The pandemic was the spark that New York City content creator Corey Beasley needed to start his own video production business — in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania.
He was no stranger to the region. Each time Corey and wife Livia would visit her parents here, he said, “We were sad each time we left to return home.”
Covid was a blessing in one way; it prompted Beasley to uproot his family and relocate to State College. He was eager to return to a more peaceful way of life he knew growing up in rural Virginia and Texas. He appreciated the calm and natural green space of the Centre Region, a throwback to the areas of his formative years.
And here, the experienced videographer started Spark Pixel, an organic response to his new surroundings. He saw a dearth of digital content creators, and he knew he could offer his services in the valley’s ripe economy. He set his sights on producing content such as B-roll, testimonials, videos for social media promos, digital workshops and brand campaigns.
“I have been searching for other filmmakers, crew and talent, and there does not seem to be much of that here, yet...But I’m hopeful”
- Corey Beasley
Beasley said he’s also on the hunt for collaborations with creatives in his field.
“I have been searching for other filmmakers, crew and talent, and there does not seem to be much of that here, yet,” he said. “But I’m hopeful.”
Now that Beasley has bridged his professional expertise with greener pastures, he has more time to spend on his dream projects.
“One is a music video, and the other is a couple of really nice tourism documentaries,” he said. “Down the road, I hope to make some narrative films.”
How did you end up in Happy Valley?
We have visited Happy Valley a few times over a few years because my wife’s parents live here. Every time we came, we always felt a peace and hominess. It always seemed like we were on vacation. Everyone we bumped into was warm and welcoming. The scenery was nice.
Can you tell me about your company and what's different about being in video/the arts in Happy Valley vs. New York City?
We came here to stay with our parents during the pandemic to get a little break from the city. My work in New York slowed down quite a bit, and I started making some videos for local State College businesses. I didn’t realize how much that service was needed. And after staying here for two years while my wife worked remotely, we decided to make State College our home, and I founded Spark Pixel LLC.
I’m glad this happened this way. I would never have attempted to form a business like this in New York City. It’s far too competitive there. And the capital needed to compete with those similar companies made sure this was only a dream in my head and that it would never be realized.
What makes Happy Valley so one-of-a-kind?
Coming from New York City, I cherish the sky, and trees, clouds and grass.
I know it seems silly to say that, but when you are in a concrete jungle and working night and day, you don’t see those things very often, and it takes a toll. Out here, I don’t have to grind it out so hard. I can take a moment. I can watch the sunset. I can see the sunset! Being this close to nature just lets me reflect and connect to others and the world around me.
But also, we have a little one in kindergarten, and his school is beyond awesome. I know that we would not have that kind of detail and care back home.
"Out here, I don’t have to grind it out so hard. I can take a moment. I can watch the sunset. I can see the sunset! Being this close to nature just lets me reflect and connect to others and the world around me"
- Corey Beasley
What’s one off-the-beaten-path thing that you personally love about Happy Valley?
We haven’t gotten out as much as we would have liked, but we enjoy the parks. Circleville is one we get to a lot! We also like Shaver’s Creek, Colyer Lake and Greenwood Furnace State Park, and Black Moshannon and Bald Eagle [State Park beaches].
What’s something every visitor should experience while they are here?
If you have little ones, I would experience Discovery Space and Get Air! Our kiddo loves these places. We try to get over to the Penn State Arboretum often. My wife and I love eating at Gigi’s Southern Table, Blonde Bistro and Federal Taphouse for date night.
Heather Longley is an arts writer living in Centre County.