Wrapal recently sat down with Kevin and CiCi Foster, owners of 4 Hearts Entertainment and Studios. Their mission is to help filmmakers raise their production value without breaking the bank!
Hello Kevin and CiCi! Thank you both for your time and opportunity. So what made you want to open 4 Hearts Studios?
CiCi: Well, we started 4 Hearts because we are filmmakers and we basically wanted to have a space to rent out to film students and indie filmmakers that need affordable space to shoot their project. I was telling my husband that we were having difficulty finding locations for our own projects and I just was kinda like, “Man we need a studio of our own!” and we just kind of fell into it and it’s been one of my best ideas, I must say.
Kevin: And when we started, we did research on the hardest and most expensive sets to rent so we concentrated on those. And once we had those then we start thinking about the costs so we could help out students with their thesis and give back.
What’s the inspiration behind starting 4 Hearts?
C: 4 Hearts was started when my wife wrote her first novel called “Sunny Rain”, about social workers in Chicago. So when we decided to self-publish, we had to come up with a name. We brainstormed with me, my wife, and two daughters and that gave us the inspiration for 4Hearts. Four of us, 4hearts.
Your company has three different divisions in it. A production company, a publication company, and a studio! How do you balance all these parts with only you and your wife on staff?
C: That is a good question. You have to find those moments like today when the studio is dark and we don’t have a booking and you step back and take the time to be with your family and do fun things. The biggest challenge out here has been learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And that little fear doesn’t stop us because I know that I have that gut feeling to go for it.
K: We are very blessed. You have to just go for it. We opened up this place October 2015, I was a limo driver! A year ago I said, “Hey let’s go for the studio and go for broke! Why else did we come out here?” and we pushed it and went for it.
How does a studio like 4 Hearts go about getting business? What are the biggest pains of owning and operating a studio in the digital age?
C: At the beginning, it was tough trying to find a spot. I can’t tell you how many times we were turned down. No one wants to rent out a space for film production. Everyone was afraid of people shooting porn on their property. It was a lot of calling around and getting rejected… Until we found our landlord who is cool as hell.
K: The biggest challenge was getting the word out to get customers in here. The industry works on word of mouth. The second challenge was dealing with people who try and nickel-and-dime you, even with a great rate! You just have to stay calm and level headed.
So you have been listing with Wrapal for a while now. What has your experience been with using the site? Has it made your life easier?
K: Out of all the location websites, Wrapal is the only one that people have booked through!
C: It has connected us with great people. I have had no complaints with the service and it has given us great business.
And now for some fun questions!
You say that you want to bring “sexy back” to reading?
C: So my book “Sunny Rain” is a sexy drama. It’s not full-fledged erotica but on a scale of 1-5 sexiness, it’s like a 3.5.
K: We’ve had a lot of people say they could not put it down… a lot of men too.
If you could speak any other language in the world what would you choose and why?
C: I’m learning a bit of Spanish, so I’ll stick to that!
K: I wish I could learn Chinese to help out with the Chinese films students that shoot in our space and I wish that we could connect through language instead of only on our energetic level.
You get a check for $10,000, what do you do with it?
Both: Invest it in the studio! Seriously!
Where would you go for vacation?
K: Hawaii. That’d be great.
C: I’d like that.
NY or Chicago Style pizza?
Both: Oh come on. CHICAGO! None of that NY crap!
Anything else you’d like to plug?
K: We have created a concept called “DigIntoBook” where we try and bring books into television. We showcase book clubs, book clubs keep reading alive in America, and we go to these book clubs and film them, and they tell us about the history of the club, why they formed it, and the characters in their novels. Sometimes these books relate to the women’s lives.
C: that really was a fun show and I would love to get back into that show.