Quiet on the Set: Filmmakers on Shooting and Working at Austin Studios

As told to Richard Whittaker

"I started interning back in 2001, so that makes me feel super old. And I was also the oldest intern in my group but whatever. I was new to film but not new to working in an office, and because [CEO Rebecca Campbell] ran that ship like a business from the get-go, it was easier for me. After two sessions, I became an apprentice under [studio director] Rachel Blackney. One day she told me in the middle of the summer to 'take this shop vac and clean out Stage 5.' The sliding doors were heavy and the hangar still had a bunch of old nails and paint cans and nasty old airplane parts in it. But I didn't care that it was dirty ... nor that it was 105°. It was that day that I realized that I couldn't be happier and that I had finally found my home ... my sanctuary in the film world." – Former AFS intern and Becoming Leslie director Tracy Frazier


Bob Byington (Photo by John Anderson)

"We had shot [a] Nick Offerman monologue at an office in the W hotel, and when we discovered the cavernous open space available to us in the Armory, we reshot it and in the film ended the monologue there instead, ending up with an otherworldly effect that we would have struggled to get otherwise." – Infinity Baby director Bob Byington

"I love that space so much. ... We were going to shoot at the police station scene at the east station [but] if you go to the exterior, it doesn't look like a police station. It looks like an office that has police memorabilia on the outside. OK, we can do that anywhere. So we're driving past the [Austin Studios] water tower, and I went, 'Well, let's pull into this parking lot.' We check it out and it looks so much like a police station front. So we called them and they said, 'Well, that side of the building is kind of in disrepair,' and [the Armory] was kind of a ghost town, just beat up on the inside. But there was a circulation desk that had been left there from some cop drama. 'Perfect! This is all we need.' If you see it in the movie you'd never guess that it was just a broken-down warehouse interior. We put the tripod in the right space where if you moved the camera two inches to the left or to the right, it was just broken-down drywall and the ceiling was collapsing, so we just got that frame and it looked so great.'" – Thunder Road director Jim Cummings

"We haven't shot anything at Austin Studios, believe it or not. We've had our office here since 2008, but Rick [Linklater] prefers to shoot on location. Kinda unexpected, but that's the reality." – Detour Inc. chief operations maven Kirsten McMurray

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