Essanay Member Story

Essanay Member Story



Essanay Studio and Lighting is known for its extensive assortment of lighting, grip and related equipment, as well as its rental sound stages, lighting/grip trucks, generators, dollies, jibs and cranes. A good majority of their clients are shooting commercials and rent equipment to use both onsite, at one of their two studios at Essanay, and offsite at various locations around Chicagoland.

Studio 2

Pictured above: the large stage available to rent at Essanay for shooting. They have one large stage and one small stage.

In addition to thousands of commercial productions, Essanay has been pleased to provide services for virtually every motion picture and television production that has shot in the Chicagoland area. In recent years that’s included The TV series Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med, as well as Empire and APB.

Wayne and EE on truck

Pictured above: Vice President/ Manager Wayne Kubacki with an employee on one of Essanay’s preloaded trucks with all of their equipment.

Essanay has been located at 1346 N. North Branch Street on Goose Island for over 21 years and currently has 10 employees. Essanay has been a member since before the Planned Manufacturing District on Goose Island was established, and has been a significant supporter of North Branch Works over the years. We are proud to call Essanay Studio and Lighting one of our members!


EE working on hydrolic camera stand

Picture above: one employee empties the hydraulics on a camera dolly to keep their equipment well maintained.

How’d they get their name? Essanay Studio and Lighting is named after Essanay Studios, a Chicago film-maker from the early 1900’s. Essanay Studios produced high-quality silent films for 10 years, having started making movies in 1907 in Uptown. In late 1914 Essanay succeeded in hiring Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin made 14 short comedies for Essanay in 1915. In a effort to save the studio, Essanay joined in a four-way merger orchestrated by Chicago distributor George Kleine in 1918 and lost the name of Essanay. This merger was later acquired by Warner Brothers in 1925.