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"The company had been producing weekly syndicated wildlife series like 'Keeping It Wild with Jason Raize' and 'Jim Fowler's Life in the Wild,' both of which were nominated for an Emmy and won multiple Telly Awards."
--Cherokee Tribune (
Canton, GA)

 





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Cherokee Tribune (Canton, GA)
Making Movie Magic: Local Filmmakers Produce Package as Part of PAX TV Programming Block
by Donna Harris
March 26, 2004





Hollywood has come to Canton.

Blue Heron Films, a television production company based in downtown Canton since 1996, has traveled to locales all around the globe to produce a number of how-to and documentary-type series for broadcast and cable networks.

President/Executive Producer Sue Ann Taylor of Canton began producing programs in 1984 for national broadcast syndication and networks including CBS, The Travel Channel, CNBC and The Learning Channel.

"I got into this when I owned an ad agency," she said, noting she lived in Pennsylvania at the time but did most of her work in New York. "I developed a solution to one of my clients' problems and never looked back."

The "solution" resulted in a medical show called "Doctor's Second Opinion," which encouraged people to always get a second opinion on diagnoses and to seek out other alternatives.

The company, which has 15 associates, currently is producing seven women-themed series that will be launched as a two-hour block on PAX TV in late August.

"Friends in the Bee with Jodie Davis" is a quilting show that takes Ms. Davis all across the country in search of new ideas for quilts.

Ms. Davis said she originally approached Mrs. Taylor about a project the producer wasn't particularly interested in -- a "duckumentary" about her large rubber-duck collection.

"I explained the thing about the ducks, and there was total silence," the Canton resident said. "Then I told her, 'Wait, I'm not a nobody. I've done 26 books on quilting,' and she said, 'Oh, quilting.'"

"When she told me she'd done 26 books on quilting, I was much more interested in the quilting," said Mrs. Taylor, 49.

"It's exciting because we had the same idea for the show," Ms. Davis added. "It was meant to be."

The crew has literally traveled all over the country with the series -- Michigan in the "dead of winter," Ohio, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Oregon, Louisiana, Maine -- and will be going international with a trip to Scotland in June.

On each show, Ms. Davis gets inspiration from the area she's in and designs a quilt around it.

"For example, if we go lobstering, then I design a lobster quilt," she said. "Quilters always ask me where I get my inspiration, and it comes from real life. It's not something magical. It just happens."

Other shows in the package are "Simply Scrumptious with Chef Marc," "Chef Daddy with Chef Marc," "Get Car Smart with Lauren Fix," "The Debbie Mumm Show" (arts and crafts), "Healthy Living" and "Right at Home with Susan Crenshaw."

Blue Heron also is producing shows for Wealth TV, a new lifestyles and entertainment cable network set to be launched this summer.

One of the signature shows will be "The Best of Everything with Marc Cummings," a primetime travel program that will take viewers to some of the world's most exotic and exclusive spots.

Another show is "Doing Well," which features high-profile people changing the world by donating their money to philanthropic endeavors.

"This is probably the show with the most celebrities," Mrs. Taylor said. "It'll have Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford, people like that."

Other shows that have been proposed or are in production include "The Success of Dress," which Mrs. Taylor's son, Michael, is producing; "The Ann Hampton Callaway Show," which will be like "The Tonight Show"; and "Choosing Green," a show inspired by her architect husband, Roy, that will look at environmental issues people can address when building.

The company had been producing weekly syndicated wildlife series like "Keeping It Wild with Jason Raize" and "Jim Fowler's Life in the Wild," both of which were nominated for an Emmy and won multiple Telly Awards.

But after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, "everything shut down," Mrs. Taylor said.

"We lost all our funding, and that made us rethink our one-note operation," she said. "I love wildlife programs, but we wanted to do something more diverse that would be less subjected to events like 9/11."

That's when they branched out into areas such as car care, quilting, crafts, gardening and cooking.

She added the company is producing a piece about Raize, best known as the original Simba in the Broadway production of "The Lion King," who died last month. Disney is planning to show it at a memorial for him at the New Amsterdam Theater on April 8.

Mrs. Taylor said she and the crew travel extensively all over the world to film the shows, with her specialty being Africa.

Editor Todd Harris of Marietta said once all the footage is shot in the field, he goes through a "whittling down process" and pieces the scenes together on the computer into a flawless show, adding music, graphics, the opening and the closing where needed.

Blue Heron was housed at 210 Archer St. until the building was torn down. Since then, Mrs. Taylor and company have worked in temporary quarters across from the downtown post office but hope to move in May into their new space, an old flower shop at 170 North St. that is being renovated.

"We'll have a full studio there, and the front part will be a quilt shop where people can buy the quilts they see on (Ms. Davis') show," said Mrs. Taylor, who bought the building last summer. "Based on our research, 1,000 women a month would visit the shop, which will be great for downtown Canton."

Feature films are in the future for Mrs. Taylor, who owns the rights to two movies written by Jasper resident Alan Gibson -- "A Residue of Honor," about college seniors who are involved in a cheating scandal, and "Appalachian Summer," a comedy about the first woman president who isn't re-elected because her husband goes crazy.

"I've always wanted to make movies," she said. "When I was growing up, that's what I wanted to do."

She said she hopes to have both movies, to be accomplished in 29-day shoots done in Georgia, done by 2005.

Mrs. Taylor and her family, which also includes daughters Katie and Jessie, relocated from Pennsylvania to Georgia in 1995 and moved to Canton in 1999.

"I was offered a job at Reinhardt (College), but when I got here, I found out the guy who offered me the job didn't have the authority to do that," she said. "But it was a great move for my husband."

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