they’re doing. You know, certainly a minor child cannot enter into a contract without their parents consent. There are all kinds of labor laws, you know for minor children on film sets. So I think there’s a lot that parents can do to. First encourage their children to explore the Arts. You know, it’s okay to you know, just you know to make mistakes. It’s okay to just experiment, you know, whether it’s with some kind of visual media or with film and television. I remember my parents have always had a video camera around and so, you know, that’s where I kind of got started in high school was we’d have a class project and I would make it a film. I still have those, by the way. And you know, it’s little things like that that just kind of build up over time and it ultimately impacts the career decisions that your child makes. So, you know I’ll throw out a pitch for myself if you want legal advise parents, you are welcome to come in to be an advocate for your child. You know, you can always in place of your minor child join some of the professional organizations that exist in Atlanta and around the country for various professions. So for example, the music industry,

we have the recording Academy, otherwise known as the Grammys, right? That’s a great networking opportunity, great networking organization. But they also do a lot of educational panels. There are equivalents in the the film industry. Its Georgia Production Partners is one that comes to mind. The Atlanta Film Society puts on the Atlanta film festival and they do a lot of Education Workshops. Yeah, you know if your child is into gaming there’s a Georgia game developers Association there. There’s a lot of parent can do you know to encourage their child and to protect them. And even one of the best things that a parent can do is just to you know, while their child is having fun creating, you know art. You know, if it seems like they’re moving in a direction of that becoming their profession, you know, it’s never too early to start talking with your child about what it means to have a business. You know, what it means to turn their art, you know into money. What it means to make a living in the entertainment industry because there’s not a lot of people that are in a position to have that conversation with artists and I really wish artists had the opportunity to have that conversation more often.

Karl: [00:35:59] I’m curious. Did you play many instruments or do music or what was your art of passion growing up? 

Beth: [00:36:06] I played clarinet in sixth grade band. And I play just enough piano to get by but I actually don’t have very, you know, a whole lot of musical talent myself. Which is partly why I do what I do because I very much wanted to be involved in the Arts and entertainment industry but I had basically no artistic talent myself. So I thought well, what’s the next hardest thing I can do. And I thought well, I’ve always you know, I’ve always been good at school. I will go to law school and become an advocate for people in the Arts and entertainment industry. 

Karl: [00:36:42] Oh, that’s fabulous. I know I was talking to someone a couple weeks ago and they create music on their laptops like so many people do. He does it for fun. And he spends hours and I could think of how many kids do that today.

Rico: [00:37:00] The software on there you can do your own beats, doing all sorts of stuff.

Karl: [00:37:04] They’re doing their own videos and so on but that conversation are early on, you know with their parents on starting to think about the business side of what they’re producing is an opportunity that could guide them. Because when they’re making choices under it’s fun and it’s a game for them when you’re younger, but some of them have some talent and starting to think about putting those things in whether it’s joining the organization, you mentioned. Having a conversation with an attorney that specializes in this so they can make the right choices early on. I always feel once their talent explodes all of a sudden everyone’s grabbing for pieces of it and they’re not prepared in those first few deals or the first few meetings they have. They’re not equipped to understand their rights and how to do that, so.

Rico: [00:37:55] You know, it’s funny because it’s some Industries like acting right to you do have an agent. You have to have an agent to be able to close a deal on an acting gig with the company, right? So some Industries you have some protection you still need a lawyer though everything right?  

Karl: [00:38:09] Absolutely. Well, I really want to thank you. You’ve given us a lot to share with folks that are starting to look at these creative arts and understand the business side. But just curious, you know, do you have anything coming up or things that are coming up as we’re getting late into the running out the final part of the year. Anything that you’ve got going on? 

Beth: [00:38:34] So a couple of things. You know between now and the end of the year and before the next legislative session starts is I’ve been doing a lot of outreach with some of the larger film studios in town. We just toured Eagle Rock studios in Norcross the other week. I actually have a friend who works there and he was excited about me running for office and he knew what I did for a living and said hey why don’t you come down to the studio. So we finally made that happen. It’s an amazing operation that they have going on and you wouldn’t even know it. It just sits in the, in a quiet industrial park in Norcross. So we’re, going to be touring Black Hole in a couple of weeks. We’re waiting to hear back from a couple of Studios. I mostly want some of these studios around town to know that they have an advocate at the state house, right? You know, I am the only legislator in Georgia, the only elected official who actually works in the entertainment industry. It’s a topic that a lot of people down at the Capitol like to talk about but I actually bring that professional experience to the table. Beyond that we have the Esports Summit coming up, you know, this is kind of a new tangential area of the entertainment industry that has really excited me and fascinated me and I’m looking to get more involved in the game industry here. So I will be at the Esports Summit. It’s kind of adjacent to Dreamhack which is coming up and…

Rico: [00:40:02] It’s running at about the same time. 

Beth: [00:40:04] Yeah, it’s a first it’s the Esports Summit and then kind of leads directly into Dreamhack. So it’s that weekend of November 14th through the 17th.

Rico: [00:40:11] The public’s allowed into dreamhack. So, I mean that’s a great place to go if you’re into gaming I mean it’s phenomenal. Thousands of gamers go in there. 

Beth: [00:40:20] It is. It has become the largest Sports industry, you know, eclipsing all of the others. It’s remarkable and I just, I know there’s a lot of young people there and I want to make sure that when they enter into contracts with some of these teams or they enter into some of these contests that they have protection. So I’ll be at that event and I look forward to hopefully meeting some people there. You know, my office is here at Atlanta Tech Park, so I’m not here every day, but if anybody’s up here at the park, feel free to seek me out. I’d love to chat with you.

Rico: [00:40:53] They can find you on Facebook at Beth Moore Entertainment Lawyer.

Beth: [00:40:57] Beth B. Moore simple. Yeah, I do include my middle name. There is another famous Beth Moore out there. So I have to distinguish myself. But yes, I do have a Facebook page where I post a lot of helpful articles kind of introducing folks to some you know, some basic legal concepts to help them along the way. I have a Instagram account and Twitter account. So you can find me there at BethBMoore. 

Karl: [00:41:23] I’d love to share some of that stuff as we talked to business owners and a lot of folks that are thinking about their kids especially, you mentioned Esports. I could imagine how many, kids are trying to convince their parents that there’s a, my career and future in that. But they’re actually not lying. It is actually true to do that. But I think getting education and knowledge out there for folk, getting them in touch with folks like yourself to begin to protect them early on and even incorporating building a business around what they do is really important for them to think about that from the beginning. But we want to thank our guest Beth Moore attorney specializing in entertainment law and intellectual property and she’s also our local Georgia State Representative. You can reach her on various methods both online and here at Atlanta Tech Park. And really thank you for sharing some of these tips and highlighting an industry that’s so large globally, but when it comes from the business side, no one really is talking, exposing and starting to get educated on this. And this is a great first step. So we’d love having you back in and continue the conversation as time goes on. We also want to thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting the Capitalist Sage podcast. If you’re starting a business and looking for a great place, environment to work, where you can get to meet people from diverse backgrounds, technology, entertainment, law, government. It’s a great place to build community. And so you can start by attending an event at Atlanta Tech Park and Peachtree Corners. If you like what you see schedule yourself a tour and find yourself a home to build your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld business advisors in Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are able to help consult whether it’s you’re starting a business or thinking about starting a business. You’re in business and trying to grow it or you’re trying to exit the business and find a buyer. Our team of consultants help people through each phase of that process and Rico.

Rico: [00:43:28] Yes?

Karl: [00:43:29] What’ve you got going on?

Rico: [00:43:30] I have a lot of things going on with many different hats all just pouring down. I’m a publisher of Peachtree Corners magazine. And if you haven’t seen it already. This is the last latest issue that’s come out.

Karl: [00:43:42] Great episode. Another another great issue.

Rico: [00:43:45] Thank you. Thank you. The next one is 20 under 20. Some of the best kids in Peachtree Corners are going to be highlighted that have either impacted the city or their family. Or have done something great in sports, entertainment, science. So we’re going to be doing that a major a cover story for the next issue that’s coming out. Just the end, just before

Thanksgiving. So we’re going to be doing that. As far as Mighty Rockets what I do, my day job, when I’m not doing the publishing part is that I do all sorts of content Marketing Online for companies. Lately I’ve been doing, done a few stop motion animation videos for product videos that I’ve been involved in and we’ve been doing a bit of personal branding for a couple of clients that just want to build their personal brand online. Because of the services that they sell is consultant and such. So busy, I don’t mind. I don’t have a, I can’t do that nine to five thing that we keep talking about. And I’ve heard that book about working seven hours a week. And the rest of it you don’t have to. Or seven days a week whatever it’s something I can’t do that and think my clock doesn’t stop until midnight.

Karl: [00:44:55] I understand. Where can folks find and follow what we do online?

Rico: [00:45:01] Sure. They can find Capital, well, if you search Google Capitalist Sage podcast, you will find us. We’re on iTunes, Iheart, Spotify, SoundCloud  YouTube. ITunes, obviously, leave a review there if you do listen to it there. You can go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you’ll see playlists on the homepage of the latest episodes that we’ve done.

Karl: [00:45:23] Absolutely. And also on Facebook, Peachtree Corners Life. You can go follow us on there. Everytime we post a  new episode it will come up in your feed so you can check in there. And you can follow us on any of those others so you’ll be alerted when there’s a new episode and makes it really easy to share with friends and other folks.

Rico: [00:45:43] You can watch the video on Facebook or on YouTube or listen to the podcast. 

Karl: [00:45:48] Absolutely. Well, thank you everybody. Really it’s been a pleasure to continue to share these episodes with folks. So stay tuned for our next episode. Alright, have a great day.

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Hargray Fiber Partners with Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners to Provide Critical Fiber Connectivity and Infrastructure

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Hargray Fiber

Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners announced its strategic partnership with Hargray to provide critical infrastructure for its Lab and the innovators that use it each and every day. Curiosity Lab is a 5G-enabled autonomous vehicle and smart city living laboratory located in Peachtree Corners, Ga., a northern suburb of Atlanta.

Since its inception 70 years ago, Hargray has grown from a local telephone company to an industry telecommunications leader, offering a wide variety of internet, TV and phone services throughout the southeast. Hargray Fiber, based in Savannah, GA, operates more than 2,000 route-mile fiber network in cities throughout the southeastern United States. Recognizing Curiosity Lab’s commitment to the advancement of smart city technology, Hargray partnered with the Lab to supply it with fiber connectivity. Throughout Curiosity Lab, Hargray’s fiber optic cable will serve as the key infrastructure backbone, with all services using or connected to the Lab’s network benefiting from Hargray’s efficient, seamless transfer of data.

Hargray Fiber will continue its expansion in the Peachtree Corners market by bringing its full suite of communication products including enhanced data, voice and video services including Hosted Unified Communications, Metro-Ethernet, multi-gigabit symmetrical circuits and video services all delivered exclusively over Hargray’s 100% fiber-optic network.

“Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners is a one-of-a-kind location for innovative smart city, wireless and autonomous vehicle companies to test and demo their technology,” said Chris McCorkendale, Senior Vice President, for Hargray Fiber. “Our partnership with Curiosity Lab will help these companies advance their technology and bring to market a broader and more robust suite of communication services to market.”

“As Hargray Fiber continues to expand its southeastern presence, we’re excited to offer leading fiber services to Lab users,” said Betsy Plattenburg, executive director of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. “With Hargray’s Fiber support, companies moving to Peachtree Corners and operating in the Lab will benefit from quick, easy connectivity.”

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MY SALON Suite Celebrates Official Grand Opening of at Town Center

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My Salon Suite

MY SALON Suite in Peachtree Corners celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 21 at its new location at Town Center. Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason was on hand to perform the ribbon cutting, and residents were invited to tour the salon and enjoy refreshments.

A wide range of beauty and personal care services are available at MY SALON Suite, including hair, make-up, skin care, microblading, eyelash extensions and massage therapy. MY SALON Suite provides expansive private salon suites, luxurious décor, elite furnishings and custom amenities to member professionals, who operate their salon businesses independently.

To learn more, visit mysalonsuite.com/peachtree-corners.

Below are grand opening pictures including individual grand openings within MY SALON Suite.

Photography by Remi DeLong

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