Clyde Bryan’s resume as a professional cameraman includes credits from some of the most beloved movies of all time, such as “Back to the Future” and “Indiana Jones”.
This semester, he brings the real-world knowledge he has gained over a 40-year career to Georgia College students when he teaches the “Introduction to Onset Production” course.
Originally from Ellijay, Bryan knew very early on the path he wanted to take in his life; he just didn’t know where to start.
“I’ve always had a love for movies, and when I was in high school I decided to go to the movies because some people had been the cameramen on it, not because of the actors or anything like that,” Bryan said. . “I always knew I wanted to be on the technical side.”
As a high school student in a small town in Alabama, Bryan began directing his own short films in the late 1960s and heading to libraries in nearby towns in search of books on how to make movies. At first it was just for the love of art.
“In terms of making a living and having a career, that wasn’t even in the thinking process at the start,” he said. “It was just that I wanted to make movies.”
An avid reader and movie watcher, Bryan’s appeal was in the creative process.
“I could make a world that maybe didn’t really exist but only existed on the movie screen, and for me it was fascinating.”
After graduation, Bryan attended college for a few years before deciding he could learn more by entering the workforce. He started in the early 1970s as a portrait photographer.
“I was always like, ‘Well, as soon as I have enough money, I’ll go to California.'”
At around 25, Bryan made it to California, and through what he calls “a lot of serendipity and a lot of hard work,” he finally built a resume that includes some of the most beloved movies of all. time. His credits include the three films “Back to the Future,” “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Road House,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Indiana Jones,” “Hook,” ” Apollo 13 ”and many more.
Bryan spent most of his career as a Senior Assistant Cameraman, which meant he was generally in charge of all mechanical and logistical matters within the camera department. While working on these films, he said there were moments of awareness among the team that they could work on hitmakers that would open doors for their careers, but they were also just busy living. their life.
“We were also dating and maybe had kids and had a family and life in general. … I don’t think any of us who worked on it thought that 30 or 40 years later people would still be like, “Oh my God, I love this movie. It’s a dream that we all have that we’re going to work on something, be part of something our name will be attached to, even when we’re gone, that people will remember those movies and always see them.
Bryan met his wife in California and his children were also born there. In 2006, the family decided they wanted a lifestyle change. Bryan’s half-sister had a house on Lake Sinclair at the time, and Bryan had just finished a movie in Virginia. The family visited the area and fell in love with life on the water.
After moving, Bryan continued to travel around the country. Thanks to a movie tax incentive in the state, however, he was also able to work extensively in Georgia. He worked on a few Tyler Perry movies and then all of a sudden people came to Georgia making movies and TV shows. Since they knew Bryan, they would call him to work on shows like “Stranger Things” and “Ozark”, which are filmed in Georgia.
With such a full resume, Bryan said he couldn’t pick a favorite movie. He said he thought his best work was in 2002 on “Road to Perdition,” which won an Oscar for cinematography. He’s proud to have worked on all three “Back to the Future” films and still has friendships with most of the cast and crew.
When Bryan retired in 2017, he and his family chose to stay in Milledgeville. Through a partnership with Georgia Film Academy, he will begin teaching his first class at Georgia College on January 14. It’s something he sees as a way to give back.
“I feel like I have a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge to pass on,” he said. “I am very impressed with the structure and programming of Georgia Film Academy and their program.”
Jeffery Stepakoff, executive director of the Georgia Film Academy, said the existing film industry in Georgia is unprecedented. In 2007, between $ 20 million and $ 25 million was spent on film and television production in Georgia. In the last fiscal year, that number rose to $ 4 billion with almost 100,000 Georgians working in the industry.
GFA is not a film school but a state-supported program that uses the existing resources of the Georgia university system and all state technical colleges.
It includes a three-stage academic program, which includes a core course that teaches practical skills, a second ‘craft’ class where students can choose from options ranging from hair and makeup to writing and directing. screen, and a third class which is a covered artisanal trade union. After taking the first class, students can move on; However, if they decide not to do so, the college credit hours will still be applied to their undergraduate degree.
Stepakoff said GFA uses industry experts like Bryan to deliver the classes.
“When you are a student at Georgia College being taught by Mr. Bryan, you are taught by someone who has extensive real world experience, significant industry credits and perhaps more importantly connections. deep and deep with business today. . “
Bryan said it takes hundreds of people working on a set to make a production, and there are plenty of jobs in the film industry in Georgia.
“You can start your career and end your career in Georgia, which I didn’t feel I could do at the time.”
He hopes to introduce students to the size of the industry and, perhaps more importantly, the possibilities.
“I was told a lot of times when I was in high school that I had to get my head out of the clouds; I needed to think about what I was going to do for a living and not dream of doing something that no one else does.
With a thriving film industry in their home countries, he wants to instill in students that with hard work and dedication, countless opportunities await them.
“If they dream of making films, it is possible.
– For a full list of Bryan’s work, search for his name on imdb.com.