Reposted from the article “Local Shatterglass Studios tells stories through ads” by Zefan Araya of The Daily Illini on April 2, 2012 – 10:08 PM
“We tell a story.”
That is what every member of the Shatterglass team said when asked what set them apart from their competitors.
Shatterglass Studios, located in Champaign, is a film company focused on new media. They have produced two short films, created several short documentaries for the University and other sponsors, and won three Telly Awards in the past two years. Though Shatterglass creates advertising content, they are sure to distinguish themselves from a typical advertising company.
“We try to create stories that have real emotion or impact, that people can watch enjoyably as a film, even though it might be about a program at U of I or about what a company is selling,” said Luke Boyce, co-owner and creative director at Shatterglass.
Over spring break, Shatterglass accompanied a group of MBA students who worked on a global consulting project in Brazil. These students traveled to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to present their midpoint evaluations to six companies.
Shatterglass sent Brett Hays, co-owner and producer of Shatterglass, and Myles Beeson, production supervisor and senior in Business, on the trip to document their experiences.
“They really followed us around on our whole Brazil experience,” said Obi Egekeze, an MBAstudent who worked on the consulting project. “I was pretty impressed with not only their work, but just the chance to get to know them. They’re really good guys.”
Egekeze developed a close relationship with Hays and Beeson throughout the trip and appreciated how willing they were to help the participants and get to know them on a personal level. Egekeze even learned about their equipment and how they created videos.
“I’m not a photographer,” Egekeze said, “but they had the most up to date equipment. The way they were shooting us, you’d think there was only one way to do it, but they had so many ways to not only take pictures but to capture experiences … they were always thinking out of the box.”
Shatterglass worked hard to capture everyone’s experiences, whether they were Brazilian natives or had never left the United States before. Hays, Beeson and another freelance videographer worked 14 hours a day to make sure they captured every critical moment of the trip, from company presentations to morning jogs.
“A couple of us went out on a jog early in the morning,” Egekeze said. “And they followed us to get the beach and the sight of us jogging on the beach. They were able to capture everything everyone wanted to do, there was always a lens to capture it … they really wanted to encompass everyone’s experience into one good video.”
Egekeze shared his experiences with Shatterglass enthusiastically, and truly appreciated all the dedication and creativity the team put into the project.
“If I had to rate them from one to 10, I’d give them a 100,” he said. “It wasn’t like there were a bunch of strange people following you around; it was like they were family.”
The Shatterglass team appreciates building relationships with its customers, and this is the main reason they chose to stay in the Champaign-Urbana area. The company faced many challenges during its early life. For about a year, Shatterglass Studios considered moving to Austin, Texas,in an attempt to generate more business in the independent film industry.
“Most companies went outside the state to get the kind of video that we provide, just because in Champaign, there’s that lingering feeling that there wasn’t an option here,” Boyce said.
Shatterglass had prepared to move to Austin within the year, but soon realized that the Champaign community had something special.
“We realized that, as we started doing projects in Champaign, people were happy to refer you and people wanted to create relationships … We started creating these relationships and realized Champaign is its own sort of micro-Austin,” Boyce said. “There’s a very open feeling in Champaign that allows you to make commercial art, and that’s why companies like us can thrive here … because it’s just a really cool atmosphere for cultivating that kind of feeling.”
Shatterglass halted its plans to move to Austin and settled in Champaign, excited at the opportunity to bring in jobs, stimulate the local economy and bring a film industry environment to the area. The company maintains a close relationship with the University, creating content for many of the University’s departments, working closely with the College of Media, and hiring four student interns for the summer.
Last year, Hays and Boyce took an extra step to actively participate in the C-U community, creating the Champaign Urbana Film Society. The CU Film Society is a non-profit organization that hosts educational workshops and screenings, invites directors and actors to the community and generates enthusiasm for the film industry.
Beeson connected with Shatterglass by chance when he saw the team shooting video at the Business Instructional Facility. Because of this, he admires the impact that the CU Film Society will have on the community.
“For me, if I had known about (the CU Film Society) before, that would be more of an incentive to move to Champaign. It’s good for the community, and it’s good for the students here,” Beeson said.
Beeson is accepting a full-time offer with Shatterglass after he graduates, and hopes to help in the expansion of the program.
The CU Film Society’s first event was a DSLR workshop. They recently received a grant from the city of Urbana, which they plan to use to host at least one workshop per quarter.
“We’re planning workshops on a lot of different things: on shooting, on screen writing, on production … We have hopes of doing a lot more, but since we’re young and trying to figure out how to get the money for those things, the grant’s gonna be a huge help with that,” Boyce said.
Both Hays and Boyce expressed their appreciation for the community that the University creates, and all the creativity that the students bring to the area. They hope the students will utilize the opportunities that the CU Film Society will bring.
“(A piece of advice is) take initiative,” Hays said. “There’s a lot of reasons to not go the extra mile, or even the extra step … take initiative, and work hard because when you go out there to get a job or an internship, the first thing we look at is what kind of initiative that person takes. Do they need to be told something or are they already doing it?”