Atlanta Film and TV was fortunate to have a conversation with Actress, Host, Producer, Professor, Showrunner, Speaker, and Writer, GleNeta Griffin.
GleNeta is also the Founder and CEO of the Georgia Media Academy and someone who has a passion to help others succeed in the media and entertainment industry.
Atlanta Film and TV: Can you take us on your journey of how you began your career in the Atlanta Film and Television Industry to where you are now?
GlenNeta Griffin: “I’ve been working in the industry in Atlanta for 22 years. I started when I was right out of high school and got an agent. I started acting and modeling, as well as doing all types of things behind the scenes. Over the years, between marriage and children, I never gave it up. The film and television industry is something I’ve never wanted to let go of because I ABSOLUTELY love it. I love the energy, the people, the creativity, and the connections. I’ve worked on many projects in film, television, government television, commercials, and I’ve worked on both sides of the camera, and now producing. As soon as I had the opportunity to put myself in it, and connect with the right people, I just jumped right in!"
GlenNeta was also a Government Spokesperson, Reporter, and a Public Information Officer for a local police department and shares,
"There were some good experiences with things in Government television. I worked a lot within the community, with the access channel, and we were able to highlight a lot of things in the community, and connect with people and educate them on how the government ran. It was a good job and position. But, I decided to be more on the entertainment side. Going into Broadcast Journalism was my initial goal. worked in a newsroom for a while, and I didn’t like it! I wanted something different and went in another direction. And, as I dug deeper into projects, it led me to another place."
- GlenNeta Griffin
GleNeta shares some in-depth advice to parents who have children who are passionate about the film and television industry.
“As far as other parents getting their children into the industry, we have to embrace those gifts and give them an opportunity to shine in the areas that they want to shine in. At the Georgia Media Academy, I have parents that bring their kids because they’re trying to live their dreams through their children. And, I tell them it’s a lot of work to do it that way because we’re trying to pull creativity out of a child who’s not creative. When you bring us a passionate child, it makes our job easier, and also makes it easy for the parents. If a parent has a child that definitely wants to do it, tell them to go all in and get the resources, tools, and invest in headshots, training to be a success in the industry. I tell parents, ‘if your child doesn’t want it, and this is something you want for them, it’s probably not going to turn out the way you want it to.’ And, believe it or not, we see a lot of those, every single week. When you have a child, who knows exactly what they want, embrace it and help them. Give them the tools, find them the connections which is the best advice I can give anyone. If you see it in them, you better embrace it and their passion.”
- GlenNeta Griffin
Atlanta Film and TV: What were some of the day-to-day obstacles you had to overcome as a black woman, operating in a space viewed primarily as a white artform?
GlenNeta Griffin: “Most of the rejection I’ve received in the industry has been from other black women. There have been plenty of opportunities for collaboration. But, if you look at my social media pages, I am always shining a light on other women, women-owned businesses, and women artists, because I don’t want to be that person. And, I don’t want to treat people like they treated me. I really hope that changes, because like you said, 'we are in a predominantly white artform.' Especially with what I’m trying to do behind the scenes. I’m writing a lot of television shows I’m pitching, and I want them to get picked up. You already don’t see a lot of black female showrunners, and that’s my ultimate goal. We have to continue to support each other, lift each other up, and open doors for other women of color. I hope it changes eventually, but, if not, then I’m hoping I can be that change. And, that’s not going to stop me from pulling another woman up, and into this industry, because men have dominated this industry.”
Atlanta Film and TV: Can you take us on the journey, of how the Georgia Media Academy came to fruition?
GlenNeta Griffin: “I was known in the county I grew up in as the ‘Media Person.’ I owned a Public Relations firm, and anybody that needed to go on-camera would come to GlenNeta because they knew I could coach you through it. I started a program called ‘Get TV Ready,’ and I did not have a building and at the time, I would rent out hotel conference rooms, and I would have big seminars. It got to the point where they were packed! We would have our one-day or two-day weekend boot camps, and I didn’t know people were driving and or flying in from different places. I was almost in tears because I didn’t know I had an audience that wide and people would drive or fly in from out of town because they couldn’t get the training anywhere else. I wanted to be able to run home and check on them, start dinner, and run back to the studio. I had to build my lifestyle because I wanted to do what I love. I wanted to help people, but I wanted to be close to home. After that, I opened a Get TV Ready training studio, in a different part of Fayetteville, GA.
We outgrew the studio we were in. I was having to book so many classes because I couldn’t fit that many people because it just wasn’t big enough, and we outgrew it quickly. We ended up shutting it down, because my step-father passed away unexpectedly, and I had to help my mom. But, I told my husband I was going to open a bigger studio, and at the time, we were looking to buy a new home in a different area. I wanted the studio to be convenient and close to our home because I have three kids, and I wanted to be able to run home and check on them, start dinner, and run back to the studio. I had to build my lifestyle because I wanted to do what I love. I wanted to help people, but I wanted to be close to home.
I got the building for the GA Media Academy in December 2019, but I opened the studio in January 2020. We got set up and everything was rockin’ and rollin’ and people were coming from everywhere. We had lines down the sidewalk trying to get into the Georgia Media Academy, and then, COVID hit in March. We did, however, pivot in a lot of ways. We’re still here, and still in business by the grace of God. But, where we’re going is training nationwide. I’m excited that we’ve been able to get our programs online and connect with other instructors and media personalities from all over the United States and World, that are training for us now. And, opening our training that probably would still be in Georgia, because people would come here to train with us. But, now, we don’t have to, and, it’s safer for them to be at home."
Atlanta Film and TV: Talk to us about some of the classes that you offer at the Georgia Media Academy.
GlenNeta Griffin: “We offer on-going acting classes for youth, teens, and adults. We also have an in-studio writers room, and an online writers room, where our writers are all over the world. Right now, we have a Writers Program, and right now, we’re writing for film and television. Film scripts, and television series, and I'm hoping to expand that soon. I have other writers wanting to help writers with their screenplays, their books, and all forms of media, writing interviews, blogs, magazines, and I want to include that training as well. And, we also train for media writing, like, writing press releases. We have a filmmakers course, hosting, and we have a lot of private training for media in general. If you want to become a guest expert on television like the people you might see on Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, etc., the people that come on as experts as professional chefs, authors, speakers, glam experts, fashionista’s and fitness guru’s, we have a program for them, too. If there isn’t a class listed or available at the time, we do offer private training, in development and branding. We have a team that can jump on a call and help you, or in-studio and can help get you camera ready. We have all forms of media, including social media."
GlenNeta shares with us how she balances being a mother to three kids, amongst all the other things she does within the film and tv industry.
"Balance is definitely key. My kids are in our acting program, which helps because I’m able to teach them, as well as the other trainers. My kids spend a lot of time at the studio with me, and they work at Georgia Media Academy as employees, too. Pretty much my whole family comes and helps wherever it’s needed. Sometimes at home, I have to shut the computer down and be present. I’ve gotten better, and I’m not great at it yet, because I am very hands-on and we’re just now getting the studio back open. To me, the list is never-ending because I could never sleep, or catch up because there’s always so much work that could be done around the studio. But, again, balance is key. I just have to unwind sometimes and shut everything down and say, ‘you know what? The work is going to be there anyway.’ I have to put it aside and spend quality time with my family - which I appreciate during COVID. And, whenever the studio is not open, or it’s a slow day, then I will work from home, and just be present."
- GlenNeta Griffin
Atlanta Film and TV: COVID has brought about a paradigm shift over the past year, and technology is being used in the entertainment industry in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Due to how content is now being created, produced, and distributed, in your opinion, how is this advantageous for those in the film and television industry?
Atlanta Film and TV: If I could travel back in time, and interview18-year-old GleNeta and tell her all the things she would become, what would you least likely believe to be true?
GlenNeta Griffin: "That I have a full program, and I work so much with kids. I am one of four siblings. I was the one growing up who did not want children. I never volunteered to babysit anyone else's children because I was just not ‘the kid’ person. And I was the first one out of all my siblings to have children. Not only did I have one, but I had three! Now I have one of the largest children’s arts programs in Georgia. We have children coming from all over who want to train with us. If you told me at eighteen that I would be training and working with kids as much as I do, I would tell you that 'you’re lying!' But, when it all happened, I just fell in love with them! Their creativity, and the ways that they think, their passion at an early age. And, kids gravitate to me. And, I don’t treat them like kids. I treat them like entertainment professionals. And, I teach them how to treat their careers as little business owners because their brand is a business."
Atlanta Film and TV: How can people get involved with the Georgia Media Academy?
GlenNeta Griffin: We are on all social media platforms, or you can get to them all on our website at georgiamediacdemy.com. And, you can find out what classes are available. If you’d like to join our email list, you can text GMA to 42828 and it will enter you into our database."
Atlanta Film and TV: Where do you see yourself and the GA Media Academy in the next five years?
GlenNeta Griffin: I want to see the Georgia Media Academy in a larger studio. When I got the studio that we’re in, I didn’t even want that much space. I am hoping that happens within the next two years, but it will definitely within the next five years, we will be up and running in a new training facility. And, we’ll have our own separate areas for our studios, and for our children. And, a larger team, and still training nationwide. Post-COVID, this is not going to be something that we’re going to stop, because it’s worked out so well. And, we’ve been able to connect with so many people around the world who need the training. It’s not like we are posting the training and you have to follow along. We connect you with live instructors, and find out about them, their journey, and find out what worked and what didn’t work for them."
To view our entire conversation, click here.
For more information, be sure to check out the Georgia Media Academy website at gamediaacdemy.com. You can follow them on all social media platforms @gamediaacademy.