A crowd-funded photography and video studio geared toward helping aspiring artists is set to open next month near Seventh and Pierce streets.
Parazol Studios founders Tomas Karmelo, 26, Obed Gonzalez, 24, and Pedro Perez, 28, rented the business space themselves, but renovations will be funded by donations raised through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where people can search for creative projects and donate to help the projects reach their goals. The founders of Parazol posted a video on the site three weeks ago asking for $5,000 in donations. They reached their goal Monday morning, about a day before the fundraiser was set to end.
“We all kind of busted our butts raising our own money,” said Karmelo, a Phoenix photographer and cinematographer. “We thought, ‘If we’re going to do this campaign we can’t be asking for rent money. We want to be using the money for something that feels right.’”
Karmelo said the three-week fundraiser, which ended Tuesday morning, was brief by design.
“The longer the campaign is, the harder it is to reach the goal because people procrastinate or forget to donate,” he said. “A shorter one creates urgency.”
B. T. Franklin, a software developer who lives in Phoenix and donated to Parazol Studios on Kickstarter, said $5,000 was a reasonable goal for the three-week deadline.
“Fully 50 percent of the funding achieved came within the last week,” he said. “The nature of Kickstarter is that as you get that time pressure, it’s kind of like an eBay auction. People start donating more at the last minute.”
The studio, situated next to Space 55, currently stands empty. Perez, a Phoenix cinematographer, said the founders are already working on renovating the space with the money they have saved but are waiting for Kickstarter funds before the majority of the project is completed.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to take more than $5,000 to get this done,” Perez said. “We just put that down as a reasonable amount to ask. Whenever we get the $5,000, we’ll use it to finish.”
Perez said the studio will charge an hourly rate to use the space, but will provide nearly everything photographers and videographers might need for a project, including cameras, lights and backdrops. The space will include a computer area with editing software, he said.
Karmelo said the studio will also include a cyclorama wall — a wall that curves seamlessly to meet the floor — to reduce shadows while filming in front of a green screen.
“All you need is your talent and your subjects, then you just pay the hourly rate,” Perez said.
Karmelo said the founders want to provide the sort of space they wish had been available to them early in their careers.
“One of the main goals is to create a safe place for people aspiring to be videographers or photographers; to create kind of a safe haven for even kids in high school and art students — sort of like a small, cozy space,” he said.
This idea of safety inspired the studio’s name. According to their Kickstarter page, the founders of Parazol Studios imagined an umbrella when they thought of a safe place and decided to change the synonym, parasol, to give it a “creative spelling.”
Perez said the founders plan to conduct photography and videography workshops within Parazol Studios every three months, but have not yet determined when the workshops will begin.
Perez said the founders hope to have the studio open to the public by the July First Friday Art Walk.
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