Why the Hell is Watchmen Filming in Georgia

The picture above is not Georgia. But the recent version of The Watchmen is filming in Atlanta, Georgia. As a person who lives in Tulsa, my local paper decided to run an article telling me that the show takes place in Tulsa but the filming location states that it’s filming in Atlanta, Georgia. As a person who has spent nearly ten years of my life trying to make art happen in Tulsa, I understand why they didn’t film here.
Tulsa likes to brand itself as an arts city, but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of funding and supporting artists, the community is more on the “get a real job” side of the coin. A person who I respected even told me that the arts are not something that you can actually get paid for. But if this had filmed in Tulsa, that would not be correct. There would be some actual filming going on in our city. You can point to incentives or other such things, but rarely do you get a chance to have something like this happen and just mis is colossally.
There are people who participate in films, but Tulsa is more of a place to go when your grandma dies. And for some reason, it’s the pinnacle of Oklahoma society. It struggles to get it’s roads fixed dealing with a 40 year deficit on street projects. It struggles with racial tensions and whether or not a large group of the city has access to a grocery store. You know, basic human decency is chalked up to you’re “not working hard enough” when you have a minimum wage of 7.25 that has a law that says that it’s illegal to increase that minimum wage. So you have rampant inequality and you have a ton of reasons not to come here. One of the biggest ones is that you …..DON’T HAVE THE TALENT TO FILL THE ROLES.
It doesn’t have to be this way. But our city seems to double down on musical theatre as it’s primary acting vehicle. It seems to not develop drama unless you are at the local community college. The paid college has completely cut it’s drama program, so no way that film is going to survive there.
So we’re at an impasse. The entertainment capital of Oklahoma has a difficulty getting film to our city. The average citizen knows that this type of thing doesn’t happen in Tulsa, and an opportunity like HBO having a series like The Watchmen goes unanswered from a Tulsa perspective and the world gets to see Georgia as Tulsa.
Sad. Unless we change this. Unless we make this flyover city a place where film happens. Unless we say that the arts matter in Tulsa. Unless we change.


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