Birdhouse Studio is filming music videos around Tunbridge Wells
1st June 2018
Film production company The Birdhouse Studio has become the latest creative agency to build a success story in Tunbridge Wells.
Co-FoundersMarcus Sweeney-Bird and Helene Menardi, who are engaged, only started the Monson Road firm six months ago and are finding the town perfect for their line of work.
The five-strong team have already made their mark by producing films for big brands such as Chevrolet, Cisco, BT and Jaguar Land Rover.
They have also recently completed three music videos for up and coming artists Gizelle Smith, Jennings Couch and Laurence Jones.
The latter collaboration was particularly successful with the video for his latest single Give Me Your Time notching up one million views on YouTube.
All three videos were shot locally.
Mr Sweeney-Bird said: 'We owe a large part of our success to being located in Tunbridge Wells.
'[It has helped that we are] so close and accessible to London and especially Gatwick, whilst receiving great support from the local film office and neighbouring businesses.
'Scouting for music videos has been a joy, with such a variety of unique locations nearby and at much more reasonable rates than London.
'We're giving back to the local community wherever we can, helping interesting start-ups and small business owners with promo films and in-house photography.'
The potential for growth in this market has even prompted Tunbridge Wells Borough Council leaders to map out future town and office plans to benefit culture.
The authority's Deputy Leader Alan McDermott told the Times: 'Our aim is to make it a creative town, that was one of our aims with the culture hub and we think, with the theatre as well.'
MrSweeney-Bird continued: 'For Gizelle Smith's new music video Dust, we wanted an Americana vibe, and for some inexplicable reason in Hurst Green, there is a small pocket of the USA.
'During one day, over 13 hours, we were able to shoot at the A21 diner, Sunnybank Garage and T&J Motel, all within a five minute drive of each other, to create a very unique film, all at a low cost.'
He added that their shoot for Couch Jennings' Animal Instinct was also shot at locations no more than half an hour from Monson Road. Some of these had been recommended by theKent Film Office.
Before launching Birdhouse, MrSweeney-Bird had worked for 15 years in the music industry, having worked with artists such as Eric Clapton, Julia Michaels and Joe Bonamassa.
He added: 'Byworking with the Kent Film Office, we were quickly and easily able to source a number of cost-effective and local locations for these emerging artists.
'Filming within Kent gave us freedom and flexibility.'
Birdhouse have also recently worked with the University of Surrey to produce films for their Future AI and Robotics for Space Hub