“New Girl” actor Lamorne Morris makes appearance at GR studio reopening


Courtesy / WWMT

Omari Seaberry, Staff Writer

Black Pigeon Studios have attempted to maximize their opportunities for up-and-coming creators by relocating to a new, bigger location.

Black Pigeon is a filmmaking and production company started in 2020 by Grand Rapids native Josh Sikkema, Detroit native Johnny Ray and Los Angeles native Thomas Blunt. These three men came together to provide a creative hub for creators from multiple lanes of filmmaking and to fill the need for a studio space in Grand Rapids.

Black Pigeon’s new studio is located on the border of Grand Rapids and Walker, Michigan. Black Pigeon works to bridge the gap between Grand Rapids and Hollywood. 

Black Pigeon Studio Manager, Spencer Haydo, said there were many reasons for the relocation of the studio’s original address in Downtown Grand Rapids.

“One of the biggest concerns was soundproofing,” Haydo said. “Our old space had a train and bus station across the street, so it wasn’t as good for recording sound or interviews. We wanted to make the facility sound insulated and increase the number of workshops that could be held.”

Haydo is a partner with Black Pigeon and a freelance camera assistant. He calls the studio his own “creative space,” taking the advantage of opportunities to shoot in it himself as an incentive of sorts to working on the studio.

“My duties are coordinating our team, friends of the studio, staff members, and interns on a day-to-day basis and coordinating on the rentals and things like that,” Haydo said. 

An open house event was held for the studio on Jan. 13, featuring special guest Lamorne Morris. Morris is a well-known actor and TV personality in the film and television industry, most notable for his work in the show, “New Girl.”

The studio was very thankful for the actor’s interest in them. Morris did a meet and greet with the Black Pigeon group where he announced his intentions to bring his next movie to the city of Grand Rapids. 

“That was amazing to hear as a freelancer in the industry that there are movies that want to be made here because of our creative community,” Haydo said.

There are a plethora of opportunities at Black Pigeon for young filmmakers. Besides internships, they offer workshops led by professionals in the industry through hands-on experiences. 

As a college dropout, John Sikkema is determined to create opportunities for anyone to enter the industry. He feels strongly that you don’t have to be a student to join a creative group. Haydo himself never attended a higher education institute. 

With the new studio close to being settled, planning for projects in the new year is underway. Haydo mentioned this particular studio is best for narrative set builds. He says they’re excited to bring different types of sets to the short films that will be created there.

There will be additional events held at the studio to cater to their unofficial slogan, “Bridge the Gap.”

“Some individuals with notable backgrounds could come in and give public lessons, whether it is a workshop or a speech,” Haydo said. “They would culminate into networking events.” 

Creators that want to get involved with the program, schedule a tour of the facility or find internship applications can visit the Black Pigeon website or their Instagram.