Chantal Abouchar talks to Create NSW about technological trends ahead of Digital Disruptors at Vivid Ideas

Chantal Abouchar - Digital Disruptors

Chantal Abouchar – Digital Disruptors

As part of Create NSW at Vivid Ideas, we caught up with panellist Chantal Abouchar from The Studio, who will offer valuable insights into how creative practitioners can thrive in the face of the digital invasion.

Congratulations on the launch of The Studio in March this year. What prompted or inspired you to setup an incubator space in Sydney?

The media and entertainment industry is a completely different landscape to the one I entered thirty years ago. When I started out, film was the primary medium, analogue the standard and the internet didn’t exist for the general public. Fast-forward to today, and we can now produce content on small mobile devices and distribute this across multiple platforms. Technological advancements throughout my career continues to change the way I work, as well as providing endless opportunities.

The Studio Ltd (non-profit organisation, incubator and community) was born from my thesis research, undertaken as part of my Masters of Screen Arts and Business (AFTRS 2013-14). Titled: “Inventing the Future: Accelerator Programs and the Australian Screen Industry”, I used Time Warners Accelerator program as a key case study, along with investigating the Australian start-up eco-system. This provided the framework to investigate the impact of technology on the media and entertainment (screen industry), globally and locally.

Key findings were that it was important and essential we foster and support people working on new business models, products and services and engaging with new technologies across the creative sectors. These tech start-ups will help future proof and grow the media and creative industries in Australia.

What sort of facilities and resources do spaces like The Studio provide for creative practitioners?

We support our residents with a range of programs and activities to help them on their road to success. For instance, The Studio has broadcast level studios: a green screen studio, sound studio, edit suite and a multi-purpose studio with AR/VR and other equipment. Each residents’ desk has a high speed ethernet connection, there is wi-fi throughout The Studio space and fibre optic linking event spaces and the studios.

We have a large lounge and dining room and kitchen, which function as breakout spaces for meetings and alternative spaces to work. We have meeting rooms with the latest LG TVs, Ethernet and whiteboards, and Dolby are providing us with the latest conferencing technology.

Importantly, we run educational events including talks, workshops, seminars and masterclasses. Studio residents also get connected to our 20 plus local and global consortium partners, which include Animal Logic, Dolby, UNSW, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft more. The Studio mentor and investor network are currently being activated. We have also established a global network with other hubs and incubators and are establishing reciprocal memberships.

These are some of the reasons why The Studio is not just another co-working space but an incubator.

What trends or insights have you seen emerge in the short time your doors have been open to residents?

We need to encourage and support more women to launch their own businesses. Don’t let the term “tech start-up” discourage you. Your start-up could be big tech or little tech. The Studio is a diverse and inclusive community, connecting creatives, technologists, industry and education.

The Studio is different to the other incubators in the hub. What’s exciting about having a media-tech and creative-tech focus is that it provides the right conditions for the community to support each other. Additionally, being located in the Sydney Start-up Hub provides possibilities for cross pollination with other organisations.

Just being in the hub, also opens the door to lots of opportunities. Recently, one of our resident start-ups said they had three opportunities from within the building before they could even get to the desk!

Can you offer any top tips for creatives who might be wishing to launch a start up?

Become a Community Member of The Studio and come along to events and talks. This way you’ll make connections, meet residents and other members of the wider Studio.

Hopefully, you’ll be inspired and learn more about ways to engage with technology to help you create a sustainable business, product or service.

What’s next for the Studio, and you personally?

It’s still early days for The Studio.  We’re setting in place all our systems and processes and finishing the final stages of the fit-out as well as welcoming new staff to our team. Community is at the heart of what we do, so making sure we embed the right culture and live the values of The Studio is really important. Further activating and building our national and global networks is also important.