In 2021, I wrote an article for this publication about the Christian Worldview Film Festival, held at First Baptist Church Woodstock. I ended that article with this hope: “My desire is to see more movies made right here in Woodstock. Soon, I hope we can hear that familiar chime, ‘Quiet on the set.’”
I couldn’t have imagined that, just more than a year later, I’d be in production on a streaming TV series, “These Stones,” a faith-based, modern story with a biblical twist. However, during September and October 2022, we got to hear “Quiet on the set” all over Cherokee County. (You can read more about the show at stoneimpactmedia.com. Follow on social media to keep up with the show, see behind-the-scenes clips and be notified when it is released.)
Ever since my husband, Chris, and I relocated to Woodstock from Los Angeles in 2015, it’s been on my heart to create something here. While I’ve written movies and TV specials since moving here, none of them has been produced in Georgia. I wasn’t on those teams as a producer, so I didn’t have control over that.
This time, it was different. An opportunity came up to form Stone Impact Media with some friends and business partners in California — Jeanette and Sam Towne and Mike Burns. They were open to us starting this venture in Cherokee County, to take advantage of Georgia’s generous film incentives and to film where our county is so beautiful. Jeanette introduced me to her pastor, Tim Stevenson, who wrote a book with Peggy Porter, called “These Stones.” We loved it so much, we decided to adapt it into a series.
Our team sought out Kennesaw filmmakers Drew Waters and Erin Bethea at Argentum Entertainment, who have been guest speakers at the Cherokee Film Summit in previous years, to help us produce the show here.
And, in January 2022, I started writing six episodes of what we hope is the first of many seasons. I even wrote large portions of the script with specific locations already in mind.
I often see posts on community Facebook pages or Nextdoor, an app for neighborhoods, asking to which production the yellow directional signs in Cherokee County are referring. This time, those questions were about our signs: STONES.
It meant the world to me to bring a creative project here, to add to our economy by hiring local actors and crew, or booking out-of-towners in local hotels or Airbnbs in downtown Woodstock. (Many said they want to move here now!)
For this first season, we had 25 filming days; 19 were in Cherokee County, mostly in Woodstock and Canton. We filmed in a few neighborhoods, for footage of family homes of characters, and our main set was a beautiful farm property in Canton, near Lathemtown, also home to Dolly Parton’s “Heartstrings” TV series. First Baptist Church Woodstock’s Thrift Store took center stage in each episode, and the River Park neighborhood is where we staged a medical waiting room, faked a boutique travel agency and used the town square gazebo.
We also filmed at the Rootstock restaurant, in the parking lot of the Woodstock Arts Theater, and at Dupree Park, Chattahoochee Technical College and Circle of Friends Cafe. Molly Mercer and her crew at the Cherokee County film office let us stage a 911 call center inside their office. Our final two nights of filming were hosted by Twelve Oaks Landscaping in Canton, where we staged a homeless encampment near silos.
The local filmmaking work doesn’t end there; I built my post-production team from Cherokee County residents. When we called “that’s a wrap,” I realized I only had used just more than one tank of gas over the entire five weeks of filming — an unexpected benefit of making something right here in our “live, work, play” community. It’s an experience I hope to repeat many times in Cherokee County, because there’s no place like home.
– Cheryl McKay Price writes faith-based movies, TV shows and novels. She and her husband, Chris, have called Woodstock home since 2015. Their Woodstock-based production companies are Roads & Rivers Media and Stone Impact Media.