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Did You Hear? When Not at the Table, You Might Find Philip Covin on the Small Screen

On Fridays, Our Look at the Lives of Real Estate Professionals Outside the Office
October 5, 2018

Brokering commercial real estate deals can be a pressure-packed way to make a living as transactions often require tense negotiations and sometimes fall apart. While some brokers use golf or fish to escape, Philip Covin acts – in Emmy-nominated TV series and films.

Covin, an investment sales and tenant representative at Pollock Commercial in Atlanta, has landed spots in several shows, including the Netflix series “Ozark” starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. The show centers on a family that relocates to Lake Ozark, Missouri, to help – not necessarily by choice – a Mexican drug cartel launder money through various businesses and a riverboat casino.

But Covin only landed a role in the streaming TV series after first acting in local commercials and hearing “No” or nothing at all after casting calls. “Acting is similar to commercial real estate, because you’re trying to land a deal or a gig,” he said. “There’s a lot of rejection that goes along with [acting]. For the most part, you get very little feedback.”

The acting bug first bit Covin when he took a class for non-acting majors while studying business and real estate at the University of Georgia. Covin graduated from Georgia in 1995 and started in commercial real estate the next year. All the while, he continued to act on the side, first in plays in the Atlanta area and then in independent movies filmed in the area in the mid-2000s.

Things got real for Covin in 2008, when his home state signed into law the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act that provides a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on movie and TV production and post production in the state. That opened the gates to scores of major motion pictures and TV series being filmed in the Peach State.

“That brought all of the other opportunities here,” said Covin, who at that time signed with Houghton Talent, an Atlanta-based talent agency.

With scores of TV shows and movies now filmed in Atlanta and its suburbs, new opportunities emerged for Covin. In 2014, he landed a recurring role on “The Game,” a BET show starring Hosea Chanchez and Wendy Raquel Robinson that follows the lives of women in relationships with NFL players. Covin appeared in three episodes as Dr. Rivera during the show’s seventh season.

Covin’s biggest break came on “Ozark.”

“I had seen [most of] the first season when I booked this gig,” he said. “I love the show, the characters and its great writing.” After auditioning, Covin purposely refrained from watching the final episodes of Ozark’s first season. “I didn’t want to build up too much hope,” he said. Then the call came, and Covin earned a spot in the show’s second season, as the head of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

His scene, where he’s behind the a desk talking with Marty Byrde (Bateman), was filmed in a house in Atlanta’s Druid Home neighborhood, not too far from Covin’s actual home. "I’m suddenly dropped into it, talking to the main character,” he said. “It was a pretty surreal experience.”

To prep for his role, in addition to memorizing his lines, Covin sent Netflix some 30 family photos, so the pictures on his desk were really of him and his family. A 24-inch by 36-inch photo of his wedding hung on the wall during the shoot. “It was neat how they make everything so real,” he said, except for the college diploma from Liberty University. The Georgia grad said that prop was used to reflect his character’s conservative nature.

“Bateman was fantastic to work with,” Covin said. Bateman, also executive producer of “Ozark,” was nominated for a 2018 Emmy award for outstanding actor in a drama (won by Matthew Rhys of “The Americans”). Bateman, who also can be seen in “Arrested Development,” was also nominated for best director of a drama series.

Looking ahead, Covin hopes to land more acting roles. He recently played a deputy in the TVOne original movie “Behind the Movement.” The movie centered on the story of Rosa Parks’ refusal to move seats on a bus in Alabama, which led to the Montgomery bus boycott that sparked the Civil Rights movement.

“My acting is sporadic,” Covin said. “Some brokers golf or fish, but acting is my outlet.”

Did you know?  In addition to his deal-making and acting skills, Covin also has some musical talent. While guitar is his favorite musical instrument, he played trumpet in the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band.

Walker & Dunlop Goes Deep for Team, Clients

Commercial real estate services firm Walker & Dunlop is having a busy year. So its New Orleans office’s annual fishing trip this summer provided welcome respite from deal-making and an opportunity to bond with colleagues and clients.

This year, 24 Walker & Dunlop employees and clients boarded boats and headed into the waters off the Louisiana coast for two days of fishing, fun and bonding.

“We make the outing a fun, all-inclusive activity that focuses on building personal relationships instead of being solely focused on business,” said Addy Burr, a marketing associate at Walker & Dunlop. “There is always a friendly fishing competition between the boats on the first day. Louisiana is known for its hunting and fishing, and this is a great opportunity to bring our partners and clients from across the East Coast to our office and local area.”

Because its New Orleans office has a high percentage of female producers on its team, Walker & Dunlop’s trip wasn’t just a bunch of guys hanging out. A group of six women went on the excursion and had a boat of their own for part of it.

The group included four female Walker & Dunlop employees, Emily Garner, a vice president in the New Orleans office; loan officer Jessie Bland; Laura Woltanski, a multifamily loan officer; and Blair Priest, a vice president and deputy chief officer. Two guests also joined the female group. Celeste Favrot of Favrot & Shane Cos., a Metairie, Louisiana-based architecture firm, and Felicity McDonald, a corporate and real estate paralegal at Atlanta multifamily investment and development firm Cortland.

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