VENICE BEACH, CA — Social media giant Snapchat recently acquired the iconic building complex once owned by film composer/supervising sound designer Frank Serafine. Serafine Studios was located in heart of Abbot Kinney’s historical central business district. The property was developed by real estate visionary Abbot Kinney back in 1910 then later sold in the 1930s to the Texas Oil Company (Texaco), which was the first gas station in the City of Los Angeles. Due to strict code and environmental ground water regulations the station was forced to shut down in the 1950s and sat dormant for over 40 years.
Serafine picked up the abandoned property in 1986 at a public auction and suffered through the painstakingly process of removing all the contaminated soils, as well as disposing of underground gas tanks through the EPA. The famed sound designer recalls Venice Beach and Santa Monica being quite different back then. As a technology pioneer, he attracting film clients to the westside by luring them away from the traditional post production facilities of Hollywood.
Serafine collaborated with Persian architect Madjid Farzanifar and famed studio designer Carl Yanchar to zone and develop the first artist in residence live/work mixed use studio/office buildings in the City of Los Angeles. The construction loan was funded by the Hollywood Local Musicians Union #695 Credit Union in 1987 and Serafine eventually broke ground in 1988. After three years of construction the landmark, three-story structure was completed in 1991 and featured rooftop gardens and decks.
Serafine (pictured) is best know for his work on the originals and sequels of Paramount’s Star Trek and Disney’s Tron films. He just completed production on Disney/Marvels Avengers Station interactive museum that opened in Las Vegas last summer, and the award winning documentary film on the life story of spiritual master Parhamansa Yogananda. His Venice Beach Studio and talent team were involved in a string of hit blockbuster feature films, video games, episodic television series and national commercial campaigns throughout the 1990s and 2000s including the sound design for the Oscar Winning Hunt for Red October, Addams Family, Lawnmowerman and Virtuosity. He did many video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Wing Commander and The Suffering. His television work included episodes of Baywatch, VR-5, Thunder in Paradise and hundreds of commercials including those for Chrysler, Mercedes, Pepsi and Nike. Serafine also produced music projects for Ravi Shankar with George Harrison, Peter Gabriel and famed jazz composer Don Cherry.
Serafine (fserafine.com) is currently finalizing the building permits on Honey Hills Farm, which is one hour from the heart of Hollywood, located high in the mountains above of Los Angeles.