PRODUCTION AND POST
FLYING THE NEST In December, Cherryduck opened The Nest, a brand new creative hub designed to bring creative professionals and small production companies under one roof. James Groves speaks to Cherryduck managing director James Vellacott regarding the launch, and plans for the future
F James Vellacott, Cherryduck managing director
ormed by James Vellacott in 2009, Cherryduck is a creative video production agency developing strategy and creative for targeted video campaigns for its various clients, including Ford, Samsung, Tesco, Sky and Disney. Vellacott served as a photojournalist for Trinity Mirror for 15 years before setting up Cherryduck with his actress wife Michelle in 2009. “After trialling video with the Daily Mirror, which picked up several online channels, we set up Cherryduck,” says Vellacott. “We approached various High Street fashion brands and shot behind-thescenes films on their stills shoots.” Cherryduck quickly grew to the point that Vellacott had to leave his newspaper job. “We decided that video production was the future with the ever-increasing demand for content,” he says. “The business plan was make it an in-house film facility to allow us to sustainably work for the lower budgets demanded by the online departments at the time.” Cherryduck Studios was opened in Wapping in 2011, providing five studios for the company to shoot its content, as well as offering space for other professionals to take advantage of.
“We couldn’t have dreamed of the amount of positive feedback that both The Nest business residents and visiting clients are giving us” JAMES VELLACOTT
“Wapping was once the heart of the media district with News International and its printing presses, while Michelle and I live here, so it’s a great location for Cherryduck,” says Vellacott. “Early on, we had three other non-connected companies renting space from us and the co-working idea was proven as we all worked together on projects. We bought a 125-year lease on the studios, allowing us to just pay a mortgage rather than being at the mercy of landlords/rent and developers.” However, Cherryduck was stil growing very quickly, and it wasn’t long before it began to run out of office space. That’s where The Nest came in. “Another space came up for sale in 2016 and we bought it in February,” he explains. “It was derelict residential space and we were turned down by the council to develop it. Thankfully, we were able to lobby the council and in March 2017, it overturned its decision.” Cherryduck’s plan was again to avoid renting the site and make it “a neutral space with ‘white label’ receptionists that all residents could call their home”, says Vellacott. “It allowed us to continue the Cherryduck growth and to transparently co-work with others, leveraging all the residential creative businesses and ultimately turn The Nest in to a virtual super agency with creative, production, post production and studios (with equipment) all in one place.” In terms of content and projects held at The Nest, details are understandably scarce. Vellacott says: “Cherryduck produces both TV and online content. We have a large TV commercial in Q1 this year as well as many other TV and online films in production. The Nest also has signed a satellite TV current affairs programme that will be shot at the studios and edited in the post suites. A ‘Brit Flick’ film has also taken space to be production based at The Nest, and be post produced there too.”
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