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Entrepreneurship, film and Kamloops: Mastermind Studios expansion big news for all three

The Interior Centre for Film and Digital Arts will host everything from motion picture screenings to video game startups
Peter Cameron-Inglis, CEO of Mastermind Studios, is dreaming of a centre slightly smaller than the Death Star. (via Brendan Kergin)

The Interior Centre for Film and Digital Arts might not sound too Hollywood, but it could take the Kamloops film and video game scene to the next level.

The project is the brainchild of Mastermind Studios CEO Peter Cameron-Inglis. The local video production company is expanding its space as of May 1, and a part of that will include the centre, which will act as an incubator for new motion picture and video game ideas.

"This is something that we need; this is something that our economy needs, and after waiting three decades for somebody to do it, we just can't wait anymore. Somebody has to take the risk," he tells KamloopsMatters during a tour of the studios. "We're just starting to reach out now. Askem Talent has just joined us, they're the only official registered talent agency in the region."

MastermindStudios5The green screen in the new sound stage at Mastermind Studios. (via Brendan Kergin)
Essentially, people who work in the film industry will have a hub in Kamloops. Those with new ideas can start their business, neighbouring like-minded individuals. Smaller companies will have access to resources for a fraction of the cost they'd pay on their own. And Kamloops might just be able to draw bigger productions on a regular basis.

"What the film industry needs are facilities and crew. Those are the two things that have long held the film industry back from coming to the Interior," Cameron-Inglis says. "Now, we're building out the facilities."

Mastermind is already a success story from the Kamloops incubator and co-working scene. Founded in 2010, it was originally based out of the Kamloops Innovation Centre. It grew, moved out and ended up in its current home on Laval Crescent.

And now it's growing again. In September, it almost doubled in size when it acquired a sound stage (with massive green screens) and 3,000 square feet of space. The May 1 expansion will double its floor space again, from 6,500 square feet to 13,000 square feet.

Included in that will be the incubation centre, along with warehouse space for more equipment, a sound recording studio and a 60-seat screening theatre.

"We all share the costs of the facilities and, as a result, we can all afford to have better facilities than most companies have in Vancouver," Cameron-Inglis says. "For those who believe that they have a skill set in the form of a company or service that they'd like to provide the film industry, we'd encourage them to come up to talk to us.

"We can give them access to full studio green screen facilities, motion capture, hair and makeup, actors, voice-over artists, the works."

MastermindStudios2Space for incoming producers at Mastermind Studios is already open. (via Brendan Kergin)
While motion pictures are Mastermind's specialty, Cameron-Inglis wants to see an even larger industry grow at the centre: video games. Gaming has passed movies and music in annual revenue, with some market observers estimating it raked in $100 billion last year, almost triple global box office receipts.

"The content that's developed for video games, it's the same development track – although one could argue that it's even more complicated – but it's a similar development track to the motion picture industry," Cameron-Inglis says. "You're building entire worlds and all that content has to be written, it all has to be produced, it all has to be acted, it all has to be designed and rendered.

"There's just as much, if not more, creative development in the game development than there is even in motion pictures."

While many people might think of their Xbox at home with Overwatch inside, the gaming industry includes apps on Facebook and mobile games. Many are developed by smaller, independent companies and Cameron-Inglis is looking to that niche of the industry. Vancouver has one of the largest independent gaming scenes in the world, he says, but Kamloops doesn't have anything.

"We'd like to recruit and draw people from outside of Kamloops into the region, but we also want to see local startups, local development, people that already have roots here," he says. "We're looking to help incubate those small game development companies and give them big production game company capabilities."

While Askem is the only company that's part of the centre so far, there are other organizations partnering in different ways. Scorpion Technologies, located across the street, normally works on creating custom cockpits for heavy equipment but has 3D printers and other technology used for making film props. GK Sound is also involved, and maybe, most notably, a relationship is growing with the Vancouver Film School (VFS).

"VFS is not only the leader in film schools globally for the motion picture industry, they're also one of the leaders globally for video game development," Cameron-Inglis says.

MastermindStudios3A smaller sound stage doubled as a classroom for screenwriting recently. More education space will be part of the expansion. (via Brendan Kergin)
The film school just ran a weekend class on screenwriting and has another one coming up at the beginning of May on script writing for video games.

With the resources at the centre, Cameron-Inglis thinks it could be used for small conferences as well. A computer lab classroom and lecture space are also in the works.

In essence, the Interior Centre for Film and Digital Arts won't just be an incubation centre – it's a big step in Kamloops's (hopefully) growing film industry.

"Do I have a lot of faith in the industry? No," he says. "It's ambitious, yes, but I have a lot of faith in the people of Kamloops."

Brendan Kergin

About the Author: Brendan Kergin

Brendan Kergin is a digital reporter based in Kamloops.
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