By Matt Pellowski
Matt Pellowski is writer, director and producer at Red Line Studios in Lower Manhattan
Running a film production studio and post house in any city can be a challenge—and most who choose this line of work pick either Los Angeles or New York. As any company grows and develops, its requirements change, its goals shift, and prospects for the future adapt to present-day needs. When Red Line Studios, the New York-based independent film studio, hit the eight-year mark in Brooklyn, the demands of the company and the clients we serve began pointing to a search for a new home.
We started years ago in New Jersey, and when you are in New Jersey it’s nice, but no one in New York wants to travel there. So we moved to Brooklyn. Brooklyn served us well for years, but eventually we noticed similar conflicts. New Yorkers would travel to Brooklyn for business, but our LA clients were often turned off at the thought. As our studio grew in size and our clients became more global, we knew it was essential to move our headquarters to Manhattan.
Initially, our objective was to find any appropriate location within Manhattan, but as we started to survey possible sites, we began to ask: What part of Manhattan would be best-suited for our business? Most production companies of a similar structure are situated in Midtown or in the Times Square district, so we first looked there.
However, as a company and as people, we have always been more a leader than a follower, and we have worked to take smart, educated chances that pay off in the long run rather than make quick, hasty decisions. Still, we previewed nearly 75 separate Manhattan possibilities before choosing our current location at 181 Broadway.
We saw lower Manhattan not only as an opportunity to continue what we began years ago in Brooklyn—but also to start something new for the future. It was important for us to be in lower Manhattan because we wanted to bring in a certain line of business not presently being offered there in full force.
While we wanted to exclusively serve the Lower Manhattan area for its film and video needs, we also knew this environment would be an adequate fit for our celebrity clients and the businesses we work with that have specific needs and desires.
Since moving into our current location, we have expanded to take over the entire third floor of our building, and our services have grown to include the only fiberglass green screen studio located in Lower Manhattan, as well as numerous edit suites, make-up rooms, soundproof vocal booths, and production space.
Convenience, accessibility, and the opportunity for continued growth were not the only deciding factors in choosing Lower Manhattan. After 9/11, with the owners of our studio all being native New Yorkers, we saw the move as an opportunity to contribute to the Financial District’s rebirth. When a production company moves into a neighborhood, it helps boost the local economy. When a film is produced, lodgings for cast and crew become a necessity, along with catering, vehicles, wardrobe materials, set construction, and an endless array of other services.
As a company that’s forever growing and expanding, we felt that being in an area where the goals and aspirations of the surrounding community parallel our own would create a mutually beneficial situation.
In the two years we’ve been in Lower Manhattan, Red Line Studios has brought celebrities and organizations to the Downtown area for production needs. They include Joan Collins, Isabella Rossellini, Mayday 360, ABC News, UNICEF, Vonage, Kang and Lee Advertising, actor Paul Reubens, and a number of internationally financed feature films.
This year we’re slated to produce two additional feature productions and a set of musical performance DVDS. Additionally, we’ll begin pre-production on a big-budget action zombie film due to release in 2013.
Red Line Studios also offers exclusive discounts to film students and Lower Manhattan businesses with production or post-production needs. More information on the company can be found here.