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WHY CHEAP IS BETTER
Located cross the street from a liquor store and next door to a church, Gardenside Studios is situated in an interesting part of Southeast Fresno, the short stretch of Butler Avenue feels both comfortable and seedy at the same time. It seems an unlikely location for one of Fresno's hi-tech audio and video studios, but for the last year Brad Basmajian and Matt Orme's fledging company has called the neighborhood home.
Famous sits down and chats with the two long-time friends and business partners about why they started their business, what sorts of commercials they hate, and how they keep their rates so darn low.
FresnoFamous: How long have you guys been friends?
Brad Basmajian: We've known each other for maybe 10 or 11 years. But we've really become friends over the last couple months.
FF: Why did you decide to go into business together?
Matt Orme: I really like recording music. I recorded my friend's bands as a starting point and eventually we got more gear, we got a camera and it just worked out that me and Brad could work together.
BB: We decided to start a business because in a sense Matt is like a mental sugar daddy and I thrive off of that. We had similar interests
FF: What do you mean by mental sugar daddy?
BB: I don't know. I guess, he's all that and a bag of chips. Believe it or not, I was a much better recording engineer than Matt a while ago and now he's better than me. But there was a while where I was the one who knew what he was doing. Now I'm not.
MO: I have been recording for a while. I guess it's been 9 years since I started four tracking with my friends. Eventually we stepped up and bought more gear, and then we did it again, and you start to really figure stuff out as you go along.
FF: Are there any other nice things about working with Matt?
BB: The fact that he is a friend. And it is great being friends.
FF: Are there any disadvantages to that though, being friends?
BB: No, there aren't [laughs].
FF: Why'd you start the business in Fresno? How'd you decide on this location?
MO: I think we started it because this is where we are. In Fresno you don't have to put up with the high leases and all the costs of living that you face in a larger city. We're both from Fresno and hopefully by starting this here, we'll be able to help change the perception of Fresno as a trash town. We thought we would be appreciated here.
FF: Where'd the name come from, Gardenside?
BB: When I lived in San Francisco, Matt was originally in New York and he ended up moving to San Francisco and into the apartment I was living in, which was on Gardenside Drive in Twin Peaks. It was right by the Sutro Tower and just a crazy place. It had a ton of people coming in and out. It was some sort of Fresno boarding house for awhile. Matt ended up moving in and we were recording all the time just kind of talking about stuff, "if we only had this gear," and "if we only had these resources." Later, when we both ended up back in Fresno because of insane rent in San Francisco, we finally got this business together. Fresno seemed like a prime place. There's a bunch of studios charging L.A. studio rates, which they shouldn't, cause that's not what the scene dictates here.
FF: How are the rates at Gardenside figured?
BB: They're based on being cheaper. We charge less.
MO: There aren't many places where you can get good recordings done for less. We've even been known to record for free if we really like a band. We're flexible and we like to help musicians get their ideas out.
FF: How does that work out financially?
BB: We record digitally so we don't blow money on tapes and it becomes a matter of breaking even with our initial investment in equipment. There's no extra money needing to go out, except the wear and tear on cords and stuff. It's just a matter of getting the studio up to par, building our credibility, and creating a good product. The video side is a little harder to break into
FF: What kind of clients do you work with on the video side?
BB: I have worked the Sleepover Disaster, the Fresno Ballet, the Reel Pride Film Festival as far as organizations go. I've done private editing work for people putting stuff together for acting portfolios.
FF: What sort of gigs are you looking to get in Fresno?
BB: There are a ton of businesses in Fresno who advertise and have horrible, just horrible commercials.
FF: Who do you think has the worst commercials?
BB: I'm not going to answer that ok, Dan Gamel. Dan Gamel RV has horrible commercials. I guess there are a lot of them, you just have to turn on your TV once in awhile and you'll find them. Honestly, there are too many to name. A lot of these companies go to networks to do their commercials, and generally it works out so that the network owns the rights to the commercial, it's a fairly expensive thing, and they are often tied in to advertise on just that one station. Our deal is that we can do it for significantly less and we will put our talents behind it and give it them, they own it, and they can take it to any network they want.
FF: If you could shoot a used car commercial for any used car lot, which would it be?
BB: I'd wanna shoot it for Tag. I love their catchline: At Tag You're It! I would use that over and over and it wouldn't be annoying. It would be nice. There would be explosions with it.
For more information about Gardenside Productions, you can view their website at www.gardensideproductions.com.