Throughout the history of filmmaking, men and women have searched for new and different ways to not only market their work and talent, but also to network with each other. In an attempt to find others with similar career interests, local filmmaker Julian Benson turned to the popular social networking website, Facebook.
“This nation was built by a handful of guys that knew how to network,” Benson said. “Networking is this beautiful pollination of ideas.”
In December 2013, Benson created the Facebook page Filmmakers of Hattiesburg.
He came up with the idea to create the account after posting a status on his personal Facebook page regarding the fact that he felt Hattiesburg needed more actors and actresses.
Benson received many comments informing him that he was wrong, which resulted in his idea to create a Facebook page designed specifically for local filmmakers who are looking to meet others in the business. After the creation of Filmmakers of Hattiesburg, Benson quickly realized there are numerous individuals looking to break into the film industry.
Benson was surprised at the great amount of local talent that he discovered after the page was created. “This city could be a huge Cine Mecca if we could just get angry enough to change things, and I feel like we’re about to,” Benson said.
Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Radio and Television Actresses member Tamarah Murley was invited to become a part of the page by actress Vickie Hall, with whom she worked on the film “The Historian.” Murley said networking over the Internet is an easier and more convenient way to contact a large number of filmmakers from other areas.
“I think it’s good to grow the local film community, to build a stronger presence here in south Mississippi and to support each other whenever possible,” Murley said.
Hattiesburg resident Jessy Hughes said this Facebook page has not only united local film artists, but has also given them information about upcoming projects as well.
“I like that it keeps everyone informed of what’s going on around here,” Hughes said. “There’s a lot of talent in and around Hattiesburg and it’s good to have something to point us in the right direction.”
Benson hopes his creation will help others advance in their careers by meeting people who are willing to help them. “It comes back to networking and finding out if anyone wants to help you out. You can’t do this stuff alone,” Benson said.