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P.E.I.'s SpaceCamp Productions wins $25,000 pitch competition

Donald Richard, left, and Jake Charron recently won the top $25,000 prize for their new business Spacecamp Productions at this year's Francophone Ignition Contest in Abram-Village.
Donald Richard, left, and Jake Charron recently won the top $25,000 prize for their new business Spacecamp Productions at this year's Francophone Ignition Contest in Abram-Village.

If you can't book time and go to a recording and production studio in person, then Donald Richard and Jake Charron's new business can bring the studio to you.

"We can just set up in anybody's house or in any space that we would want to rent or depending on the client's needs. Essentially, we have all the gear, we just don't have a studio," said Richard, who recently launched the new bilingual mobile sound recording company SpaceCamp Productions with Charron.

"We save money that way and make things more affordable for the artist. And, a lot of people like recording in their living room. So, we just set up shop wherever the project needs."

Richard and Charron are well-known in the music industry for their involvement with The East Pointers. Charron is the band's guitarist and keyboardist while Richard is the sound engineer and tour manager.

The East Pointers, from left, Koady Chaisson, Tim Chaisson and Jake Charron. - Contributed
The East Pointers, from left, Koady Chaisson, Tim Chaisson and Jake Charron. - Contributed

On March 16, SpaceCamp Productions captured the top $25,000 at this year's 2021 Francophone Ignition Contest. The pitch competition was held in Abram-Village. This was the seventh year of the competition, which was funded by ACOA and the Wellington-based RDÉE Prince Edward Island, according to a press release.

Richard, who grew up in Évangéline, explained that the meaning behind the name SpaceCamp is that "we can set up camp in any space. He added that the money will be used to buy some new recording equipment and develop a website to help further grow the business.

Recording equipment has come a long way from the big and bulky gear that some people might think is used. Basically, all that is needed are microphones, cables and an interface that turns a microphone signal into a digital signal for a computer to process, and it can be easily transported from one place to another, said Richard. It's the same idea as it is with other digital technology, such as smartphones today compared to the large brick cell phones popular in the 1980s - more powerful, smaller and more affordable.

"For a small band or a four-piece band, you could probably fit (the gear) in a suitcase, essentially," Richard said. "Yeah, it's pretty small. It doesn't have to be big these days. The biggest studios in the world use this stuff. We're not cheaping out by buying smaller, lightweight (equipment). That's just what they use."

Richard said the business is for both new and established musicians and "everyone in the middle". And, depending on the stage of the process, the musicians don't necessarily have to be on the Island. The business has worked with the Australian band The Wiggles, and Richard said that he is currently mixing an album for a band in the United Kingdom. Richard met the U.K. band when The East Pointers were overseas at a festival.

"It's all done online over the internet, and we send stuff back and forth to each other. So, we wouldn't be able to do the recording part international without going there, but the rest - producing and mixing - can all be done online," he said.

"We just want to try and make connections with bands from around the world, and also connect bands from P.E.I. to bands from around the world. If they need a fiddle or something that they can only get on P.E.I., we can help them get that. That already happens, we just want to try to get it to happen more and more."

Charron, who is originally from Ontario but now calls P.E.I. home, said the business is looking forward to working with more P.E.I. artists. He also recognizes that he and Richard can also provide some helpful advice and mentorship for new artists.

"Mentorship would be great," he said. "We've learned from so many others. Like The East Pointers, for example, we've recorded with Gordie Sampson quite a bit, and learned a lot working with people like that."

Other finalists at this year's event were Jacinthe Lemire (Shop P.E.I. Marketplace), Samantha Arsenault and Natalie Gallant (Ligne à hardes) and Paul D. Gallant for his summer dinner theatre business Les Productions Cuisine à Mémé.

All of the finalists receive a free, one-year membership to the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of P.E.I.

In addition to the $25,000 top prize provided by Innovation P.E.I.'s Ignition startup fund, SpaceCamp Productions also won a free course from Le Collège de l’Île, and one-year memberships from the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce.

Terrence McEachern is a local business reporter with the SaltWire Network.

Twitter.com/terry_mcn

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