The beginnings of Yellow Brick Studio (YBS) dates back to the early 1990’s. Filmmaker Jon Brekke and his then business partner, Mike Powell, originally established it as Yellow Brick Studio, Inc., a video production company incorporated in Hawaii. Mike had first worked with Jon as a production manager on Jon’s first feature length movie, Tis The Season – A Hawaiian Christmas Story, that was produced in 1992 under Jon’s previous production company, Brekke TV Productions. Deciding they wanted to work together, they went on to establish YBS, a new production company, for which they found a suitable location for their business in Kaka`ako, a predominantly industrial section of Honolulu at the time.

As part of Jon’s first vision for this company, he asked Mike’s friend, Jon Lange, to paint the image of yellow bricks around the entrance to their production building, which in turn led to the creation of YBS’ first logo (see above). The company went on to produce videos (information, business, educational, training, TV commercials, PSAs, etc.), as well as a feature length movie, a short film, and other filmed theatrical productions. The building that housed YBS featured a second floor which included offices, a meeting room (which was often rented to rock bands for practice), a restroom, and an exit to the building’s rooftop. It was on this level that Jon and Mike primarily had their work spaces. Their lease, however, also included a first floor which featured the entry step-up stairs from the street level, continuing stairs leading to the second floor, another office which was sometimes used as a storage place, and an open area that they would rent out for occasional use, such as for casting directors who would hold auditions for local television commercials, as well as for various group meetings (e.g. the Libertarian Party of Hawaii).

It was this area which eventually attracted the interest of actors associated with Eric Nemoto in 1994. It was in the year prior, that Eric had established TAG – The Actors’ Group, then a neophyte group of passionate actors looking for a place to call home. TAG had originally been comprised of actors who had taken classes from Dick Kindelon’s “Honolulu Film Actors Workshop,” and upon his abrupt retirement in 1993, had then chose to join Eric, perhaps Dick’s most dedicated student, in continuing to meet weekly and partake in scene study classes, where actors collectively served to critique each other. Dick had given Eric three boxes of scripts he used to teach his classes and these would be used by the group for its sessions, with Eric serving as lead facilitator. The group had been meeting in a rented room at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for close to a year when the opportunity to work out of Jon’s and Mike’s first floor area availed itself to them. Two actors within the group who had met Jon and Mike were told of the space availability and relayed the prospect to Eric, who agreed with the move, since the site at the university was always viewed as a temporary location. As with other users of the space, TAG would pay Jon and Mike through YBS for their weekly use.

While the original intention of YBS did not include producing live theater, given the availability of the space and its black box and avant-garde atmosphere, it was only natural that eventually stage productions would evolve. Jon produced the very first play in the space, “Rag Dolls,” which was a story depicting family abuse. In time, TAG’s weekly scene study meetings also experienced a major change. Dave Winston Barge, trained in theater in New York and Los Angeles, who was initially introduced to the group as an acting instructor, transitioned TAG into a small ensemble acting company and assumed the role as TAG’s first artistic director, which became the start of TAG transitioning from a mere acting group to becoming a legitimate community theater. During the ensuing 13 years: Dave would eventually move on; Brad Powell – Mike Powell’s father – who at the onset was a very accomplished stage choreographer who had worked for the state’s educational television station, would assume the artistic director position; TAG became a non-profit organization; and attracted more of Hawaii’s actors and directors which then consistently produced season after season of plays that were mostly successful, some not so, but all of which could be counted to be entertaining.

Eric was finally able to move the theater in 2008 to first Chinatown and then again in 2010 to its current location in the Shops at Dole Cannery in Iwilei. Jon had elected to leave Yellow Brick Studio to Mike around the early 2000’s and Mike had maintained the company on his own for the years he continued to work out of the building. When he left Yellow Brick Studio to Mike the first time, Jon did so at a point where his film career would peak dramatically in the years that followed this departure, and so it was considered a win/win situation. TAG had not chosen to continue calling its theater, Yellow Brick Studio, when it moved. Instead, Eric pushed to have it named after Brad Powell, since he was the man who Eric felt contributed the most towards making TAG the successful community theater it had become. So eventually, after Mike also left the confines at Keawe Street, the company, Yellow Brick Studio, Inc., became inactive, and by 2013, the business and its name had become officially dissolved.

Somewhat serendipitously, however, the business and name would arise again for another run. In 2014, Eric and Jon, decided to partner together to create a production company to film independent films. This subsequently evolved into a concept Eric had envisioned of producing “made for investor” movies for which he would eventually give the moniker of LegacyVision Films to. In addition, Jon convinced Eric that they could also work on two of Jon’s other creative projects, Soul Sessions USA (SSUSA) and 5miles. Towards this end, Jon filed the company’s Articles of Organization for a Limited Liability Company on January 6th, 2014, with the Hawaii State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), and the new company, Yellow Brick Studio LLC, was created. Jon also filed the appropriate application with the Federal Department of the Treasury to obtain the company’s Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN), 46-4505518, on January 13th, 2014. Eric then created the Operating Agreement that both agreed to on February 1st, 2014, for which it was agreed that each would own 50% of the company.

The partnership was based on a history of both successfully collaborating creatively and merging their respective experiences. Over the years they had written film scripts, produced stage plays, initiated a television sitcom, and filmed independent feature length movies. Accordingly, each listed their previous movies that they had filmed with other production companies as evidence of their filmmaking experience. Beyond these each brought distinctive experiences to the company. Jon literally had over 1,000 directorial credits to his name and was the creative director for Oceanic Time Warner in Hawaii for nine years. Eric had written over 100 feature length movie scripts and founded TAG, which had developed into one of Hawaii’s finest community theatres. Jon and Eric would combine their talents and experience to form the new Yellow Brick Studio (YBS), which would come to manage and promote their three unique business ventures.

To represent the new company and its fresh start, a new logo would be designed (see above) which incorporated yet another separate trail of history and nostalgia related to Jon. The image of the cracked television monitor recollected Jon’s first edit bay, a Sony monitor that he bought for cash at the first peak of his young career in 1986. When the monitor eventually “died,” as Jon would put it, in the building where the YBS name originated, on Keawe Street in Kaka`ako, it was hung from the metal framing of an ice machine that used to be inside the building but which had long been discarded and deposited onto the roof, along with a slew of other broken electrical machines. The monitor dangled by its cable, next to a record player and a cassette player, and during after work drinking sessions, Jon, Mike, and others who would hang out with them, would throw their empty bottles at the television monitor. One eventually broke the glass. The useless monitor hung broken and meaningless until one day it proved to be inspirational. Jon took it down, put a brick inside the guts of the cracked monitor, painted all of it in yellow, and it became recycled art which sat on Jon’s desk in the YBS building. It moved with him onto his desk for a decade at Oceanic Time Warner in Mililani when he worked as its creative director, and then another five years at Island Film Group in Aiea. It is noted that the artwork monitor still remains one of Jon’s most treasured personal possessions which he maintains in a Hawaii storage locker.

Under the reinvented YBS, Jon and Eric produced two independent movies in the LegacyVision Films mode, and actively promoted, and sought investors for, SSUSA and 5miles, for which Jon did produce videos of both types. Jon also made a number of business trips to China and Malaysia, in association with a business contact who was based in Hong Kong, to promote all three business concepts. It was during one of his business sojourns to China, while seeking investors, that Jon decided to have a graphic designer create a new logo. He gave a picture of the artwork monitor to a Hong Kong media artist to use as a pattern and the result was a logo that reflected the brick crashing into the television monitor. It would serve as the company logo during the partnership of Jon and Eric. As a result of leads generated by Jon, Eric wrote business plans, promotional materials, as well as a number of screenplays, and Jon made personal presentations and oversaw the production of a number of 5miles videos filmed during his travels. In general, Jon did the filming and marketing, while Eric did the writing and the handling of all administrative duties, which included, but was not limited to, the creation of the company website, managing the books and paying relevant taxes, paying vendors and actors for services and work performed, and filing the company’s annual 1065 tax returns.

During their partnership of YBS, Jon and Eric received great support from two very successful Hawaii companies, Island Film Group (IFG) and Hawaii Media Inc. (HMI). IFG and HMI were extremely supportive of Jon and Eric and YBS, providing consulting services, temporary office space, facilities usage, and use of lighting and grip equipment for production shoots. IFG specializes in film, television and commercial production in Hawaii. They offer a complete range of production services, from pre-production through post-production, and everything in between, and are experts in Hawaii’s state film tax credits. HMI is the largest and most comprehensive equipment rental company servicing the film and television industry in Hawaii. With a 20,000 square foot facility, 2,500 square foot sound stage and over 3,000 square feet of production offices, HMI is a one-stop shop for film and television production in Hawaii. Both IFG and HMI are located at 99-1245 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, HI, 96701.

It can readily be said of Jon’s and Eric’s partnership that it proved to be very successful. It focused YBS into a legitimate business start-up, and sufficient content was produced in all three creative concepts. Over time, however, Jon’s life changed. He adopted a son, moved his residence to the Philippines, got remarried, relocated back to Los Angeles, and became the father of a newborn child. He now lives happily with his beautiful new family in a new life, and is embarking on his own creative endeavors apart from YBS. In recognition of this, and also acknowledging that Eric had continued to keep YBS active through the production of LegacyVision Films, Jon eventually agreed to leave the company to Eric.

Their separation agreement, effective beginning with the 2021 calendar year, recognized the history of YBS, and was sensitive to the development of the logo. It reflected the mutual desire of both Jon and Eric to equitably move forward, which they did so knowing full well that they could always partner up again, as they have always done in the past, should any future creative business opportunity arise that would be mutually beneficial to each of them. In general, they agreed that Jon would release co-ownership of YBS and the use of its name to Eric for the company which had been established in the State of Hawaii. Jon reserved the right to use his version of the YBS name and logo in another state or country as his own business license should he desire. Accordingly, Eric agreed to relinquish all ownership of the logo that Jon had designed and would use another logo (see below), which he subsequently reverted back to an earlier company design that he had worked with another graphic artist to create. Eric would continue to promote LegacyVision Films, SSUSA, and 5miles on the YBS website, though it was understood that while Eric conceived of LegacyVision Films and thus owns its activities, that Jon was both the developer and owner of SSUSA and 5miles. It was also agreed that any business or project leads related to SSUSA and 5miles, emanating from the website promotion, would be referred by Eric to Jon, for his follow through. By the middle of April, 2021, all changes listed in the agreement had been implemented.

Thus, Yellow Brick Studio is now (and will continue to remain as) a Single Member LLC, under the ownership and direction of Eric Nemoto, who works in partnership with other talented filmmakers and creative associates with each project that YBS undertakes. In 2022, Eric, realizing that all the creative work related to LegacyVision Films, Soul Session USA, and 5miles, were housed on his Vimeo platform – which enables account owners to sell videos using its “Vimeo On Demand” functionality – created another venture, Serenergy, which is a website that enables videos to be posted for viewing, including selling videos on VOD (Video On Demand). Additionally, in 2024, deciding that the large screenplay database that had been created over the years (164 on January 3rd, 2024) and listed under LegacyVision Films, could be promoted as its own screenplay description database, Eric established ForesT screenplays. Hence, Yellow Brick Studio now represents four very unique and creative ventures: 1) the movies that are customized and produced for legacy driven people with their own special story to tell, LegacyVision Films; 2) the music of passionate artists who may be flying under the radar today but who could very well be the stars of tomorrow, Soul Sessions USA; 3) the storytelling marketing videos for businesses and organizations that truly communicate their essence, 5miles; 4) the online video on demand film platform that provides all filmmakers with an excellent way to showcase, as well as sell, their creative work, Serenergy; and 5) the screenplay description database that serves as a way to connect writers and producers, ForesT.

LegacyVision Films develops and produces movies for passionate, driven people who have a vision of a story they feel compelled to create as their lasting legacy. We turn their story into their movie. High quality productions filmed on a range of low budgets, utilizing government programs that reap benefits apart from sales, reduces risk, increases the odds for profit, and always have the potential to be a hit!

Soul Sessions USA discovers the hidden but brilliant gems of the music industry; those passionate singers and songwriters currently flying under the radar but who could be tomorrow’s stars. We film and produce high quality music videos in an intimate acoustic format, which can then be packaged into half hour television programs that will introduce them to stations across the United States and the world!

5miles helps businesses and organizations with marketing by producing high quality, low cost videos that can be uploaded to a company’s website, embedded within a series of customized email campaigns, and housed on 5miles’ online platforms. Videos are shot and edited efficiently, economically, and produced in a storytelling fashion that communicate the essence of the enterprise better than any other medium!Serenergy provides filmmakers with an online platform for streaming movies, short films, and all other forms of video. There is no charge to house one’s work and content providers can choose to list their videos for free viewing, or, elect to sell their videos through rental and purchase arrangements, where they receive 70% of all sales. With literally no risk involved, it is the perfect website for filmmakers to showcase their work!