Student Entertainment Expert Talk Series

2021 Student Entertainment Expert Talk Series

The Logistics of Production – Part 1
September 15, 2021 at 1:00 PM
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Are you a student between the ages of 13 -24 who is interested in being an Actor? Join DeKalb Entertainment Commission, the DeKalb County School System, and our other event sponsors as we bring the experts to you. Register now to experience an up-close-and-personal conversation with some of the top Film Industry Experts.  September’s event will discuss everything it takes logistically to make a movie. The event is free and open to all students.

The Script Makes the Movie
August 18, 2021 at 1:00 PM
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Are you a student between the ages of 13 -24 who is interested in being an Actor? Join DeKalb Entertainment Commission, the DeKalb County School System, and our other event sponsors as we bring the experts to you. Register now to experience an up-close-and-personal conversation with some of the top Film Industry Experts. The event is free and open to all students.


Ric Reitz
Actor/Writer
Writer’s Guild of America, East & Ric Reitz Writes, Inc.

Ric is an actor, writer, composer, director and producer, who has been active in show business for more than 40 years. He has appeared in over 150 national television shows, feature films and stage productions. He is also president of Ric Reitz Writes, Inc., an international award-winning writing company.

Ric is a Past President of SAG-AFTRA Atlanta, Past President of the Georgia Production Partnership and a former member of the Georgia Film, Video & Music Advisory Commission. As one of the key architects in the development of Georgia’s current entertainment tax incentive law, Ric has played an important role in the resurgence of production in the state.


Mark O’Connell
Writer-Producer/Co-Executive
UFO Witness

Mark O’Connell got his start in “the business” writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Since then, he has had screenplays optioned and placed in development at Al Ruddy Productions, DreamWorks Animation, Launchpad Productions and Disney. Mark’s first book is The Close Encounters Man: How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOS, a biography of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, famed UFO researcher and creator of the “Close Encounters” terminology. The Close Encounters Man was published in 2017 by Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, and is being issued as an audiobook on May 4th. Mark is currently Co-Executive Producer and on-camera expert on UFO Witness, now streaming on the Discovery+ streaming service.


Dawn Douglass
Vice President, Programming
Bounce TV/E.W. Scripps

Dawn Douglass is an Emmy Award Winning Producer who began her career in Media as a high school student working as in Intern at Chicago’s #1 Radio Station, WGCI.   She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Hampton University and a Master of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from Northern Illinois University.  Her passion for contributing to the creative process has led her on a journey that includes, Children’s Programming, Sports, Political Programming, and Entertainment Programming. 

Whether working as a Production Coordinator on a Children’s Program, Video Coordinator for an NBA team, Associate Producer for a Debate series, or Coordinating Producer for multiple series simultaneously, Dawn approaches each project with enthusiasm and excitement as she cultivates relationships and works tirelessly. Among the shows that Dawn has contributed to are, The Steve Harvey Show, Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, Eve, All of UsDave Chapelle’s Killin’ Them Softly, Family Time, Off the Chain, and many others.  Dawn spent eight years at Turner Broadcasting.  She worked as Manager of Program Planning & Acquisitions for five years where she was integral in acquiring content for TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and TCM. 

As the Director of Production at Bounce TV, Dawn was tasked with the responsibility of overseeing Original Productions and ensuring that productions were on schedule and under budget.   Dawn currently serves as the Vice President of Programming at Bounce TV where she is instrumental in acquiring content for both linear and digital platforms.  Her responsibilities include curating and scheduling content as well as long-range planning for multiple platforms.  In her first month at the helm, Bounce had both its best day and best month ever in the history of the network’s ratings. 

Dawn is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.  She is an active member of Ebenezer Baptist Church and she volunteers with the Atlanta Mission.  She is dedicated to nurturing young talent and Dawn served as an Adjunct Instructor at Oglethorpe University for three years where she taught Survey of Broadcast Media.  Dawn lives in Atlanta with her thirteen-year old son, who she credits as her greatest achievement and her greatest inspiration.  Her philosophy of life is, Life is a journey, not a destination.  Enjoy the journey!  


King Leo Bakari
Head Chair
The Atlanta Writers’ Society

 Leo Breckenridge (pronounced breh-ken-ridge) also known as KING LEO BAKARi (pronounced bah-kah-ree), is a songwriter, screenwriter, and rapper. He received his first major song writing credit on Ro James’ interlude “I’m Sorry” in 2016 and released his own sound, Jazz Hop, via his debut album “5: The mAlbum” in 2019. He was signed for representation as a screenwriter with his pilot script “Living Again” starring Dawnn Lewis and TC Carson in 2020. Now, as a proud resident of Dekalb county, Leo serves as head chair of the The Atlanta Writers’ Society – a community of passionate under-represented performing arts writers. Join us at AtlantaWritersSociety.org!

The Power of Set Design
April 21, 2021 at 1:00 PM
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Are you a student between the ages of 13 -24 who is interested in being an Film Production and Set Design? Join DeKalb Entertainment Commission, the DeKalb County School System, and our other event sponsors as we bring the experts to you. Register now to experience an up-close-and-personal conversation with some of the top Film Industry Experts. The event is free and open to all students.

The Sound of Success – Careers in Music
March 31, 2021 at 12:00 PM
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Are you a student between the ages of 13 -24 who is interested in being an Actor? Join DeKalb Entertainment Commission, the DeKalb County School System, and our other event sponsors as we bring the experts to you. Register now to experience an up-close-and-personal conversation with some of the top Film Industry Experts. The event is free and open to all students.


Barry Stoltze
Atlanta AFTRA President, Actor
SAG-AFTRA

Barry Stoltze is a 37 year DeKalb County resident who has been a working union screen actor, stage performer, and voice talent since joining AFTRA in 1979 and moving to Georgia in 1983. He has done innumerable radio and TV commercials and most recently, appeared in “Ozark” and “Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2”.  From 1994-2017, he represented Atlanta on both the local AFTRA Board and local SAG Council (before merger) and has served as the Atlanta AFTRA President and SAG-AFTRA National Board Member.  He is also the Chair of the “Lend Me an Ear” Committee, overseeing the annual member-driven Old Time Radio fundraiser for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, helping raise thousands of dollars and meals for the ACFB.

Additionally, he is the writer/producer of the new musical revue “I Can’t Techno”. Trained in behind-the-scene work as well as in front of the camera or microphone, he is a graduate from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Radio/Television and award-winning filmmaker.  He looks forward to continuing as a DeKalb Entertainment Commissioner, to carrying on the union Call to Arts program with the Atlanta Area School Systems, and to contributing to this hometown team of entertainment professionals.


Michelle Rivera
Chair & Board Member
SAG-AFTRA & Women In Film & Television

Michelle is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of combined finance, management, performance and production experience. She started her entertainment career on the Off-Broadway stages of New York while putting her finance degree to use by managing the Latin American business line at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. on Wall Street.  She re-located to Georgia in 2004, and has performed at the 14th Street Playhouse, Whole World and the Aurora Theatre to name a few and has been seen on hit shows Nashville, Sleepy Hollow and The Resident, as well as feature films Triple 9, The Nice Guys and Chris McKay’s upcoming sci-fi/action film The Tomorrow War out July 2021.

Michelle has produced and written several short films including the award winning cross-generational film, Encuéntrate, which was distributed internationally by the Shorts Entertainment Network. She is currently Executive Producer alongside Arthur Wylie in an upcoming thriller written and directed by Jeffrey Reddick scheduled to shoot Summer 2021.  Michelle has previously served on the SAG/AFTRA Atlanta Board; Co-Chair of the SAG/AFTRA Atlanta Diversity Committee and currently the Board of Women In Film & Television Atlanta as Chair of the Scholarship Committee.


Brian Kurlander
Actor

Brian Kurlander is a Georgia and New York based Actor/Teacher and sometime Writer. Brian’s work in theatre extends from New York City to Los Angeles, as well as with most of the Atlanta’s professional theatre companies. Brian has worked steadily in Georgia’s rapidly evolving film and television industry. In March of 2021 he wrapped production as the lead in the thriller Black Balsam slated for theatrical release in the fall of 2021. He has also appeared in The Good Lie with Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon, Hot Summer Nights with Academy Award Nominee Timothee Chalemet, and played Tupac Shakur’s high school teacher in the bio pic, All Eyez Me as well as the soon to be released WWII drama Sehen/du.

Brian has guest stared on hit shows like House of Cards and Cobra Kai, on Netflix, STAR on the Fox Network, Queen Sugar on OWN, The Inspectors on CBS and on several Tyler Perry shows. An award-winning playwright, Brian co-authored MOXIE which was the recipient of the Suzi Bass – Gene-Gabriel Moore Award as well as the Atlanta Broadway World Award for Best Play. Brian is celebrating 23 years of marriage to his beautiful bride Carrie. They have two exceptional (adult) children.


Nikki Young
Actor/writer/Director/Producer
Chair of Diversity/EEO Committee – SAG-AFTRA

Nikki Young has been involved in television, film and stage productions – either behind the scenes or as a performer – since childhood. She earned a BA from Georgetown University where she was artistic director of Black Movements Dance Theatre.

In 2003, Nikki starred in the independent short film “WINNING LISA,” which she wrote, directed, and produced through her company Nikkiyo Films. In 2006, she produced the theatre production Medley of a Playwright: A Tribute to the Life and Work of August Wilson, featuring scenes from the playwright’s epic ten-play cycle. Nikki’s second film, “WHISTLE LESSON” was an official selection in the 2008 Hollywood Black Film Festival.  She was named an August Wilson Center Fellow in 2013.

A proud member of SAG-AFTRA, she currently serves as Chair of the Diversity/EEO Committee for the Atlanta Local. Her stage, screen and production credits include For Colored Girls, West Side Story, Silence of the Lambs, Drumline, Abduction, Jack Reacher and the Netflix film adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

The Sound of Success – Careers in Music
March 17, 2021 at 1:00 PM
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Are you a high school student who is interested in a Career in Music? Join DeKalb Entertainment Commission, the DeKalb County School System, and our other event sponsors as we bring the experts to you. Register now to experience an up-close-and-personal conversation with some of the top Music Industry Experts. The event is free and open to all students.


Martina Albano
Mastering Engineer & Vice President
Atlanta Chapter of The Recording Academy

Marisa Martina Albano is an Italian Mastering Engineer based in Atlanta, GA. She works on albums for independent artists and record labels. She currently serves as a Vice President on the board of the Atlanta Chapter of The Recording Academy. She is also an Advisor on the board of ATL Collective.

In 2020, Martina Co-founded Onda Blu Studios at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, a Recording and Mastering Studio. Onda Blu Studios also offer Music lessons and Music Production classes.

After Graduating from the Berklee College of Music with a major in Contemporary Writing and Production, Martina spent time in Los Angeles assisting the film composer Nima Fakhrara. Here she worked on the creation of original sound libraries for the video game Resident Evil Revelation2, which sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.

Martina has a rich and diverse background in music. Her extensive experience in singing and writing contributes to her unique approach to mastering. Bridging the gap between musicians, writers, and engineers, Martina lends a unique sonic perspective to every
musical production with which she is involved.

Martina has mastered a wide variety of music including Cassie, Jade Novah, Ro James, Theo Croker, Kameron Corvet, Avery Wilson, Young Greatness, Lucy Graves, and numerous other works for artists worldwide.


Kennard Garrett
Diversity Equity and Inclusion
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS)

Kennard Garrett is an award-winning record producer, composer, and arranger. He has produced and received musician/arranger credit on numerous chart-topping songs for various artists, from the PussyCat Dolls, Jesse McCartney, and Korean pop star BoA, to multi-platinum R&B singer Case, megahit raping sensation J. Cole, and four-time GRAMMY® Award winning rapper-phenom Drake.

In 2018, Garrett produced “Don’t Make Me Wait,” the lead single on the collaborative album 44/876 by international superstars Sting and Shaggy. Don’t Make Me Wait debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae Digital Singles Sales chart and headlined the Super Bowl LII pre-show and Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final series that year. The song was also performed on Good Morning America, the Jimmy Fallon Show, for Queen Elizabeth at her 92nd birthday concert at Royal Albert Hall, and at the 60th Grammy Awards Show. The album 44/876 was toured all over the world across North America, the Caribbean and Europe. It spent 19 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard, and won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Reggae Album at the 61st Grammy Awards in February 2019.

In 2020, Garrett formed the company Westview Drive Enterprises, with multi-platinum, award winning producer Justin “Henny” Henderson. Westview Drive strategically innovates at the intersection of music/media, education and technology. The Company’s first project was the music app “House Mark 1” released in Apple’s App Store in November 2020. Within the first week of its release, it was the No. 1 music app and the No. 4 paid app overall in the App Store. The Company has also consulted on exhibits for the National Museum of African American Music, which opened in Nashville, TN in January of 2021. Henderson and Garrett also served as content creators for the museum.

Garrett serves as the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Ambassador for the Atlanta Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and is a longtime member of the Producers and Engineers wing. A graduate of Morehouse College (Applied Physics) and Georgia Tech (Mechanical Engineering), Garrett is also an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Morehouse College.


Ed Long Jr.
Host & Radio Celebrity of LiT Nights
Radio One’s Praise 102.5 FM

ED Long, Jr. is a true prodigy, whose multi- dimensional talents and alluring personality make him the eye-catching 3rd generation global minister, award winning music artist and entrepreneurial multimedia producer who is sure to educate and empower “The New Skool” to live the “Good Life”. ED is favored and blessed to routinely be invited to speak, perform and serve people in five different continents across the globe.

ED earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Florida A & M University along with his Master of Religious Studies degree from the Beulah Heights University and a Digital Media Production Certificate from the Emory University. Formerly known as Young Dirty Bishop, ED has previously served as the Senior Director of the student ministry at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Stonecrest, Georgia, USA; Host the LiT Nights with ED Long, Jr. Radio Show on Radio One’s Praise 102.5 FM in Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Host of The New Skool Live Radio Show on Streetz 94.5fm in Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Host of The Inspiration Network’s The Mixx Masters Lounge Show, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Founder of The Conquerors Bowl Prostate Cancer Awareness Initiative; and Founder of Empower ATLanta ministry.

ED currently serves as a Special Advisory Board Member for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Stonecrest, Georgia, USA; Chaplain of the Stephenson High School Football Team, Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA; In-Game Host for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream; Music Recording Artist; DeKalb County Office of Youth Services Program Manager, Decatur, Georgia, USA; DeKalb County Police Department Chaplain, Decatur, Georgia, USA; and Founder of Empowering Destiny non-profit organization.

He is also a recipient of The Bernice King BE A KING Award, Atlanta’s Top 30 Under 30 Award, The Trumpet Awards Honorary Award, The Frank Ski Foundation Service Award and a 2006 Stellar Award-winning song writer. ED made multiple appearances on the Oxygen Network’s hit reality television show the PREACHERS of ATLANTA. ED also host In The Spotlight with ED Long on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting (AIB) Network. ED is continuously curating educational & inspirational multimedia-based programs that empower this age to #DontStopKeepGoing!


Cleveland P. Jones
Singer & Songwriter
Graduate of Morehouse College and Berklee College of Music

A distinguished gentleman, Cleveland P. Jones is a singer/songwriter and native of South Carolina. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Berklee College of Music where he prepared diligently for the stages of the world. He has toured internationally, collaborated with notable artists and opened for the soul legend Chaka Khan. Past winner of Soultracks.com New Artist of the Year, Cleveland has released two albums and is currently composing new music to spread love and healing one song at a time.

I’m an Animator – Careers in Digital Entertainment
February 17, 2021 at 1:00 PM
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Are you a high school student who is interested in a career in digital entertainment? Join DeKalb Entertainment Commission, re:imagine/ATL, and the DeKalb County School System as we bring the experts to middle school, high school, and college students of DeKalb County. Students will experience an up-close-and-personal conversation with some of the top Entertainment Experts. The event is free and open to all students.


Marisa (Ginger) Tontaveetong
Executive Director
ASIFA – South International Animation Society

Marisa (Ginger) Tontaveetong is a multidisciplinary Creative Director/ Producer with a specialization in digital/animation production and 12+ years of design background with an MFA in Animation and B.Tech in Computer Graphics/ Multimedia. She is currently the executive director of 501c(3) ASIFA-SOUTH International Animation Society-South headquartered in Atlanta. As an Oscar long-listed animated shorts director, she was a filmmaker-in-residence with the Atlanta Film Festival and currently holds an 01B Extraordinary Ability Visa. She is an independent animation producer/hybrid animation pipeline consultant for studios such as School of Humans in Atlanta and Ubongo edutainment animation studio in Tanzania. With a passion for the synergy of tech automation in the creative field and a passion for improving the creative industry, she works in many capacities for ACM SIGGRAPH as the Early Career Development Chair and as a strategic adviser for the board of directors at ACM SIGGRAPH on the Nurturing communities and Digital Presence committee.


Jeff Yu
Member of VR Content Development Team
Pulseworks

Jeffrey Yu is a multi-media design professional with more than a decade of experience in the creative industry. He has worked on graphic novels, video games, board games, real-time animated televised cartoon series, Netflix feature films, and developed VR experiences located around the United States. Jeff graduated in 2012 from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a double BFA in Sequential Arts and Animation.

Jeff illustrated several key storyboard scenes for a show pitch with Persistence of Vision Pre-Vis that eventually became the NBC Universal syndicated real-time animated cartoon show called Zafari. Afterwards, Jeff worked at Cool Mini Or Not as a graphic designer and visual artist to create marketing materials for board game titles such as Zombicide, Rising Sun, and Song of Ice & Fire. During that time, Jeff became involved with in-house game development to create concept art and illustrations for table-top skirmish games such as Dark Age, Wrath of Kings, as well as card games and mobile app games released for STEAM based on the Xenoshyft series. He provided graphics for CMON’s ubiquitous Kickstarter campaigns, many of which reached the funding goal within an hour. Several campaigns broke one million dollars in pledges in less than a day.

Today, Jeff is part of a VR content development team at Pulseworks, creator of simulator rides with locations in the Georgia Aquarium, The Smithsonian, Warner Robbins Airforce Museum, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Since 2019, he has worked on titles such as Cosmos Coaster, and Apollo & Beyond released for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing mission.


Cristina Moreno
Animator
SCAD Graduate

Cristina Moreno is a 2016 graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design, with a Master’s
Degree in Animation. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cristina has been entrenched in the arts from an early age and considers herself a jack of all trades when it comes to artistic disciplines–she has worked on modeling, rigging, animating and developing textures for 3D projects, and has also participated in fan-run ‘reanimation’ projects where different artists recreate scenes from a cartoon episode and edit the shots together to form a collage of styles. She has also created illustrations for video games and private clients and taught as an instructor at Painting with a Twist.

I Want To Be in Entertainment – Careers in Film
January 27, 2021 at 1:00 PM
Missed This Panel? Click Here For The Tapped Panel!

Are you a high school student who is interested in a career in film? Join DeKalb Entertainment Commission, re:imagine/ATL, and the DeKalb County School System as we bring the experts to students of DeKalb County. Students will experience an up-close-and-personal conversation with some of the top Entertainment Experts. The event is free and open to all students.


Kenya Brock
Director of Digital Operations and Marketing
Katz Network (A Division of The E.W. Scripps Company)

Kenya Brock is the Director of Digital Operations and Marketing for Katz Networks, a division of The E.W. Scripps Company. In this role, Brock is responsible for showcasing the best in class consumer experience as well as developing and executing digital marketing strategies for all Katz Networks websites, apps, and platforms, which include Bounce, Brown Sugar, Court TV, Court TV Mystery, Laff, Grit, and The List. Brock is a multi-platform B2B/B2C marketing, partnership, media, and e-commerce professional with over 15 years of experience leading teams that promote high-quality, revenue-generating content and brands for the media and entertainment industry.

Prior to her current role, Brock solely focused on Brown Sugar as the Director of Marketing. She also worked as a Senior Account Supervisor at POSSIBLE in Cincinnati, OH, and subsequently as the Director of Partner Development for WCPO-TV Digital/EW. Scripps.  Previously, Brock spent 10 years with WarnerMedia (formerly Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.) in Atlanta, GA. She began as a marketing assistant for Turner Network Television (TNT) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and was promoted to roles of increasing responsibility. She rounded out her stint at WarnerMedia as Senior Manager of Partnerships. She was responsible for developing and implementing strategic promotional partnerships with leading brands that increased sampling, reach, and awareness for the Turner networks.

Brock has a Bachelor of Science degree in Film and Television from Boston University. She currently serves on the Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Southeast Chapter board as Sr. Director of Marketing and Communications. She is also on the Alumni Board of Visitors at The Seven Hills School (Cincinnati, OH) as a writing, resume, and career coach for The Posse Foundation and is a Marketing Committee Member for The Children’s Museum of Atlanta.


Lisa Cunningham
Director/Producer
Radiant3

Lisa Cunningham is a native of Atlanta and entered into film production while attending the University of Georgia. She is a sought after Producer/Director and over the past 20 years she has been actively involved in the production community in Atlanta with her work spanning throughout film and television on hundreds of projects. Now with a strong footing in digital content, Lisa has produced and or directed projects for McDonalds, W Hotels, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, The City of Atlanta, The History Channel and many more. Lisa is also a diversity and inclusion consultant and has produced digital content and events within that space.

As an influencer, Lisa was selected by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to serve on the inaugural LGBTQ Advisory Board for the City of Atlanta. Her community involvement continues as a philanthropist who devotes her time to several local charities focused on disadvantaged youth and underserved minorities.

Lisa is also a sought after motivational speaker whose topics range from Diversity + Inclusion to Atlanta Film Advocacy and Personal Development.


Bem Joiner
Culture Curator and C-Founder
Atlanta Influences Everything

Bem Joiner believes in Atlanta. Born and raised in the city, he has a pure passion for its people and its progress, and he majorly contributes to what makes culture in Atlanta, cool and captivating. As a culture curator and co-founder of the creative consultancy/brand, Atlanta Influences Everything, Bem has managed and consulted a variety of lifestyle brands and designed meaningful programs for clients like Sprite, Mississippi Dept. of Education, truth.com, Jack Daniels, Nissan, the National Black Arts Festival and countless others. He has also booked “early-adopter” shows for Drake, Kendrick Lamar and the Goodie Mob reunion.

Bem is also one of the founders of CreativeCall.org which is a community service effort/collaboration between Atlanta and Stockholm creatives and was most recently the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Center for Civic Innovation in South Downtown Atlanta. He is also currently sitting on the boards of three non-profits, Chop Art & The Wren’s Nest and the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project.

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