San Francisco: How ShareGrid Has Arrived at its Roots
In recent years, San Francisco has become the epicenter of a new frontier in Internet commerce; the sharing economy. Being uniquely scenic, very artistic, and in California, San Francisco has also developed its own personalized film industry. What's more, it's even home to one of the greatest car chases in movie history.
Bearing these things in mind, it was only a matter of time before ShareGrid made its way to the Bay Area. Brent Barbano, one of the founders of ShareGrid, has a personal reason to bring the company to the San Francisco community.
"We're so excited to be in the Bay Area. A community that's full of creatives, forward-thinkers, innovators and artists. I was actually inspired by the sharing economy 3 years ago when I was in SF filming a documentary about the movement. That's what brought me to teaming up with my ShareGrid partners who were already working on the idea in the Bay Area. So personally, it's very rewarding to open here."
The connection of forward-thinking innovation to tech in San Francisco is somewhat obvious, but what about filmmaking? How does San Francisco affect the filmmaking community that thrives within it? Anton Delfino, San Francisco-based DJ and filmmaker, sees the city as a constantly-evolving commodity for filmmakers.
“With the way that the city is changing - tech boom, gentrification, insane housing costs, etc - I'm intrigued by how this will shape the stories that local filmmakers will tell. I think this goes for everything, not just film, but the entrepreneurship spirit is palpable up here - for better or worse depending on your outlook. I'd say the positive outlook is that there's always the thirst for the next big thing. There are certain communities where you can just feel that energy…”
Assisting San Francisco's creative energy, in Anton's mind, is its proximity and relationship with the tech revolution.
" [The] content landscape is much different now. Facebook, Twitter (via Periscope), and YouTube are pushing livestreaming hard. Netflix HQ is down in Los Gatos. GoPro is just down the way. Twitch, traditionally for gaming, is branching out with Twitch Creative. I think it's an exciting time for content creators - made possible by the big Silicon Valley players."
If creative energy and tech inspiration sets the broad tone for San Francisco, what does that mean for the daily life of the filmmakers who work there? Roddy Blelloch, a 42-year video production veteran in the Bay Area, describes his work and the San Francisco production scene, succinctly:
I do a lot of corporate work and a lot of documentary stuff. The bread and butter of the Bay Area.
Like our recent San Francisco-based Featured Member, Luisa Conlon, Roddy Blelloch mainly does documentary work. Referring to "Doc Corporate" as a San Francisco specialty, Roddy sees the tech influence as more economic than creative.
"I would have to say that there are a lot of creative people here. The sharing economy doesn’t really affect the film world. There’s some union work. There’s a lot of freelancers here… Though we have the tech industry here, that pushes the work towards corporate work. Some high end and corporate communications and things like that."
To Roddy, San Francisco is especially great for below-the-line work.
There’s some commercial work here, but most of it comes out of Los Angeles. Bigger productions, the crews come out of the Bay Area, but the big talent like the DP’s and the Directors, they tend to be from LA and New York. That's not to say that we don’t have a lot of talent here, but where the local directors and producers come into play, it tends to come in the smaller scale... We do have a lot of people who come here. Most of the car commercials you see are shot on Route 1 and Northern California… The Directors and DP’s tend to come from LA and New York, but everybody else comes from here, so that really feeds our economy quite well."
Whether it's a high-speed chase or a magic hour cruise, the Bay Area clearly offers something special in the way of vehicle visuals. That seems to say a lot about the film community as a whole. Whether it's picking up work from LA of Silicon Valley, drawing storytellers with its unique landscape, or inspiring artists with its creative atmosphere, San Francisco offers something special. That special something gave birth to the sharing economy that inspired the creation of ShareGrid. Hopefully we can return the favor by helping San Francisco filmmakers make their inspirations a reality as well.