Bill Hayes – Founder & CEO
Bill Hayes is the Founder and CEO of Figure 8 Films and Thunder Mountain Media. Since the beginning of Figure 8 Films in 1992, Bill has executive produced over 1,400 programs for the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, National Geographic, UP, OWN, BBC and DIY. He has also produced and directed numerous shows and documentaries. Among those shows are numerous award-winners and some of the longest running and highest rated shows ever on cable television.
Bill founded Thunder Mountain Media in 2016 to produce the feature documentaries Morgan Wootten: Godfather of Basketball and The Real Mayberry. In 2022, Thunder Mountain Media produced The Uncommon Story: Notable North Carolinians, a series of 24 short videos that were released on PBS NC in early 2023. They are currently in pre-production on Occudocs and the second season of The Uncommon Story: Notable North Carolinians, as well as numerous other projects.
Bill is from Mt. Airy, North Carolina and a graduate of Duke University. He has served on the board for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and presented at Realscreen and Television Critics conferences. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and a guest lecturer at Duke University. He has been the subject of numerous stories and articles, including North Carolina People with William Friday and North Carolina Public Radio’s The State of Things. He has written for Our State Magazine.
Bill, his wife Diane, and their two young sons live and work on top of a small mountain farm west of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Erin Upson – President
Erin Upson is President of Thunder Mountain Media, where she has overseen the production of digital content and documentaries since 2016, including the PBS NC series The Uncommon Story: Notable North Carolinians, and documentary features Morgan Wootten: The Godfather of Basketball and The Real Mayberry. They are currently in pre-production on Occudocs and the second season of The Uncommon Story: Notable North Carolinians, as well as numerous other projects.
Upson began her career in 1999, where she worked at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles. Shortly after, she joined Ridley Scott and Tony Scott at Scott Free Productions, rising to Vice President of Development and Production. She co-produced In Her Shoes, directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Cameron Diaz, and A Good Year, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe. Upson developed and worked on a variety of projects while at Scott Free.
Erin grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been a guest lecturer at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Elon University. After years in Los Angeles, she now lives in Chapel Hill with her three children.