August 20, 2008

Studio Gets’Em Going Site’s Clients Include ‘Lost,’ Lifetime, Vh1

By Melissa Lambarena

Needing a studio where he could photograph his line of contemporary furniture, Paul Reitzin went searching for lights and cameras.

Instead, he found action.

Reitzin opened Avenue Six Studios, a 20,000-square-foot film and TV production studio in Van Nuys. Opened since early this month, Avenue Six has already secured Lifetime and VH1 networks and the ABC series "Lost" as filming clients.

Despite worries about runaway production, Reitzin said there simply aren't enough sound stages in the Los Angeles area to meet the demands for movie, television and commercial shoots. A June 1 fire that destroyed several sets on the Universal Studios lot only exacerbated the problem.

"Right now, with the lot burn-down at Universal, there's a shortage of stages that have parking, lighting, conditions, power features and benefits," said Rietzin, 51.

"Clients love coming here because it's a first-class place. We give them the Rolls-Royce with Chevy prices."

Reitzin began working on the studio project in 2005, when he was looking for a location where he could photograph the ready-to- assemble sofas, tables and entertainment centers that comprise his Avenue Six Furniture line.

Originally planned as a photography venue, Avenue Six Studios now boasts two state-of-the art sound stages that include production offices, conference rooms and technical equipment.

Production companies can rent Avenue Six Furniture to use on their sets.

"There are quite a bit of older stages in town -- a lot of times it's just a room and no set," Reitzin said. "We are one of the few companies with wall backdrops, windows and great accessories that make it look like a home office."

ABC's popular series "Lost" was one of the first clients to film at the new studios. Its producers said they were pleasantly surprised by the experience.

"We were shocked and quite happy with the setup, and the personnel were prepared," said co-producer Samantha Thomas.

"They had nice rooms, hair and makeup stations," added Gregg Nations, another co-producer. "It's a dream set."

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