Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home Economics: Homegrown talent key to economic development

Bobbie J. Clark

I recently got a chance to take a tour of what will become Blade Studios. When it's finished, it will be on par with any other music production facility in the world, according chief engineer Chris Bell.

Currently, the only music coming out of it is an ensemble of hammers, saws and construction chatter.

The project is the brainchild of Brady Blade Jr. and Scott Crompton. Both say the studio will be a perfect complement to the burgeoning movie industry in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

No longer will movie producers and editors have to fly across the country for state-of-the-art sound effects and editing. Blade Studios fills a void that could attract more film business.

But that's only part of what they want to accomplish.

Music has deep roots in northwest Louisiana. Blade said he wants to capture the talent he knows is here.

Prior to forming Blade Studios, Blade was an economic development official for the City of Shreveport. He worked with the mayor and others to attract companies to the area.

Now instead of looking for economic development, he's growing it.

Former director of the Downtown Development Authority Don Shea once told me ventures like Blade Studios and CoHabitat, which Blade also had a role in, are examples of true economic development.

Shreveport-Bossier City needs to be a place that fosters this kind of creativity and ingenuity. We need more homegrown talent. Not only is it a boost the local economy, but it's also a way to lure development to the area.

Blade said Shreveport-Bossier City is on the cusp of something special. The renaissance of the area's musical tradition and the energy of the film industry have created a synergy that Blade said he hasn't felt before.

More and more younger Shreveporters have decided to come back to the area, he said.
While the area has its problems, like crime, housing and infrastructure, it also has a lot going for it too.

Projects like Blade Studios do nothing but raise the area's profile in the eyes of business prospects, potential investors and, maybe most important of all, local talent.

Bobbie J. Clark is the business writer for The Times.

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