“We’re L.A. in O-K,” Levi Cathcart says.
From where he sits, you can see a state-of-the-art recording studio equipped with blinking lights and countless buttons on his left; a neon green-screen plastered on two walls in the next room; and a well-worn organ, once played by Leon Russell, pushed against the wall.
Although Tulsa’s Blue House Media is located on Fifth Street, right in the middle of a newly revived area of downtown, the quality of work created there definitely brings a little L.A. to T-Town.
Cathcart, a film and video writer and director for Blue House Media, is part of a seven-person, full-service creative agency that works with clients on projects ranging from TV programming to documentaries; from Web design to recording artists’ albums; and from radio and TV advertisements to instructional videos.
While traditionally agencies have focused on one medium — advertising or video, for instance — Blue House uses a more diversified model.
“In a market like this, you have to diversify to the point where you can make a living,” Blue House owner Joel Wade says. “I don’t think as a straight studio we could make it, but the combination we have works pretty well.”
Blue House opened in Jenks in 2004 and moved to the downtown area this past summer. Although finishing touches are still being added onto the new studio, Blue House staff members have already had a chance to show off their talents in Tulsa.
Blue House is currently working on projects for Tulsa businessman Bill Bartmann and Joe Davidson, a three-time world champion barbecue chef. Blue House also recently created a TV commercial for Nelson Nissan Mazda and has created promotional DVDs for Spartan Industries.
The past clients of Blue House employees — from MTV to Jeep to musical artists such as Citizen Cope, Ziggy Marley and Sara Bareilles — show the diversity of their talents.
However, Cathcart says working with local clients is what makes his job interesting because Tulsa is packed with talented people.
“Tulsa is really a hidden gem for talent,” he says. “If you go to L.A. right now and throw a rock, you’ll hit somebody from Oklahoma.”
Although Blue House has worked with several big names, the company has also taken on lesser-known clients in an effort to get them some well-deserved attention.
“If we can have someone we really believe in and we can do a record or video and get them off the ground, the end result may be that we can create a support system for talent here,” Wade says.
No matter the project or client, one goal drives Blue House.
“We’ve always prided ourselves in that whether it’s a big budget or a shoe-string, we’ve always tried to excel,” Wade says.
Blue House might just be L.A. in O-K, but the employees do not plan on leaving their new home in downtown Tulsa anytime soon.
“Everybody that works here at Blue House currently also works for clients in L.A. and Nashville, but Tulsa is our home,” Cathcart says. “Tulsa is where our passion is. I know there are businesses out there that don’t know they can get these services in their back yard.”
by Stacy Pettit
This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Tulsa People Magazine.