With Georgia becoming well known as a movie production location spot, the need for actors, artists and filmmakers is also growing. In Thomaston, Indy Riot Studios, located in a small white building at 1946 Highway 19 North, is hoping to become a creative hub for artists in Upson and the surrounding communities.
Indy Riot Studios was founded by Will Frierson of Barnesville, and John Baxter and Keith Herring, both from Thomaston. They all have daytime employment, so the studio is mainly open nights, usually from 5 to 9 p.m. They offer art classes for all ages, photography classes, film making classes, and acting classes.
“We all started as independent film makers,” Baxter said. “We did films around town. Most of it just went to YouTube, but we had a couple of things that went to film festivals. Then Will started talking about us having our own little place that we could work out of and do projects on a constant basis, and this is what happened.
“We’re film-makers on YouTube, photographers, artists, a lot of different things under the umbrella of art, Frierson added. “We’re interested in any form of talent, whether it be acting, art, filmmaking. We’ve transformed because we started as a photography studio and over time it evolved into what it is now, which is more of an art studio.
“We’ve talked about doing this for a long, long time. We kept saying we wanted a studio where we could work on our stuff and collaborate with people. That’s what it started out as, and as we’ve gone along we figured out we needed to run it like a business, so we’ve expanded.”
Indy Riot Studios offers a lot of the same classes and assistance as larger studios closer to larger cities, but at a fraction of the cost.
“A lot of people have to travel to Atlanta, Macon, or Columbus to find the things that you can find here in west central Georgia,” Baxter noted. “Hollywood has come to Georgia and if people want to get into acting, there are things they have to do, like head shots and auditions, and we’d like to provide those services for a reasonable price. In those other places, it can cost a lot of money.
“We’re also reaching out to the local businesses, helping them do promotional stuff, photography, commercials tailored to their business on social media or local TV stations.
“This is a passion. We’re not trying to get rich; we’re just trying to provide a service. We just love seeing creative people get together. That’s what we’re all about.”
Herring said most of their business doesn’t come from walk-in traffic.
“It comes from events that we put up on Facebook. Sometimes we just do random events, like a balloon fight we did with the balloons filled with paint. In October we’re going to offer a photo shoot with a green screen, where we’ll take shots in front of the green screen and replace the screen with zombies and other things for Halloween.”
They also offer weekly art classes for youngsters, and Herring said the response they have gotten to the classes is inspiring.
“When I see the kids come to classes excited, or see kids in here practicing lines, I think, ‘This is awesome. This is what we wanted to do.’”
In October, local actress Sherry Peterson will be offering acting classes. This is for people that want to become actors and learn the craft. It’s a six week course. Each class last two hours.The fee is $150 for the entire course.
Also in October, the studio will be hosting painting parties every Saturday. Classes are $20 per painter, unless otherwise noted. They will start on Oct. 3 with a Two Pumpkins Painting Party. On Oct. 10 will be a Spooky House on Hill Painting Party. On Oct. 17 will be a Scary Whimsical Tree Painting Party. Oct. 24 will be a Halloween Party, and Oct. 25 will be a Paper Mache Skull Painting Party. Oct. 31, Halloween Day, there will be a special painting party still being organized. The painting parties will continue on into November.
For more information or to register for upcoming classes, look on Facebook at Facebook.com/IndyRiot, email at IndyRiot@gmail.com, or call them at 770-573-3686.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.