MU graduate hopes to help local filmmakers, pursue individual projects

Monday, June 1, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — After graduating from MU with a degree in theater, Randy Sinquefield ended up among the bright lights of Los Angeles, where he studied at the Brooks Institute of Photography, and then moved on to work in the film industry. There, he worked in various areas of filmmaking, and even produced a feature film.

Despite his success in the industry, Sinquefield, 30, a Los Angeles native, decided that it was time for a switch from fast-paced LA. He wanted to be able to pursue his own film projects at a low cost and help others do the same. He decided on Columbia as the location for his new film production company and studio.

"I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of LA to come to a quiet and creative environment to pursue my own projects, but also to offer services and equipment rentals to others," he said.

After moving to Columbia in January, Sinquefield opened Spectrum Studios, which offers video and photography services, including equipment rental. The small-scale studio at 210 St. James St. also offers studio space and editing services.

Affordable local work

Several local filmmakers have taken advantage of the area's new partner in film. Brock Williams, owner of Boxcar Films in Columbia, used Spectrum Studios' space to film a series of commercials for Boone County National Bank.

Williams said having the studio in town makes film production projects easier. Before Spectrum Studios, filmmakers like Williams had to rent equipment from companies in St. Louis or Kansas City. For studio space or a green screen, filmmakers would most likely need to travel.

Now, they have most of what they need here in Columbia. It makes local work more affordable without having to travel to shoot projects, according to Williams.

 "[Sinquefield] has been really supportive of helping the filmmaking industry get off the ground here in Columbia," Williams said. "I think it really opens up the possibilities for people to bring bigger projects here and have the confidence that there will be the needed resources."

Columbia vs. LA

Sinquefield has been pleased with his switch. "It's a small film community, but it's a good one," he said. "For the most part, people are very collaborative. It's not like the competitive, cut-throat nature I saw in LA."

Though Sinquefield is renting equipment to others and assisting local filmmakers, he hopes to be able to create his own films. "It gives me the freedom to pursue my own projects," he said.

Sinquefield also had another, more personal, reason to come to Columbia. "I wanted to be close to my family," Sinquefield said. He and his wife, Laura, are expecting their first child, and Sinquefield's parents, Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, split their time between St. Louis and their Westphalia farm.

Though Randy Sinquefield, grew up in California, his family often visited Columbia on vacation, and when the time came to choose a university, he chose MU. "I had a great experience at Mizzou and thought it would be a great place to raise a family," he said.

National dreams

For now, his company's focus is regional, working on local films and projects in St. Louis and Kansas City. Sinquefield, however, has bigger aspirations. "I hope to cater nationally," he said.

One current project is preparing to film the U.S. Chess Championship in St. Louis. "I'm very excited to be granted the opportunity to show this," he said.

Sinqeufield also looks forward to continuing to work with local filmmakers and expanding his business.

"It's been really great to come to a town and see how professional everyone is," he said. "It makes me think I made the right choice."

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