Local studio powered by talent, technology
April 5, 2004
Tanglewood Productions is a compact facility that turns out high-quality audio products.
Besides hard work, owner Michael Eardley credits another factor to his success.
“Connectivity is the key,” he said.
Eardley, a graduate of the University of Southern California’s school of music, came to Reno when the “Hello Hollywood, Hello” show was first organized and brought it to what was then the MGM Grand Hotel.
Due to the limits imposed on him by his exclusive contract, he decided to try another avenue for his talents.
“I built a studio in my home and decided to go after the business side of recording,” he said.
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“Oddly enough, my first client was my employer, the MGM Grand.”
After the show closed, Eardley and his wife, who was a dancer in the show when they met, decided to raise their growing family in Reno.
That was when Tanglewood became the focus of his attention.
“The mainstay of the business are voice-overs,” he said.
These are audio products used in various forms of advertising such as commercials, announcements, industrial products and tape-to-phone promos a person hears when they are put on hold.
To set Tanglewood apart from the competition, Eardley turned to digital, both for use in recording and for tapping into a worldwide talent pool.
Now he can offer a client talent that might live in places like Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, or London, England.
To make use of this talent, while not needing to actually bring them to Reno, requires special equipment and a set of T-1 lines that allow point-to-point connections.
“This requires ISDN technology and dedicated digital transfer at both facilities,” Eardley said.
“You have to have exotic equipment for this or everybody would be doing it.”
The result is a real-time connection with the talent during a recording session.
“There’s something magical when a well-written script has a voice, who is a top professional behind it,” he said.
“Even if a person is in London, it’s like they’re right here in Reno and recording here is like being in a major studio in L.A.
but without the expense.”
Eardley’s marketing strategy is to seek out clients “who aren’t after the ‘down and dirty’ products but are knowledgeable, appreciate and will pay for quality work.” “Ours is a premium product and it’s not free,” he said.
Besides its radio studio use for voice overs Tanglewood has a larger studio where an entire band can be present during a recording session.
It’s a classic concept and differs from the current “band-in-a-box” method used for most music production.
“There is something magical when musicians communicate with each other in a session.” he said.
“While we’ll work with individual artists, that area is built for studio musicians, which allows us to create custom-made music for all occasions.”
The studio can produce CDs, DVDs, cassettes, and offers other products such as video, in another self-contained studio, as well as casting and creative services, which entail writing, directing and producing high-quality products.
When he’s working on a project, Eardley isn’t blinded by the digital assets he has at his command and knows that more goes into a creative project than just the latest high tech gadget.
“Technology is a wonderful thing but it’s no substitute for talent,” he said.
Looking toward the future, Eardley is starting to make a strategic plan and is considering using a consultant.
Once that is done, he’ll make the changes necessary to insure the health of his business.
Until then, he’ll continue to use connectivity, and a worldwide talent
base, to give Tanglewood its creative edge.