Former warzone photographer James Vellacott is ready for his next big adventure – opening a film production hub for co-working next to his own Cherryduck Studios in Wapping.
James set up Cherryduck with his wife Michelle Grant in 2008, originally operating out of their back room before re-mortgaging their home to buy the first part of the studios near to St Katherine Docks in 2010.
After enjoying years of success with Cherryduck and its studios, where they employ 19 full time members of staff for film production and post-production services, the couple are ready to help smaller companies get on the first step of the ladder.
In February 2016, they bought an 8,000sq ft former residential property next to their studios - which occupies 21,000sq ft itself.
Known as The Nest, the new workspace is due to open in October, and James is hoping to persuade local celebrities Dame Helen Mirren and Graham Norton to attend the grand opening.
“We had to go through the process of transforming residential space into commercial space,” said James.
“Everyone thought we were mad because there’s so much money in property, but we aren’t property developers. We aren’t speculators. We do what we do and need space to do that, and we need to know we can have that space for a long time.
“There’s a serious lack of affordable office space for small businesses like us. I think it’s fair to say that having a business in central London is a pretty expensive thing to do.
“I want to attract more production and creative industries to Tower Hamlets.
“We want to give people safe space where they can concentrate on working and getting their business off the ground.”
The Nest will be built over two floors, and includes an open plan office, break-out spaces, conference booths, post-production workspaces and screening rooms.
Tenants will have direct access to studios, cameras, lighting, props and edit suites, as well as getting the chance to work alongside a creative community including marketers, designers, filmmakers, animators and producers.
The hub will have around 35 spaces, and James said there will be a strict selection process to ensure a community is created where ideas can flourish.
He added: “We’re building a one stop shop. We’re proud of it. We want other companies to come in, people we can work with on their projects and people who can work with us on ours.
“We need people really using and getting the most out of the office space.
“I will be very selective about who comes in here. We want people who are on our wavelength.
“We’re not looking for a massive profit. What we want is for it to be a cool space where people can come up with great ideas, and where we will have this amazing creative community working together in one place.”
For more information about renting a space for your company a The Nest, check here .
Find out more about Cherryduck and its wide range of video services here.
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