The Buffalo Lounge is back! As Oklahoma invades Austin this week to promote our state at the annual SXSW Music, Film and Interactive conference, we thought we’d give you a little primer on some of the premier aspects of these industries vis-à-vis OKC.
You may know that OKC’s Bricktown is home to the Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO, known locally as ACM@UCO or simply “The School of Rock.” This partner of the original ACM of London trains students in all aspects of the music industry, from production to business as well as musicianship. Not only that, but great live music abounds in Oklahoma City on a daily basis, and each year since 2008 the Norman Music Festival has grown exponentially from its one-day, one-stage beginnings to a three-day, multi-stage free extravaganza that absolutely takes over historic downtown Norman to the delight of music lovers everywhere (this year’s festival is April 25-27). Oh, and a little band called The Flaming Lips makes none other than OKC’s Plaza District their home base for all things weird, wild and wonderful.
In addition to being home to many independent production companies, big-time Hollywood movies are more frequently being shot here with the help of our diverse, fantastic scenery, knowledgeable and experienced crews, and Oklahoma’s film production rebate program. In just the last couple years, OKC has seen working visits from the likes of Nick Cassavetes, Ray Liotta, Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Bill Pullman, Famke Janssen, Milla Jovovich, Chris Kattan, Casper Van Dien, and more. “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now” producer Gray Frederickson calls OKC home, just like you. Not only that, but downtown Oklahoma City boasts and annually hosts one of the coolest film festivals around according to the folks at MovieMaker Magazine, the deadCENTER Film Festival (because we’re right in the middle of the U.S. – get it?).
The interactive industry in general specializes in names that are fun to say, and Oklahoma City’s tech-based entrepreneurs are no exception. Think about it: QuiBids? Quite. Cage? Cool. AliveCor? Amen. Buzzam? Bazinga! SpokesME? Sp’amazing. iThemes? I challenge you to find a better place for tech-based entrepreneurship. Oklahoma City’s low business costs, innovative and outstanding support structure, wealth of higher education and great quality of life translate to something you might not expect – tech-based entrepreneurship hotbed. Industry stalwarts Paycom and US Fleet Tracking were both founded, developed and continue to be headquartered in Oklahoma City, and innovative companies like PL Studios and Advanced Academics continue to grow here. Surprised? We know. As the Mayor says, it’s cray cray.