Film Studio Coming Into Focus
Feb 01, 2017 02:54PM
● By Makayla Gay
By John Jeter
The Upstate isn’t what you’d call the home office for the box office, but that may be coming into focus. A film-production company, KOOLFLIX, opens a high-end soundstage in Greenville this month, thanks to a veteran actor and videographer who has worked from Times Square to Tinseltown.
“When you have big films coming to this area, to the Upstate, they need a recording soundstage, or to be able to build a set, to be able to shoot an interior scene,” KOOLFLIX owner Tim Angevine says in his new studio at 20 Grand Ave., off North Pleasantburg Drive. “This will have that capacity.”
Angevine’s space, in total, comprises 5,000 square feet, split in half.
Back-of-the-house includes a 1,500-square-foot, fully soundproofed soundstage with a lighting grid; a kitchen; a scene shop to build custom sets; and a 700-square-foot “live room,” a decked-out recording studio for bands to make albums or music videos. Hallway windows offer views into virtually all rooms.
The front half features four offices and a “bullpen,” an incubator and co-work space whose four cubicles are each equipped with an iMac loaded with professional video and audio software. Those will be leased to independent creatives who, like Angevine, earn their bread and butter on client-driven film, photo, and audio work, among other things.
Angevine, an alumnus of Clemson’s acting/directing program, started his career in New York, where he starred in Off-Broadway shows and television ads. He has also shot and edited film in London, Prague, the Caribbean, and Los Angeles, where he launched KOOLFLIX in 2002.
“I had a studio on the borderline between L.A. and Beverly Hills,” he says. “My biggest clients were bar mitzvahs.” Instead of cobbling together home pictures for a coming-of-age party, Angevine pitched a different idea: “I said, ‘Hey, this is Hollywood, baby, let’s make a movie of the kids.’”
KOOLFLIX would write 10-minute themed scripts. “We did an Indiana Jones, so we’d go out and shoot segments of this kid. He’s out there with a whip, and we’d have him fly across the Brea Tar Pits.”
That’s where he found his niche and honed his craft.
In 2005, he returned home, joining Fox Carolina. After three years there, he restarted his company. Nowadays, he’s wrapping the studio’s $20,000 buildout, along with Craig Deaton, the facilities manager, and Laura Palis, creative director.
While KOOLFLIX’s may be the newest, it’s not the only soundstage in town. Lingo Films, which also operates Skyline Post, opened in 2005 and bills itself as Greenville’s first full-fledged soundstage. With offices in the One Building downtown and its studio on 40 Commerce St. off Pelham Road and I-85, Lingo offers a 5,000-square-foot soundproofed soundstage with 22-foot ceilings.
“Everything like that would be good for Greenville,” Randall Owens, Lingo’s executive producer and owner, says of his newest competitor. “I think Greenville has a lot of potential. The more qualified folks that we have to pull from, for crew who are local, the better for us and for everybody else in town.”
Says South Carolina Film Commissioner Tom Clark, “It’s pretty exciting to see business coming into Greenville, more production-related business,” he says. “We sometimes have to struggle to find people that are in the business.”
When Hollywood calls, movies often wind up going to, say, Charleston because of resources there; Clark cites the Cinemax TV series, Outcast, which films in a 70,000-square-foot soundstage in Rock Hill, S.C.
Nevertheless, South Carolina still sees some celluloid. “This incredibly diverse state has been the backdrop for more than 100 feature films, 70-plus TV movies, series, and pilots, 500-plus print ad and catalog shoots, and many other mediums,” the commission’s website says.
Perhaps Greenville’s poised now to pick up some of Georgia’s $7 billion film industry, which dwarfs the Palmetto State’s $300 million movie, TV, and “small features” receipts, according to the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Film Commission.
“When you’ve got another production facility or another soundstage, that’s a really big deal,” Clark says.
It’s also a big deal for area companies wanting videos filmed in an affordable, L.A.-quality facility.
Bridget Morris, 34, founder of The Health Dare, a multimillion-dollar company based in Greenville and with offices in Miami, Raleigh, Asheville, and Winston-Salem, N.C., says she’s looking forward to using KOOLFLIX’s new space for cooking and workout video shoots.
“It’ll be fabulous to have a soundproofed studio,” she says. “I almost had to fly in a producer from Nashville, but we wanted someone local. To say we need a studio like this in Greenville is an understatement. This is going to be fabulous.”