A new professional social network aimed at film industry workers is taking root in Atlanta, and it’s backed by some major Hollywood names. GPB's Sarah Rose reports.

When someone hears names of Hollywood mainstays like Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, they probably think of Howard's extensive directing career or Grazer's tenure as a producer of some of the biggest films in the past several decades.

Now, Howard and Grazer are teaming up with other industry faces, including film producer and former Imagine Entertainment Executive Vice President of Motion Pictures and Head of Animation Tyler Mitchell, to fill what they think is a void in their industry: a networking platform that connects film industry workers with productions seeking their talent.

Impact has launched their service in Atlanta, which has made waves in the past decade as a popular city for filming television series and movies — including popular Marvel Studios titles and shows like Netflix's Stranger Things.

Mitchell said the team behind Impact saw technology and modern social networking as an important tool for the future of jobs in film — and possibly a disruptor for the current status quo.

"We started, in fact, because we wanted to create technology that could help solve challenges in the entertainment industry and empower the people who bring stories to life," he said. "And while there's been tremendous innovations in filmmaking and television with things like digital effects and streaming, the actual mounting and producing of a show hasn't changed much in the 20 years that I've been in the in the business."

The change that Impact hopes to bring to film is a better medium for workers — set builders, production assistants, camera operators — to connect with productions looking to hire them. Mitchell said Impact seeks to be the one to bridge the gap.

Mitchell said the network currently has 21,000 users, with roughly 4,000 in Atlanta. He said Impact's hope is to use technology to unite the film industry.

"We actually launched the platform just a couple of weeks ago," he said. "We had 18,000 users, so we've grown 3,000 users just in the last couple of weeks," he said.

He cited his own history working in film as a reason for his appreciation of film crews, who often work long hours with little recognition.

"They're the unsung heroes of the entertainment industry and definitely don't get the credit that they deserve," he said. "You know, the crew are routinely working 12- to 16-hour days, often six days a week. Incredibly, incredibly professional, hardworking people who love what they do. And it really does take an entire village for these movies and shows to come together."

For Atlanta-based actor Philip Covin, the need is there.

"Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are two of the most highly respected and influential figures in the film and television industry," Covin said. "The fact that they have chosen Atlanta to make their big push with the Impact app is a testament of their belief in our city’s staying power in the film and television world.  It’s one more significant investment in Georgia, its workforce, and its production infrastructure."

But some other industry workers, like production worker Glenn Peison, who has spoken to GPB News in the past about the issues facing the film industry, are more skeptical.

"It's not how I think most of us get our jobs but maybe there will a benefit for some people or maybe it will catch on," he said. "I don't think a problem exists that it's a solution to."

For now, Mitchell said they look forward to continuing their growth in the state.

"In five years, you know, I hope that anyone who works in in film or television, you know, the first thing they do is wake up and check the Impact app because that's where they'll be communicating with their network."

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, film and television industry productions spent $4.4 billion in Georgia during fiscal year 2022.