Sean Powers

Director of Podcasting

Sean Powers is Georgia Public Broadcasting's first director of podcasting. He joined GPB in 2014 as a producer/reporter with On Second Thought, and remained with the program until 2018. For his last four months on the show, he served as acting senior producer.  Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Atlanta after working as a reporter for the public radio station in Urbana, Ill. His reporting has earned him a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, honors from the Atlanta Press Club, and recognition from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Powers previously developed podcasts for ListenUp Audiobooks in Atlanta. He's also mentored teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta.

Ways to Connect

Sean Powers / GPB News

Birdwatching doesn't require a trip deep into unpopulated forests. There's a wealth of sights and songs even in Georgia's largest city. 


Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

As a cinematographer, Richard Vialet plays a central role in the way a movie looks. He told host Kalena Boller that requires understanding not just the set, but the surroundings … and the full story.

 

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

On this show, we have heard from many different people who work in Georgia’s film industry, but that industry has taken a life of its own off set. Case in point is Film Biz Recycling. This prop house on Savannah’s west side is working to clean up the environment. Host Kalena Boller spoke with Samita Wolfe, who runs the prop house with her husband.

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Nathaniel Kendrick is a longtime electrician on film and television sets. He often works as a gafer, which is the head of the electrical department. They are the ones who bring lighting to sets.

Nathaniel says it is important to remember all the unsung heroes who paved the way for other cast and crew members of color. He talked with host Kalena Boller about some of the early African American electricians he’s worked with in Georgia.

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Bolaji Bailey began working on sets in Georgia in the 1980s in the camera and electric departments. His son, Irie, followed in his dad’s footsteps as a grip. A grip is someone who builds and maintains the equipment for cameras. Bolaji and Irie have seen the state's film and teleivision industry change a lot. They talked with host Kalena Boller about how it's becoming more racially diverse.

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Two technical qualities matter most in a movie: how it looks and how it sounds.

Whit Norris has worked for years as a sound mixer in Georgia's film industry. He’s working on the third installment of the "Bad Boys" franchise starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The movie is now shooting in Atlanta. Host Kalena Boller talked with Norris while he had some time off set.

Don Smith / Georgia Public Broadcasting

We start our second season of "The Credits" with an overview of how Georgia’s entertainment industry has become more inclusive.

The day before the Oscars, host Kalena Boller hosted a panel before a live audience at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta. The timing couldn’t have been better. Georgia was well represented at the awards

Some say music holds the power to heal, and, on her album "Rifles and Rosary Beads," Nashville-based singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier directs that power to veterans.

"Rifles and Rosary Beads" is up for Best Folk Album at the Grammy Awards this weekend. Chuck Reece of "The Bitter Southerner Podcast" spoke with Gauthier about the songs, each of which Gauthier co-wrote with veterans and military spouses. 


Super Bowl 53 gets underway in less than one month. The action will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on February 3. Before the game and entertainment, the Super Bowl committee and the arts advocacy group, WonderRoot, are collaborating on murals to highlight the city’s civil rights and social justice legacy. The Off the Wall project seeks to elevate key stories from Atlanta’s pursuit of civil and human rights. Eleven muralists were chosen to create designs based on community conversations. GPB’s Ross Terrell and WonderRoot executive director Chris Appleton joined “On Second Thought” to discuss the Off the Wall initiative. 


Michael W. Twitty/@KosherSoul / Twitter

Culinary historian Michael Twitty traces his ancestry through food in "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South." The memoir won the 2018 James Beard Foundation's Award for Book of the Year. In it, Twitty explores the complex question of who owns Southern food.

 

GPB's Tony Harris spoke with Twitty about why he wanted to wrestle with that question and his passion for food justice.

 

Terrell Sandefur

Terrell Sandefur has organized film festivals across the state in communities such as Atlanta, Rome, Columbus and Milledgeville. He even helped start the wildly popular Macon Film Festival, where he served as a film commissioner.

Sandefur tells host Kalena Boller about what it takes to make a film festival successful, and he shares his plans for spreading the word about Georgia's film industry at next month's Sundance Film Festival

Sean Powers

Location scout Jen Farris of Atlanta has her finger on the pulse of some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. That makes her a valuable addition to any production.

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

On this show, we meet people who are jacks and jills of all trades in y’allywood.

One of those is Greg Waddle. He has several skills: camera operator, set dresser, art director. Being a true Renaissance movie man, he's also a key grip. This is a job many hear about, but barely understand. He talked with host Kalena Boller outside his warehouse in Atlanta.

Location can be instrumental to the success of a business, and for companies looking to expand or make a big move choosing the right state to can have a large impact on their profitability. Many outlets and publications take on the challenging task of analyzing all 50 countries in the United States and make an attempt to rank each on different criteria that they consider vital for businesses to thrive. Last month Forbes magazine published their 2018 list ranking the "Best States for Business." Georgia cracked the top 10 and claimed the 6th spot on the list. Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Bradenhausen and Emory Goizueta Business School professor Tom Smith break down how analysts and economists compile such lists and what it takes to be a top state for business.

GPB

Golden Globe nominations have been announced, and several Georgia-based productions are in the running. The list came as a "Boycott Georgia" hashtag is being used by some film industry insiders. Some are protesting the victory of Brian Kemp, while others say they're concerned about the religious freedom bill the governor-elect expressed support for on the campaign trail. Opponents say the proposed legislation would discriminate against the LGBTQ community. 

 

GPB's "The Credits" podcast host Kalena Boller spoke to "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott about the controversial issue. 

 


The Bitter Southerner

In New York in the 1980s, Chuck Reece had his first job in journalism covering the media industry for Adweek magazine. That meant he got the first look at network television pilots and magazine protoypes, and every time any of those had something to do with the South, he said he only saw a couple of stereotypes. 

"One looked like the party scene from the beginning of 'Gone with the Wind' except maybe with updated clothing, and the other one looked like ... 'The Beverly Hillbillies' to 'Duck Dynasty,' most recently," Reece said. "Those two stereotypes just didn't fit the South that I grew up in and knew."


The CW

Most of the people on this show work behind the scenes, but that doesn't mean we avoid talking to the stars.

 

Nafessa Williams has only been acting a few years, but she’s already made quite a splash with her role in The CW’s "Black Lightning." Her character, Anissa Pierce, is the first black, lesbian superheroine to appear on a network show.

 

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Curtis Bonds Baker is like a fly on the wall in Georgia's film and television industry. He is a still photographer, who takes photos of the cast and crew on set.

 

His credits include a number of TV shows, such as FX’s "Atlanta,” MTV’s "Scream,” and Netflix's "Stranger Things." He told host Kalena Boller that a big part of his job is trying to remain invisible.

ALYSSA POINTER / For the AJC

Work on film and television projects come with risk. Stunt coordinators know that risk all too well. Elizabeth Davidovich has worked in stunts for more than a decade. Her credits include AMC's "The Walking Dead," in which she’s played ravenous walkers who have been killed off more times than she can count.

 

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

You’ll find many people in the film and television industry who wear many hats. One of them is Taraja Ramsess. He has credits in the art and camera departments, and he does stunt work.

 

He met host Kalena Boller in his workshop in Atlanta, where he was preparing set pieces for Netflix's "Stanger Things." Taraja discusses his career in Georgia’s diversifying film industry, and he talks about juggling the demands of parenthood and Y’allywood.

Sean Powers / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Imagine that you have to be on a film or television set at 4 a.m. It can be grueling after working all day. Stephanie Morales is there to the rescue.

She runs a food truck on set for cast and crew in Georgia. She's being doing it for years. Morales believes in the healing quality of good food, a kind smile and a listening ear. She met host Kalena Boller on her food truck during production of the former ABC television show, "Kevin (Probably) Saves the World."

Qualen Bradley

Host Kalena Boller turns the spotlight on the recognizable but misunderstood job of the stand-in actor.

Two of them are Joel Ray Ishman and Qualen Bradley of Atlanta.

They discuss their experiences working on FX's "Atlanta," and the breakout Marvel Studios' film, "Black Panther." They also provide a glimpse  into the technical side of what being a stand-in actor means. 

Nafessa Williams Black Lightning CW TV
Nafessa Williams / Twitter

"Black Lightning" follows a retired superhero who gets pulled back into crime fighting to protect his family and community.

Nafessa Williams plays the daughter of the titular superhero. Her character, Anissa Pierce, is the first black lesbian superhero to appear on a network show.

Kalena Boller, host of GPB's upcoming podcast "The Credits," spoke with Williams about her groundbreaking role.

There aren't many African-American males who play lead roles in superhero or Sci-Fi films. 

The U.S. Senate plans to vote this Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Given his record, predictions are that Kavanaugh will shift the court to a conservative majority. That got us wondering about what cases are on the docket for the term that began on Monday. We spoke with Fred Smith, Jr. about cases to watch during the 2018-2019 term. Smith is an associate professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Next Monday, public schools and state offices across Georgia close to mark Columbus Day. Five states, more than 50 cities and dozens of universities no longer observe the federal holiday. Most instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. After a unanimous vote this summer, South Fulton became the first city in Georgia to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. On Second Thought’s Virginia Prescott spoke with Mayor Pro Tem Mark Baker about the ctiy's new holiday. 

The FBI is currently investigating allegations of sexual assault made against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Tens of millions of Americans watched testimony from Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Responses to the hearings and the #MeToo Movement make clear sexual violence is something that must be addressed in the public sphere. We spoke with University of Georgia psychology professor Isha Metzger and Sally Sheppard, executive director of The Cottage, a sexual assault center and children's advocacy center. We discussed how we talk about sexual assault in our communities. 


The ongoing debate over so-called religious freedom laws recently surfaced in the Georgia gubernatorial race. Democrat Stacey Abrams told a group in Savannah the law is unnecessary -- and could prevent prospective employers from setting up shop in Georgia. Meanwhile, Republican rival Brian Kemp has pledged to sign a religious protection law. That got us thinking about the nature of laws on Georgia’s books. We learn about some curious and outdated ones.

There are a lot of film and television projects being produced right now in Georgia. We got a rundown of some of what’s in production from Kalena Boller. She works as a location manager in Georgia’s film industry. She also gave us a preview of her upcoming GPB podcast, "The Credits." It focuses on the stories of the people who work behind the scenes.

 

Lee Coursey / flickr

In June, Atlanta’s iconic Hotel Clermont reopened after an extensive renovation, a matter of concern for fans of the dingy strip club in the hotel basement called the Clermont Lounge.

Pages