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Film Connection Graduate Steve Pitts on the Grassroots Level of Atlanta’s Burgeoning Film Scene

When Steve Pitts first enrolled in the Film Connection in Atlanta, GA in 2011, the first sign of serendipity he noticed with his mentor was the similarity between their names . “My mentor’s name [is] Steve Carmichael, and my name is Steven Carmichael Pitts!” he says. “[And] we’re both from Alabama, which is kind of funny.”

Steve Pitts was drawn to the Film Connection primarily because the hands-on learning experience appealed to him. “I don’t like school,” he says. “It definitely just made more sense for me to try to just get out there and do it, rather than sit in a classroom and read books.”

Pitts’ mentor, Steve Carmichael, was a long-time film industry veteran with a lot of stories to tell. He recalls that Steve Pitts’ parents were both academics, and his mother (who came to the initial interview) was a little apprehensive about the Film Connection’s practical hands-on approach at first, but at the conclusion of the interview, her mind was changed and said to her son, “I can see why you’re drawn to it.”

The many opportunities to work on-set, combined with Steve Carmichael’s “war stories,” ended up being a perfect learning ground for Steve Pitts. After completing his on-the-job apprenticeship, Pitts went on to become a partner in Rite Media Group, one of Atlanta’s more progressive film collectives, where he now actively directs numerous projects ranging from hip-hop music videos to feature films. And as it turns out, he’s formed a unique ongoing collaboration with his former mentor: today, Steve Carmichael uses the Rite Media space to teach his current Film Connection students, and sends them into the field with Steve Pitts for hands-on experience with Rite Media film projects!

Not only is Steve Pitts’ story a perfect example of how learning on-the-job can connect you with the industry—it’s also a perfect example of how those connections can continue working for you long after graduate, and even end up helping others in the future! In Atlanta, a mentor and apprentice who share the same name now work together in training future filmmakers with the Film Connection.

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