Support Our #creatives® Celebrates the Grand Opening of #filmmaker Andrée M. Harris’ It’s a Wrap Studio

Introduction

I originally interviewed filmmaker Andrée M. Harris in February 2021. Something was in the works but could not be revealed at the time of the interview. But now is the time! It’s a Wrap Studio, in Bel Air, MD, had its grand opening celebration on March 13, 2021. Its location will allow creatives in the mid-Atlantic and northeast US easy access to the facility via Interstate 95. This studio is Andrée’s way of providing dedicated studio space to independent artists. The studio is part of Andrée’s Just 4 Us Foundation.

Herein we present a follow-up interview with Andrée focused on the studio, where she discusses why a studio was needed in the area, the challenges to make it a reality, and more. Also in this post I present my experience attending the grand opening event.
{Photo from Andrée Harris Facebook}

Our mission is to help independent creators to continue to create quality content and fuel their creative passion.

It’s a Wrap Studio website

OUR MISSION: To Improve and Impact the Quality of Life for Children and Adults with Specials Needs, At-Risk Youth and Families Regardless of Their Limited Abilities, Allowing Them To Experience Happiness and a Great Quality of Life Through The Arts and Programs Specifically Designed With Them in Mind.

Just 4 Us Foundation website

The Studio

After acquiring the site, Andrée and her crew, including family, spent weeks completely renovating the building, constructing sets, office space, and infrastructure commensurate with a full purpose studio. It was exciting seeing the work-in-progress via Andrée’s hosting videos on Facebook Live.

The studio has fixed sets, but everything in the building could become a set if so desired, such as the entry area, office, and bathroom.

Check out the press release regarding the new studio below.

Press Release about It’s A Wrap Studio Grand Opening (image created from document provided by Andrée Harris)

The Interview

1.Why did you decide you needed a studio to serve the area?

Andrée Harris: It’s A Wrap Studio was birthed during the Covid pandemic. Just 4 Us Foundation (its parent organization), est. 2009, had been providing virtual workshops. I am the founder and a longtime volunteer of the organization. When we began to do short films for some of our clients, we realized that locations for filming started to become scarce and the ability to afford the location was even more bothersome.

I went to the West Coast to film a promo movie for my good friend, who’s more like a brother. The promo was called “Negative Attraction,” by Larry E Whack, Sr. When I arrived at the studio, it was exactly what I had envisioned. Larry encouraged me to move forward with the vision in the DMV [District of Columbia/Maryland/Virginia] area. I came back to the DMV area and began the process. Alan, I didn’t need a studio, WE needed a studio.

2.Any challenges you faced getting the studio ready for use?

Oh my, the challenges were many. The first challenge was the first location, it was in Forestville [MD], and I just knew that, that was the building. I was at the brink of signing the lease and it fell through. We were supposed to move in on Nov. 1, 2020. The next location was in West Baltimore. Oh, the place was huge and it seem to be exactly what I needed and we began to build out, in fact Alan, I shared updates with you and so many others. The only thing that was left to do in that space was to put up the drywall for the grand opening of February [2021]. However, because I’m an advocate for adults and youth with special needs, my heartstrings began to be pulled. The Board Secretary reminded me that while I’m moving swiftly, I should remember that 40 per cent of the people I work with in the industry have varying disabilities. I was also slated to finish writing and filming the Trymane West-Lee Alexander story. He is in a wheelchair and the building had too many steps to climb. We had to take everything down in January and by February 4th the Just 4 Us Foundation found its home.

Now for the other mishaps. They ranged from contractors bailing out beforehand, to some not showing up, or them wanting money for work that was not done.

Before the public saw what they saw I have to send a special thank you to: Khalil Lyles, Jakeem Lyles, Davonte Harris, LaQuan Fludd, Elizabeth Harris, Bernard Dickey, Kanisah, Victor Gulley, Antoine Gomire, Cynthia Smith, Angel-na Arianna, Patricia Robinson, and the person who stayed with me until every detail of the structure was done, Rickey R. Robinson aka Church Husband. They did so much to make the Just 4 Us Foundation’s Studio shine.

3.What services will the studio offer?

Staged sets for indie filmmakers, photographers, and singers, as well as acting classes and workshops and training. Internships are also available.

4.Why do you have “partner” locations also available for use?

The partner locations offer sets that are not available at the studio. The rates are not the same as the studio rates, however they still get to use the partner locations independent of other filmmakers just as they would in the studio.

5.Any ongoing projects being done at the studio?

We are filming our short film “Mirage” on May 1 and 2 [2021]. There is another film that’s long overdue called “Forgiven” that I am filming there. There are also other independent projects scheduled to take place. Because we are open to all artists, we foresee great things on the horizon.

For more information on the studio visit us at our website.


Alan was Present for the Grand Opening Activities

My wife Randy Greenstein and I attended the grand opening celebration of It’s a Wrap Studio. There was a small ceremony at the entrance to the facility at which time grand opening activities commenced inside. Zion’s Daughters Dance Ensemble, Inc.® performed praise dancing. A recurring socially-distanced tour was led by Andrée showing the sets as she explained the reasons for the existence of the studio and the various ways creatives could take advantage of the facilities. Indeed, the facility can be used for film and live theatre productions. Victor Gulley of A Taste of Theater conducted interviews. I was among those participants interviewed, where I discussed Support Our #creatives® and what it is all about, and my thoughts on the new studio. In fact, during the visit, Andrée graciously introduced me as head of Support Our #creatives® to many of the attendees, which hopefully will lead to future work.

I said earlier that area outside of the fixed sets could be used as a set, too. Below is a photo of where Zion’s Daughters performed. But, with tables and chairs in place, the area becomes a café or restaurant, indoors or outdoors (I did not get a photo with the tables and chairs in place).

It’s A Wrap Studio: Zion’s Daughters Performance (photo from Author’s collection)

The following slide show contains a selection of photographs I took inside the studio.

The next slide show has photos from the outside of the studio. That’s where Victor Gulley was conducting interviews.


Related Posts

We interview Andrée here (2021).
Andrée’s book “Freedom from the Bondage of Brokenness” here (2020).
Andrée’s film “Vengeance Is Mine” here (2020).


Conclusion

We have learned about why Andrée M. Harris founded the It’s a Wrap Studio. She felt a need had to be met and she succeeded in making it happen!

Creatives out there, if you want me to interview you, please contact me. This will give you exposure to an audience in my “circle,” that you may not have reached before.

To my readers, please provide feedback or questions in the Comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. And let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover.


Disclaimer: The author is not being financially compensated by anyone associated with any project mentioned, for this post.


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