Film Connection graduate Taylor Giddens mixes business and pleasure with his own film company
If you need proof of how effective on-the-job training, really is, just ask Film Connection graduate Taylor Giddens. Enrolling in the program in his late 20s, Taylor had absolutely no experience—only a dream of being a filmmaker. A few short years later, he runs his own film production company, where he not only pays the bills with commercial film work, but also has been able to write and direct his own films, including a short fan film called Breakfast With Clark, which recently placed 2nd in the Superman Fan Film Festival! It’s a great blend of business and pleasure.
A small business owner in Atlanta, Taylor credits his wife for prompting him to pursue a film career. “She told me just to try it,” he says. “Worst case scenario, it doesn’t work out. You don’t want to have any regrets of not even trying it at all.”
As Taylor started scoping out film schools, the Film Connection was the obvious choice for two reasons: 1) he could learn locally in Atlanta without quitting his existing business; and 2) he could learn on-the-job. “I’m the kind of person that if I want to learn something, I’ll go out and do it myself,” he says. “That’s why I liked the Film Connection. . .you teach yourself with a mentor. Instead of sitting in a classroom all day, you’re actually hands-on.”
Taylor was paired with mentor Carl Millender of Starmaxx Media, and while having no prior experience in film, he was admittedly a little lost at first. “When we first went on set, I didn’t know a lot of terminology,” he says. “So it was a huge learning curve when someone was like, ‘Hand me this, or hand me that. Or can we do this? Let’s do this shot.’ I didn’t know at all what was going on.”
That feeling soon passed however, as Taylor got the hang of things. Before he graduated from his apprenticeship, he was assistant directing with his mentor on multiple film projects. When it came time to take the next step, Taylor’s experience as a business owner kicked in, and he launched his own company. In honor of his wife, Kelly, he named it Kelly Productions. Taylor says his wife is still an integral part of the company and his professional journey. “She’s kind of like the mother of the production company,” says Taylor. “She cooks all the food, and she likes having people over, so we’ve shot some films at our house and on our property, our neighbor’s house, or have used our house for the base of the shoot, for base camp. She’s been very supportive, and sometimes she’s more supportive of me than I am of myself.”
So after a few short years, Taylor has gone from having no film experience to running his own production company, thanks to the mentor-apprentice approach (and more than a little encouragement from his wife). “In a few short years,” he says, “I believe that I’ve come a far way.”