On With the Show – Georgia State University News

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Georgia State students work with Elvin Ross, center, on his new show "You Got Next with Elvin Ross" at Areu Bros. Studios.

ATLANTA — Nearly three dozen Georgia State students have been working this semester on a 12-episode TV series filmed at the famous southwest Atlanta studio once owned by Tyler Perry.

Produced at Areu Bros. StudiosNear Greenbriar Mall, you will find the show “You Got Next with Elvin Ross”It has been providing students in the Creative Media Industries Institute(CMII), an inside look at what it takes for a variety to be produced show series.

From wardrobe to lighting to marketing to redesign the space show’s logo, executive producer, co-creator and host Elvin Ross said the students in lecturer Ola Gardner’s class have been an integral part of its creation.

Ross is a partner in the studio and is well-known for writing the music for Tyler Perry hits such as “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” “Madea’s Family Reunion,”Among others. Ozzie Areu (studio owner) was with his brother Will the founder of Areu Bros. Tyler Perry Studios was founded when Perry moved it to Fort McPherson. That’s when Areu bought the studio he used to run.

From left, Ronnie Garrett, a composer from Areu Bros. Studios, gives M. Brian Blake, Georgia State President, and Brennen Dicker, Executive Director of Creative Media Industries Institute, a tour of the studios located in southwest Atlanta.

Ross said that Gardner and he had been discussing ways to include her students in entertainment production, and entrepreneurship when Gardner was the program chair of media for the Art Institute of Atlanta. By the time Gardner moved to Georgia State’s CMII this semester to a teach a new-business development class, Ross was ready to start work on “You Got Next,” and Gardner’s students were invited to participate.

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The showRoss stated that the series focuses on the talents and skills of area K-12 students and has a special focus on STEM topics.

“Ola’s class, they are so talented,”He said. “It was clear to me the class had a vision for what ‘You Got Next’ could be.”

Gardner stated that students who worked on the production were able to contribute in many ways depending on their interests. Some students help with marketing. Some students were focused on fashionLaToya Mazza, the boutique owner, invited me to join her wardrobe staff. Others have worked with set creators and lighting crew members as well as music for the showTyler Perry is music director Ronnie Garrett.

“We were able to find a place for each of the students where their interests were,”Gardner stated. “And they’re getting this great mentorship from seasoned veterans in their areas.”

In all, 35 students in Gardner’s class have been part of the production, which Ross said has a first-look commitment from PBS station KLCS based in Los Angeles.

“It’s definitely something different than being in a lecture or doing modules,” said senior media entrepreneurship major Noah Clement. “It’s hands on. It’s in the real world.”

“I was one of the members of the marketing team,”Jeff Nosiri is also a senior media entrepreneurship major. “Elvin basically gave us permission to take over his entire social media — from Instagram to Facebook to LinkedIn to TikTok. I can see myself being in the industry because I know what to do now.”

Getting that experience — knowing what to do as part of a production — is exactly the point, said CMII Executive Director Brennen Dicker, who toured recently the studios with Georgia State President M. Brian Blake.

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“To see all the students here, getting hands-on experience, to me it really connects our curriculum to industry,”Dicker said. “It’s really crucial for them to get that experience, whether it’s through a class like this or an internship program.

“The connections and the networking are so important and so crucial for students. They also get to see people like themselves in these positions, so it makes it real for them. This opens the door for them a bit and shows them what’s possible.”

Blake said preparing students for careers through experiences and connections like those made at Areu Bros. is among the university’s biggest priorities.

“When you think about experiential learning opportunities, where students can put what they learn into practice, this is right at the heart of it,” Blake said. “Creating and interacting with other producers — it’s hard to simulate that. And it’s great to know that students are bringing a perspective that’s new and innovative to this practice.”

Story by Michael Davis, B.A. ’03), photos by Carolyn Richardson

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