We stumbled upon one of LA’s coolest spaces last week, YouTube Space LA – a place for creators of content to play to their heart’s content. Nestled in the construction zone of the emerging Playa Vista work and play space, this kid-beloved Silicon Valley stalwart is owned by Google, and eager to reach into the next generation of makers and thinkers and help them create better content for the web.
YouTube has other offices in LA, but this space – which has only 16 full-time employees – is unusual. The company opens its doors to the general community for classes and workshops, and opens its incredible production spaces to those YouTube creators with over 10,000 subscribers. They have similar, but smaller, spaces in New York, London, Tokyo, and Sao Paolo.
Here’s where you check in and get a computer generated badge (like at an airport kiosk), and learn the mission: LEARN. CONNECT. CREATE.
At a sliding scale of free time and services, popular content creators can avail themselves of sound stages, edit bays, green screens and even existing sets. It’s pretty sweet and, in the words of our tout guide “not exactly a sound business model”. But, making money isn’t the point of this particular piece of the Google empire. Instead, the goal is to urge makers to come up with fresh ideas, and facilitate the production of new creative content. And, relevant to the family audience is the idea that these newer creators are meant to serve a “lighthouse” effect- that is, beaming out the possibilities of user created content to the next generation. In other words, your kids can play in this sandbox as long as they have at least ONE YouTube subscriber. Here’s a list of classes and workshops.
Green screen stages with handy instructions for users.
This set is of a typical police station – users come and invent their own stories in the extravagantly set space – and, these change every few months, so content generation is frequently refreshed with new inspiration.
Here a new technology is on display – a program that takes photos that can be displayed in 360 degrees.
Sound board for a show that is currently being shot at YouTube Space LA.
All of this is set in the intriguing new arena of Playa Vista, home to Howard Hughes’ famous Spruce Goose hanger (which Google owns, and will soon house 6000 employees!)
It’s pretty much of a trip to realize that many of our children will work and play in this new part of Los Angeles. The area is a total construction zone now, with apartment and multi-use buildings going up quickly next to office complexes. Here is a list of the companies who are already doing business in the area, and we are sure that more are on the way.
YouTube Kids launched last month, a mechanism for kids to find their way safely around all the content on YouTube. YouTube Kids is an app – created in concert with engineers and the folks at Common Sense. Read more about it here. Here are Common Sense Media’s choices for the 12 Best YouTube Channels for Kids and Teens.