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Meet Ryan Dennett-Smith of 3rd Shift Media in Decatur

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Dennett-Smith.

Ryan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My start in the entertainment industry started fresh out of high school as a touring musician and studio drummer. I worked in music for about three years before the band slowed to a screeching halt. The gents in the band decided to go to college and so that’s what I did before I got a call to be a thing I had no idea was a job as a PA. From that day forward, I was trying to work in the state of GA as a PA and for some reason, I couldn’t get a job locally. I ended up getting hired as a Media Manager on “Lone Star Law” (Animal Planet) in Texas and continued on with them for two season and then jumped to their Sister show “North Woods Law” (National Geographic) for another season as Associate producer. Due to these shows being Docu-Reality, I gravitated to reality show formats including, but not limited to; “Love & Hip Hop ATL” (BET), The Great Christmas Light Fight * (ABC), Love is Blind (Netflix), Love After Lock Up (WE), and many many more. Reality built my foundations as an Associate Producer and production manager for me to make the big transition three years into my career.

During those times had been working on short films and perfecting my skills as a narrative producer. My latest shorts “American Dream”, “83 Days”, and “Dandelions” released last year toured and have won more awards than I have ever received in the years of me doing this. Transitioning into a full-time UPM/Producer my company found its feet in the commercial world. The transition was a lot smoother than I thought it would be. Commercial led me to Independent feature films which is now where I spend the majority of my time.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I talk a lot for the Atlanta Film Society and Atlanta Film Festivals. In my entry-level classes, I always tell the audience, “If you are looking for something glamorous to meet the stars and become famous overnight, you are in the wrong place. This business is a really hard business to break into and a long road to the top. The most ‘Glamorous’ day you will have onset is getting home inside of 12 hours.” So to answer your question, no I would not classify my career as smooth. I would classify my road as the most interesting and exciting twisting and bending road I have ever taken to get to where I want to be as a producer and UPM. My biggest struggle when I started was finding the ‘open door’ for me to even start the adventure. I didn’t know anyone in this world and had to really work hard to get an opportunity. As my career has progressed, there are a countless number of struggles. Speaking honestly balancing life with work, finding the money to be able to get projects rolling, and most consistently finding the right work to get me to where I want to be as a producer. Again, you never know what door might open by trying something new, but it is not always a straight road.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about 3rd Shift Media, Inc. – what should we know?
3rd Shift media is a turn key production company providing production services from pre-production & development, production and post-production. We specialize in commercial and independent feature productions. Our company is set up to have a project brought to us and open up the doors to successfully turn out the project. We are insured, have payroll, we can do union and non-union projects, and have a full-force post team to take care of you.

I am most proud of our company for really blossoming this past year both on our commercial client’s list and bringing in narrative development and funding to our specialties. My team is what sets us apart. I have spent a long time working with each person on the 3SM team and slowly brought them into the picture. They are highly skilled individuals in each one of their areas. It makes the process of completing a project so much easier. Between all of us, we manage 20-40 projects a year.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Well outside of the industry, I will always give my mother and father credit for supporting me in following my dreams, even though they have thought I was crazy the whole time.

Inside the industry, Jason Winn (Director) has been a huge influence in my career and a huge advocate for me. Years ago, he hired me for my first 1st AD job to do a microfeature over ten days, “Paula Peril: The Serpent Cult” (Atlantis Studios) after successful completion I asked him to have a beer and asked the age-ol’ question of how did you do it? He responded with something that was super helpful to me, “Just Keep Rolling.” Much simpler said than done now that I am here. He has always been a firm supporter of me and has opened many doors for me to really learn my craft and take me to the next level.

Jason had been the main guy I would call a mentor and now friend, but there have been plenty others that I would love to mention. This is a largely collaborative business and it takes many people to rise each other up. I am very very grateful for those who continue to hire me and open up many doors for me. And for my crews who work on each of my projects I could not do anything without them.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jason Winn, Gabrielle Pickle, Megan Messmer, Russell Bradford

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