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Bartow County musicians cast in cable TV series
by Monica Burge
July 01, 2013 11:50 AM | 3151 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chris Hill and Jerrod “J-Rod” Sullivan will be featured in an upcoming episode of “Being Mary Jane” on BET.
Chris Hill and Jerrod “J-Rod” Sullivan will be featured in an upcoming episode of “Being Mary Jane” on BET.
Jerrod “J-Rod” Sullivan and Chris Hill knew they wanted to be musicians at an early age.

Sullivan, a Cartersville High School graduate, started using the pots and pans from his mother Alfreda’s kitchen as instruments at 18-months old.

“We noticed his talent pretty early on,” said father Jonathan Sullivan.

The elder Sullivan said he bought his son a drum kit at age four and the rest is history.

Hill, who is the youngest of six children, said he grew up in a musically-gifted family so music has always been his passion.

He asked for and finally received his first bass guitar at age 13 and said he has been playing since.

“It all just kind of went from there,” said Hill, a Woodland High School graduate.

The two are now professional musicians who, along with band mates Daniel “D. Rhodes” Dureng and Xeryus Gittens, perform together as Motion Picture Unit.

The name for the band and its serendipitous beginning stem from their first official “gig” – a role in a cable television series.

Sullivan said the musicians decided to link up after hearing about a new show being filmed in Atlanta, “Being Mary Jane,” which premiered Tuesday on BET.

The show is an original movie starring Gabrielle Union as a successful TV news anchor and an entirely self-sufficient powerhouse who remains devoted to a family that doesn’t share her motivation, the network’s website stated.

Sullivan said earlier this year Hylton Casting announced that producers were looking for a house band to feature in an episode of the movie’s spin-off series of the same name.

Motion Picture Unit submitted a press kit and Sullivan said they were chosen for the role.

Filming for the episode took two days, April 22 and April 23, at the Georgia Terrace Hotel with each day’s shoot lasting about 12 hours Sullivan said.

The band is featured in episode five and Sullivan said a lot of hard work went into making it all look real.

Sullivan said the band didn’t actually play live music for the taping, but the recorded tracks used during production are Motion Picture Unit’s actual music.

Hill said being involved in the film was a memorable experience.

“It was fun,” Hill said. “It was definitely motivating.”

Sullivan, who graduated from the Atlanta Institute of Music in 2012, said that in addition to networking with cast members, Motion Picture Unit also learned important lessons about show business.

“I learned how to act on a professional level,” Sullivan said. “It was a great experience.”

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