Atlanta’s Ambient Plus Studios: Writers strike has already dried up business

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ac

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ac

Ambient Plus Studio, a space in the heart of Atlanta that is used for TV shoots, music videos, commercials and weddings, has already seen business dry up courtesy of the week-old writers’ strike.

The last client to book his place was in mid-April, said owner Jason Ivany, who believes producers were already scaling back on projects in anticipation of the strike.

“We usually get three shoots a month,” he said. “But we noticed it quieting down in February. There were just fewer inquiries. It definitely slowed in March and now it’s pretty dead.”

Given that the space is empty, he is sprucing it up, repainting floors and walls and replacing lights.

When he opened Ambient 16 years ago off I-20 not far from The Mall West End, Ivany primarily used it for photo shoots. “When the film industry grew and expanded, many of our clients essentially became film people,” he said. “We became a boutique studio.”

The 10,000-square-foot converted cotton mill has high ceilings, hardwood floors and plenty of ambient light.

Music videos and TV commercials have used Ambient because it resembles a loft or warehouse. Usher used the space to dance in his 2014 Honey Nut Cheerios commercial. Janelle Monae turned it into a yoga studio for her 2015 song “Yoga.” And Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things” fame shot a commercial there in February for Essentia Water, Ivany said.

“Create the Escape,” a 2019 kids’ show on Peacock, built escape rooms at Ambient. VH1′s reality show “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” has used the space for party scenes.

“We don’t get an entire feature,” Ivany said. “We’re too small. We get scenes. For Netflix’s ‘Raising Dion,’ this was the dance studio for the mother. It’s sometimes used as a cool tech workplace.”

Credit: RODNEY HO/

Credit: RODNEY HO/

Ivany said before the strike, Ambient’s revenues were split about 50/50 between events and shoots. But with the writers strike likely to drag on for months, he said he might not see regular TV/film business again until the fall.

He has a few party events booked this summer that will help keep the lights on for now. He said he hopes he doesn’t have to lay off any of his 10 employees.

“I think this strike may go on awhile,” Ivany said. “Streaming is a real tension point for the writers. The model for watching TV has changed so much.”