Andrea and Leslie Bloome have a lot invested in sound. Their company, Alchemy Post Sound, produces sounds called "Foley" for film and television.
Foley, one of five sound elements heard in all feature films, TV shows, commercials and gaming, is a highly detailed sound effect specific to an actor’s movements, such as footsteps, the rustle of clothing or the crinkling of paper. Foley sounds are added to the film or TV soundtrack in the post-production process.
The husband-and-wife team had been operating a successful post-production music recording studio since 2002. As demand for Foley sounds grew in the entertainment industry, the couple saw an opportunity to perform more of the highly specialized work. They opened a small Foley sound stage (named for director Jack Foley, who wanted to hear the sounds of actors' footsteps as they entered or left the stage) just outside Peekskill in Westchester County in 2010, and their reputation quickly gained a foothold in the New York sound community. When they decided to expand, they could not find a bank willing to lend them money.
"It was a new business model, and we were considered to be high-risk. We tried to find traditional lenders, but they weren't interested,” said Andrea Bloome. She is the company’s chief operations officer and a former online marketing specialist for such notables as Sports Illustrated, Getty Images and Bank of America. Leslie, Alchemy Post Sound’s CEO, is a 21-year Foley artist with more than 250 feature-length film and television credits.
That’s when NYBDC stepped up.
"The business was successful and quickly grew out of its space," said Tamara Underwood, NYBDC vice president. "It was also turning down big opportunities because of its basement set-up, making it difficult to market to the likes of such big names as HBO."
NYBDC partnered with Empire State CDC: The 504 Company, to make a $350,000 loan available to convert 3,500 square feet of a former warehouse in Peekskill into a soundproof studio; buy and equip two sound booths and live music-recording space; and provide working capital.
"It was a great process. They were flexible in terms of our construction budget, and allowed us to move money to accommodate costs," Andrea Bloome said.
Bloome says NYBDC's impact on Alchemy Post Sound extended far beyond the loan. Underwood and others were instrumental in connecting the couple with private bankers and other influential members of the community who can partner with the company as it continues to grow.
"They put us in touch with people who might provide resources for us in the future," Andrea Bloome said.
Alchemy Post Sound opened in its new space in November 2013 and expects to increase revenue four-fold in the next two years. Since expanding, the company attracts work from as far away as Europe and Israel. The larger space also allows the Bloomes to expand the music recording side of their business. The company employs three people and plans to add two more positions.
Andrea and Leslie Bloome, owners of Alchemy Post Sound, alongside NYBDC vice president, Tamara Underwood
Pictured Above: Props used to create the different sounds
The recording studio