SGTC’s Patrick Peacock makes it happen by rediscovering a dream!
“You just have to do it. Just make it happen. Do not wait on permission. Study, make intentional choices and get better.” These are words of advice for aspiring filmmakers that ring true for any ambition or desire we are consumed by, wrote Rachel Price in the Sumter County Living Magazine article on South Georgia Technical College Marketing Coordinator Patrick Peacock who made his first feature film recently. The entire article with photos from David Parks Photography can be found at: https://withyouinmindpublications.com/sumter-county/sumter-county-living-magazine-spring-2020/. This article begins on page 39.
Patrick Peacock grew up in Americus, Georgia. His family had a small 8 mm home-video camera that mostly sat unused. These were not the days of videos, selfies, and all-consuming technology. Graduating from high school, Patrick entered the Art Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, with the intentions of recording music. Television wasn’t anything he even considered as a career, much less movie making.
“At school I had the opportunity to get behind a television camera. We had our first day of video production class. I was not anticipating video being a thing at all for me,” Patrick explained. “They had a studio camera set up with a viewfinder and handles. We each got a turn to operate it. I stepped up, as it was my turn and one of my classmates was sitting on the stool to be the subject for the shot. I remember grabbing the handles and moving the camera that made the picture change. In that moment, there was something that clicked for me.”
Patrick’s first job was in Albany, Georgia, with WALB-TV. He ran the video camera for the news. From his earliest days at WALB, co-workers talked about making a movie. “We talked and talked about it and never made anything,” said Patrick. Despite that slow beginning, that passion or interest remained with Patrick for 20 years.
And about 12 years ago, he began making a film that was an earlier version of his first feature length film, Back Focus, which debuted in Americus at the Rylander Theater in June 2019. “I just tried to dive into a feature film, but it fell apart pretty quickly,” said Peacock.
It was after he sat down for lunch with friend Faith Fuller that she gave him some good advice that he took. “She told me that I needed to make a short film. She gave me instructions to meet back for lunch in a month and have a script for a short film and offered to produce it to get me started.”
With that challenge, Patrick struggled for about three weeks trying o figure out what the script was going to be about. Then he had an idea and wrote a script of about 15 pages. He took it back to Faith and they made his first short film titled, “By the Light of Dark.” He felt like the film turned out pretty well and because it was his first, it is a personal favorite.
Since that humble beginning, Patrick continued to make short films, all the while thinking and believing that he could and should produce a feature length film. Then a couple of years ago, Patrick pulled out an old script he happened upon by chance. It was an earlier version of “Back Focus.”
He was approaching his 50th birthday and his goal was to produce his first feature film before he turned 50. “I looked at that early version of Back Focus and got excited. I had to totally rewrite the script to improve it. I had gotten more practice and became better at writing. I realized that I probably wouldn’t have it completed by 50, but I started filming.” The film premiered on June 29, 2019, the day after he turned 51.
The reaction to Back Focus has been amazing. Social media buzzed over a local feature film with local actors and on June 29th, over 250 people arrived for the film. “They laughed during the parts I had hoped they would laugh and I could feel the energy happening during the tense, dramatic moments as well.” As the credits rolled, the crowd erupted with a loud standing ovation. “It was wonderful, I could not have been more pleased,” said Patrick.
Back Focus was an independent film in the truest sense. Peacock paid for everything out of pocket. There were no investors. But he did receive tremendous support from his local community as far as the donation of locations for the film. Back Focus was filmed at Café Campesino, Pats Place, The Rylander, Tobaggan Steve’s (at the time JJ’s Wings), The Lee Council House, GSW, the home of Charles and Kim Christmas, and other locations around Americus and Sumter County.
The film is not a biography but Patrick did pull from a few personal life experiences for the main character; the obvious one being a career in videography, Patrick spent six years with WALB at the start of his career. He later moved on to OnMedia as the Production manager for the past 15 years. Currently he is the Marketing Specialist at South Georgia Technical College.
In his spare time, Patrick has created over six films between his short and feature films; his first being By the Light of the Dark. Another film entitled Life After Death is a favorite for many, especially his number one fan, his wife, Wendy. It is the one comedy in the lot and has been played at several festivals. It won “Best Comedy” at the 15 minutes of Fame Festival in Orlando, FL, in 2017, along with six other awards from various festivals.
In 2017, Patrick formed Acondo Films. He hopes to turn his creative passion into a sustainable profession. He also wants to establish a vibrant film community in his hometown of Americus.
Individuals who are interested in becoming a part of future films or staying in the know, can follow Back Focus and Acondo Films by typing in the names. DVD copies of Back Focus are available on his website … acondofilms.com.