In the 45 years between Clyde Bryan beginning and ending his film career in Georgia, he’s seen a lot of change. Most dramatic was the explosive growth of the industry since the tax credit went into effect.
“When I started in 1973 there weren’t a lot of jobs,” Clyde says. “There were only a small number of filmmakers here and you really had to know someone to get inside. The only jobs available were in commercials, documentaries and training films.”
Finding few open doors in Georgia, he went to California, where he found plenty of work with Producer Roger Corman churning out films for the sci-fi and drive-in audiences.
Born in Texas, Clyde grew up in Ellijay, GA, and went to high school in Alabama. His years in California as a first assistant camera were productive, but he and his wife Maureen always talked about coming back to Georgia after their three children grew up. Besides, based in Los Angeles he was on the road six to nine months each year. The cost of living was high. “We wanted a change in lifestyle and fell in love with the idea of living on a lake in Georgia,” he says.
By the time he returned to Georgia in 2006, the film industry had changed. Feature film and television production was expanding. The tax credit created dramatic growth. “This was a godsend for me and my wife,” Clyde says. “In one year I was home more than in any of my previous 25 years in California.”
There was plenty to keep him busy, including work on two popular television series –– “Ozark” and “Stranger Things” –– and two productions of “The Hunger Games.” Over the years Clyde has worked on more than 128 productions.
Now he’s retired but giving back to the industry by working on an internship program sponsored in part by the International Cinematographers Guild. Participants learn some of the crafts of filmmaking and make contacts that will help them get jobs.
“I’m delighted when I see how many people can get jobs in Georgia these days,” Clyde says. “Apart from the film work itself, the industry brings in a lot of money in construction, hotels, food services and equipment suppliers. What’s more, a lot of tourists travel to see the locations where their favorite movies were made.”
And by the way, Clyde and Maureen live on that lake they always dreamed about –– Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville.