Workshops & Panels

Workshops are available to Weekend and Friday Day Pass holders only. Pre-registration is required. Please email Jeff Marker to register.

Building Your Camera Rig

Participants will get a full demonstration on how to build and assemble a professional camera package—including an inventory of all individual pieces such rigs should include and a run-through of how to handle and operate them in a safe and professional manner while also achieving the most cinematic results possible. In addition, we will discuss some of the fundamental pieces that should be a part of any starter kit for the aspiring professional in the field of film, commercial, and video production.

Christopher Sailor has been teaching within the University System of Georgia since 2017, and is thrilled to be newly-returned to a faculty position at UNG. As a writer and filmmaker, he has worked in the film industry and as a freelance videographer/editor for the last 10 years, and was formerly the Programmer of Education and Special Projects for the Atlanta Film Society. He has an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of Georgia.

Scenic Art

Learn about special effects techniques used in scenic art for film.

Celeste Morris is a Professor of Theatre at the University of North Georgia and serves as the Program Coordinator for the BFA Design & Technology for Theatre Degree track. She holds an MFA in Theatre with a focus in Scene Design and Technology from The Florida State University. Celeste has worked as a scenic artist on multiple GTA productions and serves as the full-time Stage Management mentor. As a professional scenic artist, Celeste has worked for Warner Brothers Pictures, Paramount Pictures, FreeChapel, Lowe’s Theatres, Universal Studios, Sea World, The House of Blues, Central Piedmont Theatre, The Rep Theatre, Riverside Theatre, and has done an assortment of “Nutcrackers” for various ballet companies. Her murals can be found around Tallahassee, FL, Orlando, FL, and Gainesville, GA. Celeste is an active member in good standing of IATSE local 479.

Animation Character Voicing

Learn how to create fun and distinctive voices for animated characters.

UNG Professor Elisa Carlson has coached dialects and voice work for many film and television projects including First Man, Selma, Baby Driver and Stranger Things and narrated more than 20 books for Audible.

Screamwriting: How To Write Movies That Scare

Horror, thriller, jumps and scares. Frightening movies are some of the hottest in the world! But why?  How? Come learn from professional screenwriter and professor of screenwriting, Michael Lucker, just how the writers of cinematic classics weave heartfelt tales that raise the pulse and lift the spirit.

Michael Lucker is a professional screenwriter and professor of screenwriting with twenty years of experience writing for major studios and ten years of experience lecturing at major universities.  He began his career writing and directing cable commercials while earning his undergraduate degree in broadcasting and film at Boston University’s College of Communication.  Soon after he landed in Los Angeles working in production for ABC, NBC and CBS before taking a job as assistant to Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment on the feature films Always, Arachnophobia and Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade.  He went onto serve in creative affairs on feature films at Hollywood Pictures before embarking on a career as a screenwriter for Paramount, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox and Universal on such movies as Vampire in Brooklyn, Home on The Range, Mulan II and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 as best animated feature.  An opportunity to serve as executive producer at Turner Entertainment brought him home to Atlanta in 2007.  He went onto work in television for Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, Travel Channel, History, Discovery, NBC, TBS, TNT, TLC, OWN, DIY, MSNBC and A&E.  Recently, he served as consultant on the feature films Fear of Rain starring Harry Connick Jr., A Wing and A Prayer starring Denis Quaid and The Curse of La Patasola starring AJ Jones.  His latest effort, the dramatic thriller 10-56 which he co-wrote and co-produced, has been named a finalist in film festivals worldwide.  A renowned instructor in screenwriting, Michael serves as lecturer at University of North Georgia and Emory University, mentor in Reinhardt University’s Creative Writing MFA Program, advisor to the Georgia Film Academy, and founder of Screenwriter School.  His book on screenwriting — Crash! Boom! Bang! How to Write Action Movies” — is available wherever books are sold.  His debut novel, the crime thriller “Rule One” is set to be released Fall of 2023.

Color Grading

Learn the art and craft of color correction and color grading for film.

Allison Hogue is an Assistant Professor of Film and Digital media at UNG. Allison is well-known at UNG for writing and producing Dead Winter, a short film that brought together a unique crew of university instructors, students, graduates and film industry professionals, for which she received a Presidential Innovation Incentive Award from the university. She is also a certified yoga instructor and aerial arts enthusiast, specializing in aerial sling and aerial rope (corde lisse).

Being an Actor in Georgia

Learn the ins and outs of the acting industry in Georgia with our esteemed panel of professional actors.

Zechariah Pierce (moderator) is the Artistic Director of Gainesville Theatre Alliance and a tenured Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of North Georgia. His focus in teaching centers around acting as it pertains to both the live and digital platforms, while also using pedagogies steeped in mask, clown, and physical comedy to teach movement-based techniques. Zechariah graduated with his MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!) and attributes much of his love for the teaching arts from his mentors and colleagues there. In addition to his university work, Zechariah is also a professional actor for Film/Television and represented by one of the top agencies in the southeast, Atlanta Models and Talent, and has been for over 15 years. Outside the world of acting and theatre, he is the proud father to 5 children and married to their amazing mother, who are the inspiration and motivation for all that he does. He is also the faculty sponsor for the UNG club “Catholic Campus Ministry” where he helps students live out their authentic faith in the university environment. ¡Viva, Cristo Rey!

Over his 38 year career, Mike Pniewski has appeared in hundreds of TV shows, films and commercials.  You’ve probably seen him in Madam Secretary, The Good Wife/The Good Fight, The Resident, Longmire and he’s also in the hit Starz TV series, Hightown.   He’s appeared in the films American Made, Million Dollar Arm, We Are Marshall, Remember the Titans and yes, he was in Spaceballs.  Mike has completed two short films that he wrote and starred in, including Mend, which can be seen at The Georgia Film Festival.  Mike is also a member of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safety at SAG-AFTRA, which created the protocols to get our industry back to work during Covid-19.

Katerina Eichenberger is an actress, natural wine enthusiast, and the Operations Director for Stowe Story Labs. Most recently she wrapped filming House of Lies in December 2021 & The Beauty of Love in May 2021 as the principal actress, was featured in Your Worst Nightmare on ID TV in 2020, and has completed two short films in 2021 and a variety of commercials for companies such as the CDC and Michelob ULTRA. You can see more of her work here. Her most recent theatre credits include The Exterminating Angel adapted by Sawyer Estes (2021) Ubu adapted by Sawyer Estes (2020) and Spirits to Enforce by Mickle Maher (2019) all with Vernal & Sere Theatre Company in Atlanta. She is a gourmand with a budget and enjoys watching David Lynch’s Morning Weather Report. Katerina is based in Atlanta and is signed with the Stewart Talent Agency (NYC & ATL) and David Laffey at Wonder Street Management. She received her BFA in drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Michelle Rivera is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of combined finance, management, production and performance experience, including roles in Chris McKay’s The Tomorrow War, FOX’s The Resident, Netflix’s Ozark , HBO’s The Staircase and more. Michelle started her entertainment career on the Off-Broadway stages
of New York while simultaneously managing the Latin American business line at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. on Wall Street (S7&63). She has produced and written several short films including the award-winning cross-generational film, Encuéntrate, which was distributed internationally by the Shorts Entertainment Network. While devoted to her craft, Michelle has always remained focused on promoting diversity in the entertainment industry, serving on the
SAG/AFTRA Atlanta local board, co-chairing the SAG/AFTRA Atlanta local diversity committee, and serving on the Board of Women In Film and Television Atlanta where she chaired the scholarship and education committee. Paying homage to her Latin roots, she co-produces live theatre showcases to provide a much-needed platform for Latin writers, directors and actors to share original stories.

Lainie Smith is an award-winning American actress born of International heritage. She has studies in the Meisner Foundation and Techniques and began her work with a small role on a syndicated TV series filmed in Conyers GA in 1990. After taking some personal time, she returned to the industry work and began acting on stage but found film to be where her true talent lies. She has since written produced a few short films and cast a full feature film to be released in 2023. Her work also includes commercial and print work along the East Coast. Lainie’s current project will begin pre-production in January. She will be starring in and co-producing a drama-thriller short film, LOVE POTION, written and directed by James Carey.