Chandler takes center stage as GPAC executive director

Memphis Standout profile for The Memphis Daily News

Nov. 1, 2013

For Paul Chandler, all of Memphis is a stage. The executive director of the Germantown Performing Arts Center has made a career of bringing talent to the city and helping to showcase the homegrown sort, as well.

Born and raised in Memphis, Chandler attended Christian Brothers High School and began working at his father’s advertising agency, Chandler Ehrlich, at a young age.

“I thank him for that because it created a hell of a work ethic. I’ve done just about everything from taking art directors’ work to clients to running errands to filing more paperwork than I ever want to file from 14 years old to 18,” he said.

He got into film production, both in and out of town, working a variety of positions. By his count, he worked on 353 projects in roughly seven years. These included corporate videos, television commercials and music videos.

“I would drive to Nashville often. I’d stay 10 days with friends; I’d work on a country music video every day for 14 to 20 hours a day, come home and sleep for two weeks, and then go back.”

He enjoyed the work but became burned out at a young age due to the grueling hours and pace of the industry.

“In that time, I learned a skill that I use every day in the entertainment industry,” he said. “I can talk to a grip and a gaffer and a loader on the loading dock or on the set and then, in the same breath, turn and talk to the CEO of a company or a superstar. I just learned how to communicate with all types of people.”

It would serve him well when, in 1995, he worked for Memphis in May, charged with the handling of the diplomatic and entertainment visitors from the honored country, Thailand. In addition to other duties, he transported and fed the 78-person Royal Thai Ballet, producing their two-day show, as well, which included building the risers and sets in the Cook Convention Center . . . (read more)