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The Culver Studios

From the desk of Michael Hackman – The Culver Studios CEO

The Culver Studios is one of the great treasures of Culver City—the home of GONE WITH THE WIND and CITIZEN KANE; a place where for almost 100 years, the history of the moving image has been created. The Culver Studios sits at the heart of a vibrant, creative city, and is nothing less than the birthplace of some of the most iconic film and television shows the world has ever seen.

I see my role as the steward of this site, protecting the history and vision of the studio’s founder, Thomas Ince, as we move to the next century and embrace the new technologies of the digital age. My vision for the future of the studio is clear: to improve not just the built space of the studio, but also every aspect of its operations, by expanding our digital capabilities, modernizing our technological infrastructure, emphasizing sustainability across our operations, creating opportunities for younger filmmakers and start-up companies to come and set up shop here, and build on our relationship with the Culver City community.

When I took ownership of The Culver Studios, a modernization program was already underway. The project, as approved, is designed to address pressing operational needs including radically upgrading the physical plant of the studio for efficiency and reliability, bringing all studio-related parking onto the lot to minimize impacts to the neighbors, and building flexible, creative spaces to meet the needs of digital producers.

To keep the studio on the vanguard of production, and as a source of long-term revenue and job creation in the City, we need to respond to today’s needs and at the same time, anticipate where the industry will go next. We have more to do than just what is being accomplished today.

Our blueprint for the future of the studio is The Culver Studios Innovation Plan. This plan will transform the Studio’s physical campus, its infrastructure, and dramatically reduce its carbon footprint. It will transform how movies and TV shows are made here, while creating an environment that minimizes operational impacts on our neighbors.

As the media landscape has undergone significant changes in the last few years, so have the types of companies that produce media. Young, small, start-up firms are replacing larger more established companies, and their needs are clearly technology-based: reliable power, flexible production and office spaces, super-fast broadband services. And they expect—as do we—that all of these services will be provided in a way that reduces impact to the environment: including bike sharing, efficient use of power and water, and access to public transportation. Making the studio’s operations sustainable is the right choice on every level: it’s responsible, a benefit for the community and of course a key marketing tool to attract new media tenants who share our collective view of the importance of sustainability.

I am committed to keeping this property a working studio, and production resources and jobs in Culver City. The TCS Innovation Plan honors Culver City’s rich past by preserving the studio’s iconic buildings, while giving birth to new spaces that will inspire the next generation of digital geniuses.

With Thomas Ince’s vision from 1918 as our foundation, we will continue his legacy of always looking forward to meet the needs of our tenants, the City, and our neighbors.

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Overview

Innovation Plan Overview

The Innovation Plan will transform The Culver Studios into a new media production hub, keeping the Studio on the vanguard of changing production practices in the entertainment industry.  As part of The Plan, the Studio will restore and re-group historic structures adjacent to the Mansion, build new support buildings near existing sound-stages, and establish a creative campus in the studio lot’s core.

Historic District
  • Studio’s 100-year history will be showcased by grouping historic structures together
  • Historic bungalows will be restored and moved to prominent location near the Mansion
  • Original landscaping in front of the Mansion will be restored

Production Soundstages
  • Soundstages
  • New production support space

Creative Campus
  • Creating a new-media hub with the latest technology
  • Our new state of the art HVAC and power supply will replace antiquated systems.
  • All new buildings will conform to Culver City height limit

 

Parking & Infrastructure
  • All studio parking—including trucks—will now be on-site
  • Separate entrances for cars, trucks and visitors will ease congestion and smooth traffic flow in neighborhood
  • Van Buren Place entrance will continue to be used for emergency access only

Innovation

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The Innovation Plan will transform the studio campus into a state-of-the-art production facility for new media. In keeping with the studio’s nearly 100-year tradition of dynamically adapting to new production technologies.

The Innovation Plan will:
  • Keep Culver City on the cutting edge of entertainment production
  • Provide flexible production spaces that can be adapted for a variety of production methods, including virtual reality, animation and other digital arts
  • Upgrade the Studio’s support systems to enhance reliability, efficiency and flexibility for new technologies

Walking, Biking, Riding

Transportation

The Innovation Plan will improve pedestrian, vehicular and transit connections to The Culver Studios by:

  • Providing new access points, re-designing existing entrances including dedicated rideshare drop-off/pickup areas
  • Developing a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program that encourages the use of the adjacent Expo line, 14 local bus routes, and other options that reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips
  • Assisting in bringing bike share to the studio and downtown Culver City
  • Investing in protected bicycle lanes connecting downtown, the Expo station and the transit-oriented district
  • Building production vehicle/truck parking on-site to permanently remove them from Ince Blvd.

Sustainability

Sustainability

The Culver Studios is committed to sustainable practices to reduce waste and pollution, and to promote a healthy climate.

Located in an urban environment, The Culver Studios seeks to incorporate sustainability into its campus design during construction and operation by:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing energy efficiency and water conservation
  • Building a 6,000-square foot landscaped linear park along Van Buren Place
  • Recycling construction, stage set and production waste
  • Upgrading to new, state-of-the-art HVAC and power systems
  • Implementing a TDM (Transportation Demand Management) program that encourages access by trains, bicycles and walking to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips (please see Transportation page)
  • Pursuing LEED Silver certification

Timeline

The Culver Studios Innovation Plan will undergo a thorough environmental review overseen by Culver City’s Planning Department.  Public participation is key to the success of the review process, and the community is encouraged to participate in public hearings and community meetings.

The Culver City Planning Department has issued a Notice of Preparation (NOP) on November 17, 2016, and hosted a joint Community and Scoping Meeting on December 8, 2016. The purpose of the Scoping process was to gather public input on what should be studied as part of the environmental review.  Public comment has been taken from the meeting.  A Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report) will be published in the second quarter of 2017, the City will again seek community feedback.  Thereafter a Final EIR will be published, and public hearings will be held with the Culver City Planning Commission, and ultimately with the City Council. We anticipate the project to be approved by the end of 2017.

This page will be updated periodically with details of these meetings as they are scheduled.  Please check back, or sign up to receive notifications about The Innovation Plan through our website.

Modernization

Over the years, incremental improvements have been made to The Culver Studios’ physical plant. But a substantial overhaul of the backbone infrastructure of the studio is now overdue to support new media production for the next century.

The Innovation Plan will:

  • Replace the noisy, inefficient central plant with state-of-the-art HVAC and power systems designed to meet the demands of modern digital production
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Install new fiber optic lines to provide fast internet service for media-focused companies
  • Allow individual tenants to control their power and ventilation systems to match their specific needs
  • Use the most efficient, up-to-date fixtures to ensure the lowest environmental footprint for buildings, including LED lighting and low-flow toilets, for example

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We want to hear from you

The Culver Studios Innovation Plan will keep entertainment production in Culver City, which has been a center for creative production for nearly 100 years. The Innovation Plan will keep the Studios a vibrant center of economic and cultural life for decades to come. Please join us as we work to bring the Innovation Plan to life!

innovation@theculverstudios.com

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