ATLANTA — From his start on television series such as "The Andy Griffith Show," and "Happy Days" to directing Oscar-winning films such as "Apollo 13" and "A Beautiful Mind," Ron Howard is no stranger to the work it takes to put together a great piece of entertainment.
It takes a dedicated crew of sometimes hundreds of individuals, coordinating in sync to put something magical on screen.
That's why Howard helped found "Impact," an app focused on making life easier for those who work behind the scenes on movies and TV shows, most notably crew and production.
Howard spoke with 11Alive anchor Jeff Hullinger about the impact of this new online platform, which is set to have its first public launch right here in Atlanta.
"It's to engage the production community and heighten their ability to communicate," Howard said of the project, a LinkedIn-like tool focused on those who work in the entertainment industry.
In his eyes, the app is a way to interact and expedite the process of getting a production crew together, noting the challenge that often arises in terms of simply knowing who is available and what their work experience is.
He added some 18,000 people are now on the app, which is completely free.
But for Howard, the project is just as much about creating opportunity as it is about ease. As he explained to 11Alive, the goal is to help democratize who gets selected for these kinds of roles as well.
"Technology has effected a lot of aspects of the business but not the hiring process," he noted. "It's still this very word of mouth kind of thing, which leads to a lot of hiring patterns that have always been there before, when in fact, there are so many talented people - who are really ready to do the work, do the job, and do it really well - beyond the contact sheet of any one production manager or line producer."
Howard said in the app's initial beta run, a significant amount of activity came out of Atlanta, unsurprising considering the city - and the state of Georgia at large has become such a booming Mecca for film and TV production.
For him, it makes perfect sense, factoring in infrastructure, tax advantages and of course, agreeable weather.
"It's certainly emerged as one of the hubs in the world," Howard added, hinting at the expanse of projects that are emerging outside the confines of Hollywood. "What's interesting is that there's so much demand that productions are being mounted elsewhere."
But he also sees that expanse as an opportunity to broaden talent, which in his words, benefits both audiences as well as the business at large.
Simultaneously, Howard also the wide range of outlets that now exist for audiences, allowing the opportunity for most anyone to find what something they love, even if it does take a little bit of searching.
For a veteran of the industry, Howard remains incredibly optimistic and as exhilarated by the creative process as ever.
"I truly love it," he said, thinking on what's kept him in the business for so long. "I really loved the process, I loved the people who were attracted to the process, I like the wide variety of sensibilities, and backgrounds that are attracted to the process."
That love, as it turns out, along with the dedication and work it takes to put a show or picture together, is something that was apparent to him, even in his early role on the "Andy Griffith Show."
"What I learned back on that show is, you put your best foot forward, you give it everything you got and the audience is going to speak to you, you may like what you hear, you may not - but, it's kind of a way of life," he explained.
Even with the advent of new technology, Howard also takes to heart that some things will always still stay the same.
"It's always shifting, and yet some things - even silent movie comedy styles - they don't vanish all together, they show up in unusual ways," he explained. "There was a movie that was very kind of cool and cutting edge, "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once"...I saw it the other day and said 'wow, there's some great Buster Keaton stuff in there, I'm seeing a little Jackie Chan in there...one thing just builds upon another."
In the end, it's all just tools for telling a great story, "what does a story demand, what's possible, what are the tools available to tell that story for an audience today."
And as for how much time he spends back, taking stock of the incredible opportunities he's had along the way, "I try not to focus on it too much, because then it becomes a pinch me moment...I'm trying to stay busy and forward thinking."