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Sign writer adds realism to sets for films made in Georgia

Tim Dingle’s third grade teacher predicted he would earn a living as an artist someday. She was right.

The self-taught artist who spent his school days doodling on his homework, is now a sought-after sign writer in the film industry.

As a sign writer, Tim works with a graphic designer from the art department to come up with a plan for signage on a set. Together they decide what to prioritize and where to put it.

“I take the ideas we discuss and figure out how to create the artwork using designs and methods from that time period,” says Tim. “I’ve collected millions of fonts into a massive book collection that I use to find an appropriate look for the message we’re conveying.”

Tim started out as a boat captain, running a river boat on the Mississippi River. He ended up in Memphis and as Beale Street grew, Tim honed his lettering, pinstriping, faux wood grain, faux marbling, and mural artistic skills. He worked on anything that was needed in the growing city.

Eventually a TV show came to town called “The Mississippi,” filmed on a paddle boat. Tim got his foot in the door of the film industry creating signs and faux finishes for the production. More shows came to Memphis and Tim found work on many of them.

Productions eventually dried up in Tennessee when the film tax incentives ended. Tim moved to Austin and worked for a decade on productions there.

“When the tax incentives ended in Texas, a lot of people moved to Georgia to find work,” says Tim. “My friends started calling me and telling me to come to Georgia. I moved in 2016 and quickly started working again.”

Now living in Stockbridge, Tim has found plenty of work in Georgia. For “Stranger Things,” he helped transform Patrick Henry High School, painting Hawkins Middle School 80-feet long onto the brick. He’s currently working on a Marvel production and hopes to stay in Georgia.

“I’ll be here until I retire. No more moving, I love the shows that are here.”

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