Commons Studio Makes Filmmaking Accessible in Kitchener-Waterloo

Commons Studio Makes Filmmaking Accessible in Kitchener-Waterloo

For a long time in Waterloo Region, if you were an independent filmmaker and you were looking to create your own project, be it a short film, documentary, T.V. commercial, or anything involving filming, the closest place you had to be able to rent out the needed equipment was Toronto or Hamilton. It was expensive, time consuming and a huge hassle.

That all changed a year ago when a branch of The Working Centre called the Commons Studio, located at 256 King St. S., opened its doors and provided a much-needed service in the area. Now through a $75 yearly membership, local-film enthusiasts have access to commercial-grade film equipment, state of the art studio editing software and professional guidance and expertise all under one roof.

 Photo: Josh Pederson

Photo: Josh Pederson

This equipment and expertise would not be possible if not for the contributions made by Tony Smith and his organization, Lighthouse Equipment who have partnered with the Commons Studio.

“We have a full collection of high-quality cameras and anything you may need from a grip or lighting perspective," he said. "We have designed our package to cater to what the community needs. If there is something we don’t have, we will get that for you by request."

 Photo: Josh Pederson

Photo: Josh Pederson

Smith said that working with the client, be it an independent film maker or a corporation, is the key to the success of the Common Studio.

“Many independent filmmakers don’t necessarily know what equipment they need, so we will work closely with them by going through their project and figuring out the package that best suits their needs,” says Smith.

“We are trying to respond specifically to what the community is asking for," said Commons Studio Coordinator Nathan Stretch. "The Working Centre has a great history of listening to the community and then acting. Innovation and partnership is a core aspect of the Commons Studio."

It is that sense of community interaction which is the real driving force behind the Commons Studio.

“We are more than just a rental shop,” said Smith. “We have a desire to help grow the industry in the community.”

 Photo: Josh Pederson 

Photo: Josh Pederson 

Smith and Stretch credit the success of the Commons studio with their unique partnership of a non-for-profit charitable organization and a for-profit business. This strategic partnership has generated benefits for both sides.

“One really successful aspect of our partnership has been our co-op program," said Smith. "We take on a lot of high school kids with interest in film creation, it is great to see such an interest in film at a young age and it has really helped grow our organization through employment opportunities."

The Commons Studio is available for public use weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on it and other events from the Working Centre, visit https://www.theworkingcentre.org/commons-studio

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