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Fund Open to Independent Filmmakers and Entrepreneurs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, December 22, 2017

ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed today announced the new Creative Industries Fund, a joint project between the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment and Invest Atlanta to assist independent content creators and creative entrepreneurs in the City of Atlanta.

The program offers loans with low interest rates and flexible repayment terms for local creative entrepreneurs to use for production, post-production, distribution, marketing outreach, touring, prototype development, product development and sales and attraction for their creative projects.

Applications for the Creative Industries Fund are open to independent content creators and creative entrepreneurs operating within the City of Atlanta who plan to create within the City of Atlanta, independent content creators and creative entrepreneurs registered as a business within the City of Atlanta, and independent record and management companies operating within the City of Atlanta, as well as their talent located within the city.

Applications for the Fund will be made through Invest Atlanta; a new Creative Industries Advisory Board will review the applications and make funding decisions. Awards will be made through Invest Atlanta, which will report on all approved awardees to the Invest Atlanta Economic Development Committee.


Grand Prize Singles Experience Venue Rendering is Revealed!

We just unveiled the artist rendering of the Grand Prize Singles Experience venue. It is breathtaking. In the lower part of the complex are two ballrooms (one converts into a swimming pool & deck) with retractable roofs. Also, in giving the red carpet treatment there's a bakery, flora, wedding and gift shops. Wait till you see our atrium illustration, coming soon!

In our upper level, there's our intimate theater at one end and our upscale restaurant "Couples"! Between these two beautiful spaces is our elegant lounge with two balconies. Not only is it a space to meet & greet but below the lounge there's a heated Olympic size pool & bar area to throw private parties. It's also a perfect spot to film a television, movie or music video scene!
Soon we will review how the local art colleges can have an opportunity to showcase their talents! Stay tuned...


My Short Story of Being an Extra on a Movie Set

By Cleon T. Day, III, CPS

Extra: "A background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking or non-singing (silent) capacity, usually in the background (for example, in an audience or busy street scene."

I have been an extra on two films and two commercials back in the eighties. My first time working on a movie set began when a friend asked me if I would like to work as an extra. The film was being shot in an open field somewhere outside of Atlanta, and they were paying $75. It was during a weekday, so I took a vacation day from work.

“Go Tell It On The Mountain” starring late veteran actor Paul Winfield was the movie I’m to “star” in this day. It was a period film, 1035; the set was a dusty old backwoods town in the South with a dirt road running through it. I was given a period costume, a white long sleeve shirt with puffed sleeves, a pair of brown britches with brown suspenders, a brown wool jacket, brown boots and a wool cap.

Call time for extras was 12 o’clock noon. There were three scenes being shot that day. I was in the first and last scene. The entire shoot lasted 14 hours; we finished shooting at 2 a.m. in the morning. Of course, we weren’t told ahead of time how long it would be, and everyone wasn’t in all three scenes.
What I found to be most interesting in being on a movie set is the scene may be three to five minutes, however, the amount of the time spent in setting up camera shoots between each shoot. Of course, retakes (reshoots) are unavoidable but still, waiting around between takes does become tiresome. Although, we did have a table full of sweets and fruits to eat between takes and a meal break with catered food. The actors ate first and then the extras. I can’t remember what we ate but I do remember it tasted good, and we could have seconds!

As the day unfolded into the night the weather started getting colder, good thing I had a jacket. It was time to shoot the third scene so the director called on the remaining extras. He asked me to run past the storefronts because I was being chased. After the first take, “our” director told me I did well but for the camera I needed to slow down. He said, a “normal chase” run on camera looks like a flash and not a person. I told him okay. Then for the next take the director asked me to remove the jacket and now I was at the mercy of a cold night.

After two more shoots the director said “Cut, that’s a rap and thank you”! I just shot my first movie! Wow! I did get to see Paul Winfield shoot one scene, the second one and he was done for the day while I had to stay and finish the day’s shoot.

I can’t remember how long it took for the TV movie to come out but I was able to catch it. It was my hope neither of my two scenes ended up on the cutting floor. The first scene I shot showed me next to baskets of real fruit (which they told us not to take because there was polish on it to give it a gloss). I was sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of a local grocery store. I was still in it, yeah! In my last scene where I ran I got a surprise, after I had passed the storefronts there was some people yelling behind me. Oh my Lord, I was being chased by the Ku Klux Kalan. Their scene wasn’t filmed the same day I performed. It was funny! 

Couples Dining & Show

Couples, Dinner & Show is our premier dining restaurant offering a fusion cuisine and featuring the best talents in our community who may very well get their start here. Television and film productions will find it to be a beautiful space for filming a scene(s) with its innovating concept!

This unique dining experience has tables for what else, couples, its motto is Couples “where no one has to eat alone”. You can come in with a friend, a partner, a date, a spouse or come alone and if you’re open to it, we will seat you with another single person to get to know, separate bills of course! Remember, you don’t have to walk down the aisle with them; you’re just eatin’ and taking in a show.

We will have singers, musicians, dancers and entertainers from our community giving their all. Couples, Dinner & Show and other spaces throughout the complex will feature artwork in various forms, paint, pencil, pen, charcoal, photography, sculpture and other artistic work from the LGBT community.

It is a wonderful opportunity to market our talents to the world. Who knows, an artist work may be featured in a movie, television show or video shoot shot on site. We call Couples, Dinner & Show, very, very sexy! As in Tina Turner’s “Rollin’ Down the River”, sometimes we like it nice and easy and sometimes we like it nice and rough, rollin’ down the river”.

Our live dinner show is very, very adult, featuring male and female singers singing with a sexy twist. We won’t reveal it to you now; you have to see it to believe it. From time to time you may see a high profile singer performing a selection of their upcoming new songs.

Oh, we’re not leaving our audience out of the performances, in each act we will be involving members from our audience, of course, not forcibly but I can’t see why anyone would resist. Stay tuned!

Couples, Dinner & Show is also a location for dining scenes in a video, television and movie shoot. Catering is available to principals, extras, staff and production teams.


The Grand Prize Theater

Grand Prize Theater is a unique format for the film industry; television and movie scenes can be filmed, as well as videos can be shot. Also, it’s a wonderful space to hold focus groups or private movie screenings. 

It is a theater in the round with a hydraulic stage in the middle. Synergy is generated throughout the venue using couches rather than chairs for the guests. The design of the theater’s interior has been created to give an up close and personal feel.

The theater also serves as a private space where men can meet men without fear of any homophobia deterrence around. It is a unique way for men to meet the man they want to meet and having to experience “a fear of rejection”.

We’re keeping a lot under wraps and not revealing it now but stay tuned.  Oh but there is one thing more, there’s no charge to get in, compliments of our CEO!

The Grand Prize Theater Filming

Happy Couple

Wedding Bells Blues

We have two beautiful halls to wed and receive guests in for a reception. Filmmakers have a number of uses for these rooms, one even transforms into an indoor/outdoor pool & deck. The pool area is an excellent space to shoot a pool party music video!

“Here comes the Brides, here comes the Guys”! Wedding Bells Blues is not a space recently converted over from a place once refusing to marry same-sex couples to now marrying them since gays can now legally get married.

Wedding Bells Blues is an original, a place designed and focused on same-sex couples and welcoming of all couples! Our wedding packages are about you the couple; we are here to support you with your ideas!

You Ought to be in Movies; You Ought to be the Star

Grand Prize is a single experience for filmmakers to have some options in a free-standing facility, shooting in one location. Directors looking for unique settings The GPS Experience is just for you! Our premier restaurant, Couples, Dinner & Show, a sculpture shaped diamond in the sky elevated above the roof.

The GPS Experience has a green room for the principals and their entourage. We also have a game room are available to pass the time between shots. Catering is available for the production crew, principals and extras are also a plus. The facility also has an intimate theater in the round which seats 700. There are two Grand indoor/outdoor ballrooms, one converting into a pool and deck!

Couples, Dinner & Show has a touch of the upscale restaurants during the “Big Band Era” with the big stage, intimate seating and orchestra area. Although it’s scaled down, it still gives you feeling of a grand space. The dining room seats 500, which includes an enclosed balcony.

Singles Who Love Seeing Movies and Film Directors Who Love Making Them

The GPS Experience is an upscale mixed-use development facility providing a safe space for homosexuals to mingle in a non-bar and club environment. Spacious, yet intimate spaces have been designed for couples to meet, dine, date, swim, sunbathe, or have a grand wedding. The complex not only features social spaces but also has rental space for filming television & movie productions as well as shooting music videos.


Grand Prize Theater & More…

Grand Prize Theater is an intimate mix-use facility where a television commercial might be shot or a music video. From indie films to big movie productions to blockbuster’s sequels the theater can add that touch you may be looking for in a certain scene. It is a classy, state of the art production environment!

We created a flexible space to accommodate production wants and needs. The theater is so important to the Arts and having a facility to complement its vision is what we had in mind in our planning. This is a wonderful atmosphere not only for moving making but to hold prescreening and auditions! Keep making us laugh, cry and a little bit scared!

As we said earlier, the Grand Prize Theater is a mix use space. Its intimate setting is not only used by filming industry but also serves as a safe space for single men to meet and greet other single men. It’s hard for men to meet men without the fear of men whose orientation is hatred.

Sometimes men can tell “family” (men with the same sexual orientation) when they see them, but it still isn’t enough. The men might not feel comfortable to acknowledge their each other out in public. Being the initiator or on the receiving end, there’s a fear of being outed if approached which stops both of them from meeting one another! The Grand Prize Theater meeting space eliminates that fear!


Good advice from former President Barack Obama on marriage.

Good advice from former President Barack Obama on marriage.
A He has some great experience from his relationship with Michelle Obama to pull from.

Obama’s former communications director Dan Pfeiffer describes receiving some advice from President Obama on marriage. He said, “the president reportedly said that the “advice [he] gives everyone about marriage” is to ask yourself three questions about your potential spouse”.
Obama said, as the first question, “Is she someone you find interesting? You will spend more time with this person than anyone else for the rest of your life, and there is nothing more important than always wanting to hear what she has to say about things.”

Question two is. “Does she make you laugh?”. And the last question is, [in referring to a couple wanting children], “Do you think she will be a good mom”? Life is long. These are the things that really matter over the long term.”

While on Ellen DeGeneres’ show in 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama stated how to stay married. It’s something we hear all the time. Michelle said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. She said of her husband “I kind of give him a pass”.

The couple’s advice is simple and yet something to deeply think about. Although, the questions were speaking in heterosexual terms, the president who supported Same-sex marriage and became the law of the land, could easily be applied to same-sex couples!

Grand Prize Singles Experience is a place where all single people can meet, become a couple, date, and begin to answer these questions for themselves!!


Supreme Court Sides With Colorado Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple

Supreme Court Sides With Colorado Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple
On Monday, June 4, 2018 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who had refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The court’s decision was narrow, which is a small nugget, given that it left open the larger question of whether a business can discriminate against gay men and lesbians based on rights protected by the First Amendment. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s gave the majority opinion. The Court's decision turned on the argument that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which originally ruled against the baker, had been shown to be hostile to religion because of the remarks of one of its members.

At the same time, Justice Kennedy strongly reaffirmed protections for gay rights.

“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts,” he wrote, “all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”

Considering the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, it becomes clearer, there is a need for a place like the GPS Experience.

We are a LGBT base business organization leasing space to the film, television, and music industry, and providing safe welcoming spaces for the LGBT community. The GPS Experience has a place for community members to meet, dine, wed, and have private events.


Ant-Man and The Wasp

Ant-Man and The Wasp, sequel to 2015's Ant-Man, which made $178 million in the US, will be landing on the big screen this weekend. Directed by Peyton Reed, staring Paul Rudd as Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp (Hope van Dyne), Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, Michael Peña as Luis, and Atlanta’s own T.I. as Dave.

The movie also stars, Michelle Pfeiffer as the original Wasp (Janet van Dyne) and Lawrence Fishburne as Black Goliath (Bill Foster). This is another Marvel movie franchise shot in and around Atlanta.

Grand Prize Singles Experience plans to get in some of the action in the near future! "


An Open Letter to the LGBT Community

Grand Prize Singles Experience, LLC is not a political organization, however, when you are in a group that has been marginalized by society, it goes with the territory! In the challenging post-election anxiety we really don't know what's going to happen. Some of the things we have gained in the LGBT community, their allies and advocates may be in jeopardy.

One thing I do know, we're not going to let "them" roll back anything without a fight. In 2018 and the next 4 years there is going to be "the power of resistance" taking over if our rights are taken away or future rights are stopped. Power to the people!

On December 4th The Army Corps did not approve an easement necessary to permit the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The very loud outcry of resistance who have protested the oil pipeline over recent months was a big victory for the Native American tribes and thousands of others!

It can be done, despite this administration's possible attempts to rework The United States Constitution and president executive Orders! Stand with us, support LGBT entrepreneurs and invest in our community!
By Cleon T. Day, III, CPS
CEO Grand Prize Singles Experience, LLC


Grand Prize Lookin’ for a Winner, a Dating & Relationship Guide for Gay Men of Color

Book Review by author/Blogger/Georgia Voice Editor Darian Aaron

Are you tired of failed relationships? Tired of being lonely? Have you bought into the lie that same-gender relationships between men of color don't last? Are you determined to enter into a meaningful relationship in 2009? If you answered yes to any of those questions then you might want to pick up "Grand Prize, Lookin’ For A Winner!" by Atlanta author Cleon T. Day, III.

Day, a self-proclaimed dating expert has written a practical dating & relationship guide specifically for gay men of color. The book is filled with helpful common sense techniques that you'd think most couples would apply in order to maintain a healthy relationship, but it's these important techniques that often go unused that ultimately leads to the end of potentially successful relationships.

With chapters delving into dating etiquette, long-distance relationships, chemistry, compatibility, red flags, monogamy, and Polisivity- a term coined by Day himself to describe a different take on monogamy between a group of brothas committed to one another exclusively. Yeah you read right...a group! :)

Grand Prize, Lookin For A Winner may be just the guide you need to jump start your dating experience.

(Aaron is a member of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists)


Georgia, Hollywood of the South?

The Georgia film industry is booming with over 33 TV shows and movies currently filming here. Marvel Cinematic Universe's last three movies were filmed in Atlanta. “Spider-Man," Ant-Man,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain America” were all filmed here! Three more Marvel films are coming soon out of ATL. Then there’s the Fast & Furious franchise, three of seven were filmed in Atlanta and are currently shooting its 8th movie with Georgia’s own native rapper Ludacris!

Georgia has been coined as “Hollywood of the South.” By one study, Georgia is behind the United Kingdom as the third largest film industry in the world. There are those in the industry who expect Georgia’s film industry to continue to grow where one day it may be the prime location for filmmaking in the world!

Besides the Peachtree Streets names, Atlanta is known as the “home of reality shows”, from the most watched housewives show franchises, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, to doctors and their wives reality show entitled “Married to Medicine, to the upcoming (2017) Daytime Divas, Atlanta is a reality. It’s also a test market for reality shows, recently trialing the reality show “The Preachers” earlier this year. If you can make it here, you can syndicate it anywhere!

“Dish Nation”, a popular entertainment news format syndicated television show is filmed here. Hosted by comedian Ricky Smiley and his team of national celebrities informing viewers of the trending gossip, reporting celebrity news, giving hilarious commentaries and having international stars gracing its studio.

There are very three popular shows from the dark side of the moon filmed here, “The Walking Dead”, The Vampire Diaries” and The Originals. By the way, one day a friend and I were at the Whole Foods on Ponce De Leon and saw actor/model Charles Michael Davis who portrays Marcel Gerard, a vampire turned by Klaus, his former protégé. We found Mr. Davis to be a very pleasant and genuine person!

You will see a number of celebrities spotting throughout Atlanta from the music, television and movie industry. In Atlanta, stars are able to move around freely without being bombarded by the paparazzi and aggressive fans, “Southern Comfort”! That’s a good reason for more celebrities to make Atlanta their second home!

The GPS Experience is an ideal shoot location, and will give you a taste of that “Southern Comfort”, making you feel at home!


Spotlight on Dating

A few people who have no problems getting dates may say to those who want to know their secret “It’s easy as pie.” Folks getting back on the LGBT dating scene may hear “It’s like riding a bicycle, you never forget.” However, baking a pie ain’t that easy for non-bakers and with age may easily come broken bones and longer healing. Plus, dating has gotten a whole lot more expensive nowadays.

According to a report by research firm IBISWorld, the dating industry is now worth about $2.2 billion, up 4.8% between 2013 and 2014, Of that, around $1.1 billion is from online dating, $576 million is from mobile apps such as Grindr and Tinder, and the rest is made up mainly of matchmakers and singles events. Nielsen market research firm states 10% of the U.S. population (Roughly 30 million) visit dating sites every month. Many people invest a lot of dollars to make a perfect match. The Grand Prize Singles Experience is a safe space where men can meet men and women can meet women. By the way, it won’t cost you a thing! Grand Prize Lookin’ for a Winner, a Dating & Relationship Guide for Gay Men of Color e-book supports you on your dating journey. Stay tuned for our launch date!

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the formation on the city’s first LGBTQ Advisory Board, advising the mayor on LGBTQ issues.

In her announcement, Mayor Bottoms stated.
“ I am proud to welcome our first full-time employee dedicated solely to liaising with our LGBTQ constituents, and I am equally proud to welcome such a distinguished group of community advocates and leaders to the City’s LGBTQ Advisory Board. ”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha lance Bottom’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, composed of citywide leaders and advocates, will serve as a liaison between the City Hall and residents of the LGBTQ community. It will be engaged in shaping the City’s policies and engagements Malik Brown, a HRC Board of Governors member has been appointed as the LGBTQ Affairs Coordinator. Mr. Brown will be the first full-time City of Atlanta official to focus on building a strong relationship between City Hall and Atlanta’s large LGBTQ community Brown, a lifelong Atlantan, has worked with the Human Rights Campaign and AID Atlanta, a non-profit organization focused on HIV & AIDS services, based in Atlanta.

(Atlanta received a score of 100 on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index, which examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are of LGBTQ people who live and work there.)".


BATWOMAN

Coming soon to television, Batwoman, is being developed by CW, adding to the network's collection of shows based on DC comics characters.

The TV adaptation of Batwoman is to become the first live-action superhero series with an openly gay lead character. Strangely enough, she was introduced in the 1950s as a love interest for Batman to dispel rumors of his own homosexuality. However, Batwoman has since become the highest-profile openly gay character of any DC comic.

Batwoman was reintroduced in 2006 as a gay woman called Kate Kane. The show's synopsis describes Kate Kane as an "out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city's criminal resurgence".

Her character is "armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind". However, she must "overcome her own demons" before emerging as a hero in Gotham City. Look for Batwoman coming into your timeslot soon…

Batwoman

LGBT People of Color introduced a new LGBT flag that’s Inclusive

AIn 1978, the rainbow flag was created by artist, designer, Vietnam War veteran and then-drag performer, Gilbert Baker. He was commissioned to create a flag by another gay icon, politician Harvey Milk, for San Francisco’s annual pride parade.
Within the flag, the different colors were meant to represent togetherness, since LGBT people come in all races, ages and genders, and rainbows are both natural and beautiful.


The flag was originally created with eight colors, but pink and turquoise were removed for production purposes, and since 1979 it has consisted of six colored stripes. The colors were determined to symbolize: life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony/peace (blue), and spirit (purple/violet). During the late 1980s and early 1990s, a black stripe was sometimes used to represent the AIDS victims


A little over a year ago, June 2017 in Philadelphia, a new gay-rights symbol emerged: a pride flag with additional black and brown stripes above the rest of the rainbow. It was revealed at the Pride Month Kick-off event as part of a new campaign, More Color More Pride. developed by Tierney, a local ad agency that worked with Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs.


In an interview with Tierney Executive Director Amber Hikes, CNN’s Nancy Coleman writes, “The flag aims to recognize nonwhite LGBT communities as part of the broader pride movement, starting with the most visible and widely-recognized symbol of the LGBT community. 

LGBT flag

The stripes represent LGBT individuals of color, a group that can often be overlooked within the overall LGBT umbrella”.


The Spy Who Dumped Me, the Atlanta Connection

The Spy Who Dumped Me had its national-wide opening weekend.  It’s a action/comedy film directed by Susanna Fogel and co-written by David Iserson, starring Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, and Sam Heughan. 

Its storyline follows two friends who get chased through Europe by assassins after one of their ex-boyfriends turns out to be a CIA Filming was based in Budapest and will take in locations including Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna during the 10-week shoot. It also has an Atlanta connection.

The Spy Who Dumped Me needed to have some re-shoots.  Re-shoots happen when a movie entire scenes are redone, These shots occur months after the sets have been struck, the costumes and props have been stored, and all the cast and most of the crew have moved on to other projects. 

There it is, Atlanta gets in a picture again!