Shatterglass Studios has arrived.
The new media development, film and video production company has made quite a name for themselves in Champaign County.
Shatterglass has worked on a number of projects in the community with such prestigious clients as Ebertfest, The Illinois Connection, Carle, Gillette and more. The company has been featured in numerous film festivals, including the Sonoma International Film Festival and screened at the Cannes Independent Film Festival, winning several awards and accolades along the way.
While Brett Hays and Luke Boyce are happy to share the secret to their success, it is a trait uniquely theirs – their partnership.
Boyce said he knew he wanted to do something artistic since he was a young boy. He was involved with his first film when he was only 14 years old. But when he graduated from high school it seemed music was his calling. He was the co-founder and lead singer of a pop-rock band for six years, but eventually decided to follow his first dream – film making.
Boyce knew he wouldn’t be able to run a creative company on his own. He had watched his father, an artist, struggle with all that comes along with running a business – scheduling, paperwork and networking. So when Boyce was connected with Hays, it was dream realized for both.
The pair set out at the end of 2005 to create a different kind of film production company. Their vision was to create commercial videos with a narrative storytelling theme that imitates a documentary – something they now call “docu-narrative.” Their company was originally based out of Springfield, but the duo saw so much promise in the Champaign-Urbana area they made the decision to relocate.
“Every community has a business sector,” Boyce said. “But in other places there are no relationships. It’s completely different here. There’s a cultural aspect and we’ve built friendships.”
Boyce is the creative director for the company and leads the vision for the style of film Shatterglass produces. Hays networks with companies, reaches out to new clients and maintains good relationships. Hays, a graphic designer, appreciates Boyce’s creative angle, but lets him lead. Throughout the years, that mutual respect has created a deep, trusting friendship. They say that is the real secret to their success.
“Having Brett to take the business load off my shoulders is so key,” he explains. “I just couldn’t do it myself.”
Shatterglass reached a major milestone when they moved into their new location this year at 309 S. Neil Street. The space is decked out in modern furniture, primary colors and vintage movie items. It is a creative paradise. As their company has grown and expanded, they needed the physical space to branch out. They are currently adding a complete sound stage, rivaling major production companies.
This branching out and creating a more-equipped building is all in hopes of bringing films to Champaign-Urbana. Though they say they will always have a commercial side, the next goal is to majorly expand their film side to become a reputable film production studio.
“The benefits to having a visible building with a sound stage will be huge,” Boyce said. “If a film was to come here, now we can have production offices, a sound stage, we can build sets. We can also coordinate with the community. Having this will give legitimacy.”
Hays is also quick to point out that films bring business to communities. A moderately-sized film will bring new crew members into the community. There could also be employment opportunities.
“People don’t realize what an economic boom film making can be,” he said.
He also explains that producing movies in smaller markets is currently trending. Many are moving away from Hollywood.
Boyce and Hays not only want to bring success to the community, but they want to engage the community with filmmaking. That’s a major reason they started the Champaign-Urbana Film Society – to educate and inspire community members.
“We want to inspire people, especially young people, that film is a viable job and art form,” he said.
The Champaign-Urbana Film Society plans to host a workshop for high school students in February or March. Shatterglass is going to bring in reputable professionals in the industry and give kids a hands-on approach to both the equipment and experience.
“Filmmaking is so good for communities,” Boyce said. “Even in a down economy people go to the movies. In 10 years, we want major films to be made here.”
Shatterglass Studios is located at 309 S. Neil St. in Champaign. They can be found online at www.shatterglassstudios.com.
For more information on the 2012 Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award see “Shatterglass Earns Small-Business of the Year Award”