Feature Stories

CyberLink & John Schneider Studios

New Venture to Support Independent Filmmakers

John Schneider is best known for his portrayal of Bo Duke in the American television series The Dukes of Hazzard, and as Clark Kent's father in the TV series Smallville. But in addition to his acting achievements, John is also a writer, director, and now a studio owner! In January of this year, Schneider founded John Schneider Studios on a 58-acre parcel of land in southeastern Louisiana. CyberLink is proud to be a partner in this new enterprise, furnishing the studios with a high-end workstation outfitted with Director Suite – a feature-rich editing solution that can bring out the best in the studio's big-screen projects.

The U.S. Film Industry Heads South

For the last decade, Louisiana's local film industry has seen tremendous growth due to tax incentives directed at attracting film and television companies. This development has led to the state now being called "Hollywood South," though perhaps "Bayou-wood" would be more appropriate. It was while scouting shooting locations in Louisiana for a film project that John discovered the property. "The number one asset for the acreage is the numerous landscape types it contains. I saw that I could shoot scenes all over the property – at the river, in the swamp, in the bamboo forest that looks like it's straight out of Southeast Asia, and I would never have to move the grip truck."

The studio property includes a variety of outdoor settings: a lake, a swamp, and a bamboo forest, providing multiple scenery options in a centralized location.

Targeting a New Breed of Film Creators

The first feature film has already been shot at this location – the comedic horror movie Smothered, written and directed by Schneider himself. In recent years, a greater number of independent filmmakers have been creating feature films produced completely outside of the major film studio system. These innovative filmmakers can benefit greatly from the production setup that John Schneider Studios offers. John's vision for the studio is to create a location ideal for "filmmakers who have enough money to spend to realize their dreams, but not so much that they have any to waste. In short, the studio is perfect for someone who is on a limited budget and knows how to spend it wisely."

John and some of the crew from Smothered, shooting a scene at the studio lake.

Providing Movie Makers with the Tools they Need

In addition to the great shooting locations on hand, John Schneider Studios offers another enticement that will appeal to independent filmmakers – the ability to do post-production on site. The facilities include a state of the art sound stage, two post-production houses, and an on-site edit bay where directors and editors can use the complete set of Director Suite's broad range of editing solutions: video editing in PowerDirector, advanced color grading in ColorDirector, and photo adjustment in PhotoDirector. When asked which aspect of post-production John feels is most important, his answer was somewhat surprising: "I think the single most important part of post production is sound. That's where the world in which the film was shot is diminished, and the world the film will be seen in is expanded." The set of audio editing features in AudioDirector is a crucial tool in perfecting a movie's sound, a set that gives film creators total control over the editing, mixing, and mastering of a movie's soundtrack, sound effects, and even dialogue.

Fairlight Films, John Schneider's Production Company, will produce a new movie on the site in early 2015, a psychological drama that is well-suited for the studio's facilities and atmosphere.

Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers

Whether you plan to be the next big thing in the "Indie" film scene, or just have an idea for a great movie that can be shot without a Hollywood budget, John offers his ideas on how to realize your dream: "My best advice is to learn how to tell your stories. It's easy to get into a rut helping other people tell theirs. If your story is worthy of an audience you need to get it told! Only you can do that. There is no recipe on how to do this other than tenacity, perseverance and hard work!"

John Schneider's advice to aspiring filmmakers: "Tell your stories. Don't get into a rut helping other people tell theirs."

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