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From Podcast to Production: Teasers from Behind-the-Scenes of Lore

In our previous article about the exciting new Amazon Video original series, Lore, we talked about how the panel of producers will bring the popular podcast to life on the small screen. But what did all of this have to do with Covington and Newton County, Georgia? We’re thrilled to add this new Lore series to the growing list of productions to have filmed in our camera-ready community.

Earlier this summer, Amazon’s filmmaking crews came to Newton County to set up shop at Starrsville Plantation in unincorporated Starrsville, and the historic Welaunee Hotel in Porterdale as two major film locales. The exterior of the Welaunee was transformed into a German Village for one of the episodes.

According to a recent article by the local Covington News, “The hotel’s facade [was] modified from its fake Tudor architecture to the half-timber architecture of the 16th century. Freight containers positioned on the front parking lot of the hotel were dressed as other storefronts to create a German village street scene, complete with vegetable stalls and wooden carts.”


Photo via the Covington News
Scene Featuring the Welanuee Hotel After its Transformation (Production Photo by Jay Astudillo)

Additionally, the second floor of this historic inn was shot as an insane asylum for another episode. A historically preserved Boy Scout outpost in Porterdale was also used as a location for the series. According to crew members, the frequent rain and persistent mosquitoes this summer didn’t deter this project from being a blast to work on.

Production Photo by Jay Astudillo


Here’s a fun fact: One of the episodes of Lore features a cemetery while filming at local Starrsville Plantation. One of our connections with this production crew told us that the headstones you see in this scene are the same headstones used in many various episodes of The Vampire Diaries!



Because Covington is already a popular film hub for supernatural sagas like The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, and Sleepy Hollow, it couldn’t be a more perfect location to depict this series that explores the mythology behind vampires, werewolves, changelings, séances, and possessed dolls, etc.

By the way, a brand new trailer featuring scenes of the six episodes just dropped this week. Check it out:

Stay tuned for another upcoming blog about this spooky new series as we prepare to watch in October on Friday the 13th!

Georgia’s On-Location Sensation: The Local Guide for a Location Scout

There are three things that matter in production: Location, location, location.

location scout

This phrase is a twist on the famous quote by English real estate tycoon, Lord Harold Samuels. He believed that location is the most essential thing about a property. Much like Lord Samuels, location is also a very important aspect of production when it comes to authenticity and preserving the “fourth wall.”

The challenge of being a film location scout is finding the closest representation to the vision a director has for the setting of their production. If the project requires a cottage-style home with a view from the street and wooded areas in the background, how do you find this needle in the proverbial haystack?

The Newton County Guide for a Location Scout

location scout

Newton County, Georgia is a hidden treasure when it comes to location scouting, conveniently located about 35 miles from Downtown Atlanta, and tucked away in the pines. The community is home to many small-town historic municipalities, with Covington being the largest and most-visited. Other cities within the county include Porterdale, Oxford, Mansfield, and Newborn. Our county is among one of the longest-standing camera-ready communities in the state, with the very first local production completed on-location in 1954 with A Man Called Peter.

Since the 1950’s, we’ve welcomed over 100 productions to Newton County and certain locations in our area have doubled as New Orleans, Alabama, Virginia, Mississippi, and Germany, just to name a few. The county contains a wide range of landscapes, including rural farms and plantations, historic antebellum homes, and a small-town metropolis with a quaint town square that can be transformed into a variety of different places.

Location scouts and crew love this area because we are so well-established in the film industry and can easily attain the necessary resources and film permits. It also doesn’t hurt that the area offers many different types of architecture that could be requested for an on-location production. Do you need a 70’s ranch style home surrounded by woods? We’ve got it. Does your production require a historic home preserved from the 1800’s? We’ve got it. Are you searching for a loft apartment in the city? We’ve got that, too.

So, if you’re a location scout seeking the perfect setting for a particular production, we recommend stopping by the original Hollywood of the South® to see what our camera-ready community has to offer!

From Podcast to Production: Amazon’s Lore Series Premieres in October

Three days ago, the spooky new teaser was released for Amazon Prime Video’s brand new original series, LoreThere’s a lot of buzz surrounding this new show based on Aaron Mahnke’s popular nonfiction podcast with the same name— averaging at 5 million listeners each month. The 6-episode horror series combines documentary footage with historical mixed media and theatrical scene work to bring these real-life campfire stories to the small screen. After all, “The scariest stories are true.”

According to Amazon’s recent press release, “The anthology series presents the frightening and often disturbing tales based on real people and events that have led to our modern-day myths and legends.” Fans of the Lore podcast will be delighted to learn that the show is centered around the most favorited and highest rated episodes of Mahnke’s audio show. Amazon Video will premiere its new horror anthology to Prime members for online streaming in over 200 countries and territories beginning Friday, October 13th.

lore series

Hollywood hitters such as Holland Roden (Teen Wolf), Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood), Adam Goldberg (Fargo), Colm Feore (House of Cards), and former Marietta local, Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) will appear throughout the series.

lore series
Production Photo by Jay Astudillo
lore series
Production Photo by Jay Astudillo

Working collaboratively to produce this series are Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead), Ben Silverman (The Office), Howard T. Owens (The Biggest Loser), Brett-Patrick Jenkins (Face Off), Glen Morgan (X-Files), as well as Jon Halperin and Mark Mannucci (A Year in Space). We are especially eager to see how these film visionaries combine their experience in reality TV, horror/drama, and documentary-style shooting to depict each episode. Because Covington is already a popular filming location for supernatural sagas like The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, and Sleepy Hollow, it couldn’t be a more perfect location to depict this series that explores the mythology behind vampires, werewolves, changelings, séances, and possessed dolls, etc.

lore series
Producer Gale Anne Hurd (left) and podcast creator Aaron Mahnke (right) discussing the series in a panel during New York’s Comic Con

What does all this have to do with Covington, Georgia, you ask? Well, stay tuned, because we’ll give you the scoop in one of our upcoming blogs later this month!

Check out the brand new teaser trailer here:

POV Drone Footage & Cinematography: The Future of Filmmaking

Fifteen or twenty years ago, if you had told us that a drone would become a household item that’s taken the world by storm, we would have envisioned something similar to a scene from Star Wars. But here we are, in the middle of 2017, and it seems that drone footage is changing the landscape of filmmaking as we know it.

Within the past 5 years, the use of quadcopters or UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to obtain drone footage in filmmaking has increased exponentially. This technology has made it more simple and cost-effective for production crews to capture panoramas or aerial shots without needing a jib or helicopter. A camera drone and crew costs as little as $5,000 a day, compared with at least $25,000 a day for a helicopter shoot. Not to mention, using these unmanned aircraft reduces risk of injury by eliminating helicopter passengers.

These factors make the possibilities endless for a crew working with a quadcopter and a compact high-definition camera to capture drone footage. “Drones literally go to places people couldn’t get to,” says Randy Scott Slavin, the founder of the New York City Drone Film Festival. “People are taking drones to the ends of the earth and shooting beautiful amazing things that in the past would’ve cost—I mean, actually, who knows if it even would’ve been possible?”

drone footage

Here’s an example to put it into perspective: Think of the famous scene from Season 6, Episode 20 of locally-lensed The Vampire Diaries when Damon and Elena are standing in the face of the Covington clocktower before leaping off together towards the ground. This scene was captured with the use of a large crane and jib, and also the hard work of local Covington stunt actors, David Martin and Jennifer Badger. If they planned to set up this scene to shoot at our courthouse today, the use of a drone instead of a crane may be an easier, more viable option.

In addition to making it more attainable to explore hard-to-reach places, drone cinematography is also brilliant for depicting a scene from a specific point of view. The ability to accurately capture POV drone footage can transport the audience to exotic, faraway lands or make them really feel in the moment while watching a scene.

Fortunately, directors and production pros have a knack for playing with angles and taking risks to capture that big, great shot. So being innovative comes naturally; but it also doesn’t hurt to be an experienced gamer for drone aviation, according to Nikolas Pueringer.

drone footage

“I think filmmaking as a profession shares a lot with drones in that it is both a very technical profession aligned with something that has a lot of expression and artistry and craftsmanship in it, so the same learning curve applied to drones,” says Pueringer, one of the directors behind short film Superman with a GoPro. “But it’s always just nice to experiment.”

Even though drone footage is popularly used to establish a scene, using a drone has many versatile uses.  “We have to use the same techniques cinematographers use to tell their stories,” said Robert Pascale of Pond5. As we have seen in many blockbusters, drones can be used for reveals, tracking, and other more unique shots. Popular box-office hits that successfully incorporated drone usage are Skyfall & Spectre, Jurassic World, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Captain America: Civil War.

The new method of film technology has also hit the sets of commercial shoots. TV commercial directors have been especially quick to incorporate drone footage in commercials for such brands as Tesla, Chrysler and Nike. Drones also have been used on several TV shows, including HBO’s The Leftovers and CBS’ Supergirl. Netflix also utilized the technology for their series Narcos, among others.

Quadcopters and drones have become more attainable than ever, with many models available by different brands. Miniature cameras and GoPros have also become quite popular among filmmakers and adventurers alike for capturing POV footage. The regulations on drone aviation are ever-changing, but the law currently states that users must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. Click here to read about the current drone laws in more detail.



Local Filmmaker Receives EL LOCO Comedy Awards for “Social Circle”

Recently, during the online EL LOCO Comedy Film Festival, 13 judges presented 7 awards to filmmakers from all over the world who showcased their creative works. Among these award-winning films was the locally-lensed dark comedy, Social Circle, produced by local filmmaker and Newton County businessman, Jack Moon.

local filmmaker

The feature length indie film received the honor of winning not one, but two awards from the EL LOCO Comedy Film Festival. The festival was an online event that presented seven awards. Moon’s film was selected as “The Best Dark Comedy” and Amber McCullough won “Best Actress” for her role in the neo-noir comedy. McCullough is also a Newton County local with an interest in acting and film. Feedback from EL LOCO’s thirteen judges stated, “Social Circle is a slice of absurdist comedy. It’s campy fun that keeps you watching.”

local filmmaker

In addition to being awarded at the EL LOCO comedy film fest, the dark comedy was also chosen as a “Top Ten Selection” at the River City Underground Film Festival in San Antonio, TX, another international festival with submissions from all over the globe!

Last year, we had the chance to attend a local screening of Social Circle by this local filmmaker, and it’s no surprise that it won two awards at the recent EL LOCO film festival. This indie film is an absolute riot! The Porterdale Film Crew is currently negotiating with Moon regarding showing the film locally before it goes into distribution.

local filmmaker

If you’d like to check out a sneak peek of the film by viewing the trailer, visit the Social Circle Facebook page. Also, be sure to check out the IMDB page for the film by clicking here.

local filmmaker

Local filmmaker Jack Moon told us that he’s currently working on his next project, and that in the coming months he will begin pre-production for his film, A Dead Guy & A Bag of Money. Follow us on our Facebook and social media to stay tuned with updates as we hear more from Jack and his local filmmaking endeavors!

The ‘Reel’ Mystic Falls: A Day in the Life of George Lockwood the Cat

george lockwood the cat

As the sun rises over this gorgeous Southern manor I call my home, I open my eyes and stretch my fuzzy white paws for a moment before getting up to go see what my owners are up to. First, I take a moment to collect myself and enjoy a nice tongue bath before my morning exploration. After all, the grounds at Worthington Manor provide lots of beautiful scenery and feline fun. I’m George Lockwood the cat, and I’m going to give you a peek inside a day in the life at Worthington Manor, more popularly known as the famous Lockwood Mansion from The Vampire Diaries.

george lockwood the cat

I truly miss having the cast and crew of the series at our home for the filming of many episodes of The Vampire Diaries. The entire grounds would become a flurry of activity as crew members transformed my home into Mayor Lockwood’s gorgeous mansion. And the best part is all the belly rubs and kitty cuddles! I was the true star of the production as I meandered my way through the set and soaked up all the attention. In fact, my very best human-friend, Ian Somerhalder, admits that I am one of his favorite felines. Fans always obsess over how cute Ian is, until they meet me and see that I’m even cuter.

george lockwood the cat
Ian Somerhalder taking a moment to show George Lockwood some love

Even the almighty vampires take a knee just to scratch my belly! The best part about being a cat on-set of the Lockwood Mansion are the many parties that were filmed here, like the Founder’s Party, Masquerade Ball, and the legendary Steroline wedding! And I’m always dressed for the occasion with my silky fur tuxedo.

george lockwood the catAlthough it was very sad to see my vampire friends and admirers go, we still welcome visitors from all over the world every week to tour our property and experience the famous manor firsthand. Many of our tourists take a moment to pet my smooth, silky fur and take selfies with the famed George Lockwood the Cat. I’m also a pro at photobombing your vampire-inspired photos. After all, I’m the true celebrity of the real Lockwood Mansion!

Even in the midst of all this Hollywood fun, a frisky, green-eyed feline like myself can also appreciate the chance to enjoy a little peace and quiet. My favorite thing to do on a warm afternoon at the manor is take a walk in the grass, then curl up in a planter to bask in the sun for a cozy afternoon catnap. I’ve got several planters and flower beds staked out just for my napping pleasure. The landscape of the manor provides lots of shade to cat around, relax, and dream of catching mice.

george lockwood the cat

Sometimes I go into the front yard to visit the angelic fountain where Mrs. Lockwood was drowned in The Vampire Diaries, and enjoy a few refreshing laps of water. I also enjoy passing the time with my signature move, “The George,” where I slink down the steps with my entire body. You should try it sometime!

george lockwood the cat
Rocky the Raccoon lurking on the grounds while George sleeps on the job

When I start to feel a bit lonely (which is almost never), I can go hang out with my colorful pal, the pheasant, or mosey down to our pond to visit the swans that live here as well. I rule the manor and patrol the grounds for security, chasing away any uninvited squirrels or the pesky neighborhood raccoon, Rocky. It’s a hard job, but some kitty has to do it.

I usually conclude my evenings with a gourmet dish of Friskies kibble and an extra-long belly rub— courtesy of my owners, Ben and Ralph. All of this love and attention, and the pristine beauty of the manor can make a kitty truly feel like royalty. After all, being so lazy and loved takes lots of practice and hard work!

If you want to see the real Lockwood Mansion for yourself, and have a chance to rub the fat, fuzzy belly of George Lockwood the cat, book your tour with Vampire Stalkers/Mystic Falls Tours! They’ll take you on a journey with the inside scoop of select Vampire Diaries film locations, including our Worthington Manor. Stay up to date with my crazy kitty antics by following me on Facebook @SirGeorgeLockwood, or on Twitter at @George0Lockwood.

On Location vs Sound Stage Production: The Three C’s to Consider

The landscape of TV and film is changing as we know it. The onset of online streaming through services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have revolutionized the entertainment industry, changing the way we watch television forever. Movie production studios in Hollywood and online streaming platforms often go head-to-head in order to release the biggest box-office hit of the season.

on location vs sound stageNetflix and Chill: The new “movie date night”

What is one thing that both production avenues have in common? The need for dynamic film locations and studio space on a sound stage. When you are watching the latest TV series or film release, can you tell the differences between a project shot on location vs sound stage production? Newton County has been a famous camera-ready community for shooting on location since the 1950’s, which is why we are the original Hollywood of the South®. But with the development of the brand new Three Ring Studios in Covington/Newton County, our area is perfect for both types of production.

However, before deciding whether shooting on location vs sound stage production, there are three “C’s” to consider for a cinematic creation:

on location vs sound stage

The largest factor to be considered when choosing between on location vs sound stage is the cost involved. Shooting on a sound stage can be very expensive depending on the length of the project. However, sometimes studio space is necessary to capture the elements necessary for a film project. Once it’s up and running, Three Ring Studios will offer space for film/TV, music, and video game production. The studio also plans to hold enough classroom space to educate the future generations of production professionals in Georgia.

If a film project has a limited budget, shooting on location may be the best financial option. Working with a location scout can also be beneficial in brokering a cost-effective deal for shooting in a specific city or small-town municipality. This is why scouting a Georgia Camera-Ready community like Newton County will make life easy for the cast and crew. We already have experience in granting the permits/access needed and preparing our community for filming at various times.

on location vs sound stage

Another important factor to deliberate in the pre-production stage of a film project is how much control the crew will have over their environment. Take a cue from the cast and crew of AMC’s The Walking Dead, who all had difficulty adapting to the sweltering Georgia heat. Though, Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) says it pays off in the long-run in contributing to the grit and emotion of the show.

However, it is crucial that you plan ahead for the weather and time of year in order to depict the correct setting for a production. Georgia is famous for its erratic weather mood-swings, and can delay a project for days or even weeks. This is one instance where shooting on a studio sound stage may be valuable to the producers and crew.

Creative Credibility

on location vs sound stage
The Vampire Diaries on location at the Newton Co. Historic Courthouse

“Creative Credibility” is really just our fancy way to say authenticity. But it’s important to consider the creative direction of a film or series, and how authentic the setting will feel to its audience. For example, leasing studio space may be the best option for a sci-fi production that will use a lot of CGI and other-worldly effects. However, many Hollywood productions film in areas like Covington/Newton County for that truly authentic, all-American, small town feel that can’t be recreated on a sound stage.

on location vs sound stage
On location in Newton County with Miracles From Heaven

Online television streaming services are taking advantage of both types of production in Georgia for their growing number of original series’. Netflix produces Stranger Things both on a sound stage and by shooting on-location in local areas like the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. Recent Netflix hit Ozark was shot in Woodstock, Norcross, and Canton, Georgia at Lake Allatoona. Additionally, Amazon Prime just wrapped an unreleased supernatural series The Lore (produced by Julie Plec of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals), filmed on location in Covington, Oxford, and in Atlanta studios.

Once Three Ring Studios opens its doors in Covington, Georgia, Newton County will have everything a TV and film production needs as far as film locations and studio sound stage space. Our camera-ready community has been featured in Hollywood productions to mimic urban and downtown areas of Louisiana/New Orleans, Alabama, Virginia, and Mississippi. To keep up with the latest film happenings in Covington/Newton County, follow Go Covington and Three Ring Studios on social media!

The Walking Dead Pilot Episode: On-Location in Historic Mansfield

Everyone’s favorite zombie series, AMC’s The Walking Dead, is about to return this fall for its eighth season, and the premiere will mark its 100th episode. During the previous season, the story took a dark turn with Rick’s group coming up against Negan and his group of Saviors— the most diabolical nemesis Rick’s group has seen thus far. Today, we’re taking you on a “Flashback Friday” to the first episode and series pilot, Days Gone Bye, which was locally-lensed in our tiny Newton County municipality of Mansfield, Georgia.

the walking dead

Principal photography for The Walking Dead commenced in May 2010 in Atlanta and surrounding areas. Series creator Frank Darabont felt that Atlanta offered the essentials. “Atlanta and Georgia all-told is proving to be brilliant for us in terms of what it has to offer, in terms of what the story needed, in terms of the variety of locations—it really is a fantastic place to shoot,” said Darabont about filming the series in our state.

The hot, humid Georgia climate made production difficult for cast and crew. Darabont and other production pros found it hard to acclimate, and being beaten up by the weather eventually became a running joke among crew members. Andrew Lincoln, who played protagonist Rick Grimes, believes that these weather conditions contributed to the grit and emotion you see in the show. “There’s a lot of hard-earned sweat on camera. It’s not comfortable and it’s not pleasant, but it’s as you would imagine it would be trying to survive in this world,” Lincoln added.

At the very beginning of Days Gone Bye, we’re taken on a flashback into Rick’s past, pre-zombie epidemic, where police officers Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh enjoy a burger with friendly conversation in their squad car. This scene was shot in the parking lot of Blackwell’s Grocery Store and the Mansfield Post Office in rural Mansfield. Then, just as the pair is finishing up their lunch, a dispatcher comes on the radio and alerts them to a nearby incident where help is needed. The two speed away as Shane slam-dunks his leftovers in a trashcan, and you can see the old Mansfield train depot in the background as the car hurries out of the lot.

Once Rick and Shane meet up with the remainder of their team, the deputies set up a road block with spike strips to catch a local perpetrator on the run. As soon as the criminal hurdles through these road spikes, he crashes into a nearby pasture and his car flips several times before landing upside down. Then, the driver exits the vehicle, and a gun fight ensues that leads to Rick being shot in the midst of the chaos. This action-packed scene was also filmed on rural, country backroads in Mansfield.

the walking dead

This is what kicks off the true beginning of the story of The Walking Dead as Rick wakes up from a coma in the hospital, post-apocalypse. After leaving the hospital and realizing the gravity of the situation he’s found himself in, Rick returns home to find his family. His family is nowhere to be found, but instead Rick encounters Morgan Jones. Once he learns more about this post-apocalyptic world from Morgan and his son Stuart, Rick decides to return to Atlanta to find a rumored refugee camp, and hopefully his wife and son.

On his way, Rick runs out of gas in the middle of nowhere and is forced to walk on foot to find gas or resources. This leads him to a gorgeous, white farmhouse in the country where is he able to find the horse that takes him to Atlanta. This home, and the road Rick runs out of gas on, are local landmarks in rural Mansfield.

the walking dead

These local The Walking Dead film locations are a little-known nugget of knowledge for many fans and “Walker Stalkers.” However, our community is so pleased to have hosted this hit AMC series in its early days. In fact, this pilot episode attained 5.35 million viewers during the premiere, making it the most-viewed series premiere in AMC history. It also received the highest rating in the 18-49 demographic among cable TV programming that year. After two additional encore presentations aired, the total viewers reached a total of 8.1 million. This made Days Gone Bye the highest-rated cable telecast to date in 2010. Local film history in the making!

As you eagerly await the premiere of Season 8 on October 22, take a flashback with us and revisit The Walking Dead pilot on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or AMC.com to pick out these local scenes as well. And if you’re feeling especially zombified, plan a visit to Newton County and take a walk around Mansfield to experience it for yourself.

For a very special behind-the-scenes look at The Walking Dead pilot, Days Gone Bye, check out this short video:

Top Vampire Diaries Film Locations in the ‘Reel’ Mystic Falls

Earlier this year, we ushered in the final moments of the eight-season series, The Vampire Diaries. For eight years in a row, CW production teams & crews took over areas of Covington, GA in order to create the landscape of fictional Mystic Falls. Because these local Vampire Diaries film locations are actual homes & structures shot on-location, it makes Mystic Falls come alive in a very reel way. Covington has branded itself #ForeverMysticFalls, because the spirit of the show and everyone’s favorite characters endure although the series has wrapped.

Luckily, the series is still available on Netflix so that fans may relive their favorite moments on-screen. The only thing better than watching your favorite moments of movie-magic are seeing and feeling them for yourself! Tours of film locations have been running for several years, and business is still booming even post-finale. The following spots are the top Vampire Diaries film locations in Downtown Covington, the reel Mystic Falls:

Courthouse and Square Park
vampire diaries film locations

This is the most popularly used local landmark throughout the entire Vampire Diaries series. Some of the most memorable moments of our historic courthouse and Square Park include Damon & Elena jumping off the top of the clocktower, Enzo’s steamy make-out session with the coat check girl, Alaric escaping from the sewer below the clocktower, and the Founders Day parade. These are just a few of the many countless moments on our square!

Covington has The Vampire Diaries to thank for eight years worth of film to make our historic square & courthouse the iconic tourist attractions that they are today. We are also pleased to welcome the popular supernatural spinoff, The Originals, to film in Newton County areas like local Porterdale, as well as Covington, and keep the spirit of Mystic Falls alive.

Mystic Grill

vampire diaries film locations
Photo via @nicolehaser on Instagram

Not only is the Mystic Grill Restaurant a great place for a bite to eat, it’s also a great way to see a piece of reel film history! A very popular scene that features the Mystic Grill as a location is when Lexi, Stefan’s longtime friend, is staked by Damon in Season 1.

The stairs on the side of the building are where one of the Original brothers, Finn, was staked in Season 3.  Damon also ripped out the heart of a stranger in the alleyway at the bottom of the stairwell in Season 7.

Worthington Manor -aka- Lockwood Mansion
vampire diaries film locations

This local home should look very familiar to any Vampire Diaries fan.  Worthington Manor is easily recognizable from the front gate as Lockwood Mansion, were many parties were held throughout the series, as well as the masquerade ball, founders ball, and the famous “Steroline” wedding in the series finale. Owners Ben and Ralph keep the grounds beautifully manicured so the location always looks just as pristine as it does on-screen.

The Gilbert House
vampire diaries film locations

There are several notable film moments that take place on the front porch of the Gilbert House, including the juicy Damon and Katherine kiss during the finale episode of Season 1.  This historic home on Floyd Street is also where Original brother, Klaus, tried to break down the front door in Season 3 to find Elena. According to the Vampire Diaries canon, Elena burned the house down in season 4 after her brother Jeremy was killed.

However, the reel Gilbert House is still very much intact, and was still continuously used for filming, especially in season 6, as well as the series finale. See if you can scope out this location by driving down historic Floyd Street!

Covington City Cemetery on Elm Street
vampire diaries film locations

Covington City Cemetery his is the very real and historic graveyard where many civil war soldiers and confederate congressman are buried. It is in this location that Isobel, Elena’s mother, took her life, in addition to being the burial place of Jon Gilbert and Aunt Jenna.  It’s also the location that Damon admitted to Stefan in Season 2 that he was dying of a werewolf bite, inflicted by Tyler Lockwood.

There are many other local homes & sites that can be identified as Vampire Diaries filming locations. All you have to do is re-watch episodes of the hit vampire series, and plan a trip to Covington, GA to experience the reel Mystic Falls! It just may haunt you forever if you don’t…

The ‘Reel’ Film Covington Experience: Film Tourism in Covington, GA

In the golden age of traveling fun and wanderlust, a popular travel trend on the rise is dedicated to film tourism. We’ve seen a huge surge in film tourism in Georgia over the past 10 years with Hollywood productions, big and small, flocking to the Peach State to set up shop. The state’s amazing film tax incentives and dynamic landscapes make it a great place to shoot. Covington, GA is among one of the first communities in Georgia to become “Camera-Ready” and has really reaped the benefits of film tourism in recent years. If you’d like to experience all things film in Covington/Newton County, we’ve got some very special attractions just for you!

In recent years, our Newton County Visitor’s Bureau has partnered with local merchants to develop a series of tours to satisfy your film tourism craving. The most popular tours available are with Vampire Stalkers/Mystic Falls Tours, where you’ll get the experience the on-location homes of Mystic Falls that are featured on both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

film tourism
Photo via @ifiwereacoolkid on Instagram

Visitors from all over the globe travel to our town daily to experience this tour. Tourists also have the ability to shop among a wide selection of vampire merchandise and memorabilia at the On Location Gifts store, run by Mystic Falls Tours.

Another tour that’s available on select evenings is the local Covington Ghost Tours. While this tour doesn’t focus as much on the film aspect of our community, visitors who take this tour are still able to see many of the historic homes featured on In the Heat of the Night, as well as the the cemetery featured in The Vampire Diaries. The tour also stops by our very own Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast— which has a very rich film history of its own!

Additionally, our team at the Visitor’s Center has developed a self-guided walking tour for viewing the antebellum homes just off the square, many of which were used on-location for In the Heat of the Night. There is also a self-guided tour map available of various Hollywood “stars” around the square that are included in the Covington Walk of Stars.

film tourism
Photo via @bryanridarick on Instagram

Our iconic courthouse on the Downtown Covington Square is quite famous when it comes to film. Visitors to the courthouse may view the set pieces from the movie Selma, which featured scenes inside the courthouse and on the square. The main courtroom on the second level was also used in the 2011 remake of Footloose, but is not available for regular tours. Other productions that show our courthouse & Square Park include The Vampire Diaries, Dukes of Hazzard, In the Heat of the Night, Remember the Titans, and Run Ronnie Run.

film tourism

The Georgia Department of Economic Development and Tourism with Explore Georgia designated Covington as one of the various areas in the state to receive a special Selfie Spot that shows off our courthouse in the background of your self-portraits. Visitors to the Square Park can find the blue and purple decal on the sidewalk with suggested hashtags: #GeorgiaFilm and #ForeverMysticFalls.

Another very special attraction we’ve just opened this week is Georgia’s first ever television & film museum, right here on the square. We are calling it our Pop-Up TV & Film Museum because it literally just popped up in this location, and we are hoping to find a more permanent home in the future. Our first visitors came to the soft opening of the museum on Saturday, July 1st, and we saw an incredible turnout of museum tourists during Stars & Stripes Fest this past Tuesday on July 4th.

film tourism
Photo via the Rockdale/Newton Citizen

Many of our visitors were thrilled to experience re-created scenes from The Vampire Diaries and have the chance to see and touch pieces from on-set. Also included are items from In the Heat of the NightSleepy Hollow, and many of the feature films that were shot here in Covington/Newton County. Though this museum is mainly featuring local production, we would like to offer our visitors a taste of all things Georgia Film. We are currently accepting donations of items related to Georgia state productions to show off to our many film tourists. Use and follow hashtag #FilmCovington to share your content and view content from other visitors.

film tourism
Photo via the Rockdale/Newton Citizen

And if this isn’t enough of a reel taste of the original Hollywood of the South®, we have a culinary tour of sorts with special “Hollywood” branded cocktails, local entrees, and sweet treats to curb your appetite. So what are you waiting for? Book your stay at one of our many great area hotels and come experience history, hauntings, Hollywood, and happiness!