Athens-based location manager helps spread production budget to Georgia’s small businesses

Picture one of your favorite scenes from a movie or TV show. Maybe it’s a heart-pounding car chase through the Atlanta streets or the Queen of Soul belting out a song from the choir loft of an old church.

No matter the scene, you can bet it took a small army behind the scenes to make it happen.

Danielle Rusk, key assistant location manager, helps productions assemble that army.

“The location department’s budget spreads money far and wide,” says Danielle. “We spend a lot of money when we go to a location to film. ‘Ground Zero’ gets a large portion but then the money spreads from there, beyond the location fees. Even the local coffee shop benefits when we’re there every day.”

Since she began working in locations department in 2013, Danielle has built relationships with a wide range of businesses across Georgia. She hires companies like Classic Tents & Events in Norcross for tent rentals and Harris Diversified in Dallas, GA, air conditioner rentals. She rents parking lots, bathroom trailers, dumpsters, and heaters. She hires security companies, police officers and firemen. She needs map-makers and engineers. And even bio-hazard removal companies like Bio-One Atlanta when hazardous deep-cleaning needs to be done on location.

That’s a wide variety of Georgia businesses.

Danielle has worked with productions like “Genius: Aretha,” “Hap and Leonard,” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

Recently, Danielle needed to repair an antique wrought iron fence. She reached out to her Facebook group of location managers and found the right company. The group helps each other find obscure vendors to solve just this kind of problem.

Danielle’s mantra is “no surprises.” She says that she is selling trust to the homeowners, businesses and productions with whom she works. It’s her job to find the most efficient, logical way to get the desired result for the production and to communicate all aspects of the shoot to every party involved. For a recent shoot filmed in Woodruff Park, Danielle coordinated with the Georgia State Patrol, the local government, Georgia Power, Trees Atlanta and many others. And that was just for one scene.

“I see the immediate economic impact of the film industry on our local vendors,” says Danielle. “I love that I get to give them work and connect them to our industry. These companies know what we expect and they deliver excellent product and services at the drop of a hat.”

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