You know at the end of the Disney film Beauty and the Beast, when the magic kicks in, stardust descends and instantly transforms all the ugliness into beauty? Well, this wasn’t like that.

The story of our studio coming to be as it now is looks like a supernatural transformation when you see all the before and after photos (see more here).   However, it didn’t happen with a snap of the fingers, not even with a soft kiss.

It took some good, hard work.

We went from this:

Gutted Space - Pre Reno

To this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.25.38 PM

That photo at the top displays a lot of the progress already made at the time: the wiring, surely long enough when stretched end to end, could have circumnavigated the globe and the mould-infected insulation filled with 50 years of exhaust and dust was already removed.

The old mechanic shop that had been a geographic landmark across from the Alpha plant in downtown Red Deer is now a film production and music recording studio.  Who would’ve thought? And it’s good news for creative people with an inclination for film, music, and the creative arts.

Like the work that is now taking life in The Space, the process of creating the studio itself was one of collaboration. For me this is instructive. Creativity, as a process, isn’t a magical moment of glory. Sure those moments come, but it’s after long, hard work.  It involves waking up before the sun to pray the thing to life even before you start, because you know if you don’t, you won’t be able to pull it off (and despite yourself, you know that it won’t be worth doing it in the first place if you set out to do something you could accomplish in your own strength anyway).

And from there, rolling up the sleeves, swinging a hammer, doing the mundane. Day after day. The creative process entails doing many things you don’t want to do but have to do in order to realize your vision. Mental note to self.

So goes the story of our studio.

Much of the renovation fell into our hands.  Not because we knew how or because it was second nature to us, but because it was the way it had to be, on a shoe-string. We balanced the renovation among other spinning plates: managing family life, full time jobs, and other bigger-than-ourselves projects.

Matt spearheaded so much of it, and his eye for detail, his confidence that you can just figure it out as you go and his relentless hard work – giving more than most ever would or could, and then giving even more – has made The Space more than what ever seemed possible.

And Heath. There day after day, when there was no electricity or heat, only dirt and wires, a conveyer belt we had no idea how to move and a brick wall that even the experts said couldn’t be knocked down, quietly and kindly helped to turn the many question marks into exclamation points.

Dan risked asphyxiation to transform our newly-poured floor into a glistening thing of beauty and traveled back and forth from BC to Alberta to coax the building to life. Shauna tirelessly believed the building into being as well, keeping tabs on costs, finding ways to do more with so much less.

Friends and family did a lot of the heavy lifting.  When you walk into the film production room and stand on the floor, think Shari.  When you look up at our dramatic entryway and see the open hall or lean against a wall, think Dave.  The exterior window that used to be a big bay door has Aaron written all over it.  Chris and his boys and many other hands helped to insulate and sound-safe our interior walls. Marg fed us and picked up tools too.  Then there’s Nick.  What didn’t he do?  Thank him when you’re in every room!

Here we are today. A week away from our Grand Opening.  We’ve been operating for over a month.  Some really creative work has already been done by a wide range of different artists in The Space, but before we roll up our sleeves and launch into this new chapter for Melodious Design Recording Co and Unveil Studios, it’s worth taking the time to stop and to celebrate where we are and how we got here.

Grand Opening, The Space Red Deer

So, with all that in mind, I want to personally invite you to the Grand Opening of The Space, on Friday, October 24 from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. [Learn more about it here].

Come and take a look at what we’re up to, what The Space looks like, enjoy some good coffee and live music. Dream a little.

And, please, don’t give up.

Though the creative challenge before you may seem too great at this moment in time to properly handle, I dare to differ with your doubts. Embrace that mysterious mix of faith, hard work, and then just hammer away, day after day.