This post has been a difficult one to start, and here’s why. I’m supposed to tell you all about what it’s been like to be an intern with the film office for the past three months, but it’s been an experience that’s hard to describe.
My name is Rachel Kephart and the first thing you should know about me is I love Kansas City. It’s a borderline obsession that I am constantly having to keep in check. I love the sports, I love the art, and I love the people. So when I was offered the internship with the KC Film + Media Office, which operates within Visit KC, I was excited, and slightly panicked. I had been working in Kansas City for a while, starting out as a casting intern with Wright/Laird Casting owned by Heather Laird, who for the record is the bomb, all while studying Film and Media Studies at KU, but I was working in Kansas City so much that I decided to transfer to UMKC and continued to work for a talent agency and as a Production Assistant whenever possible. Through all these experiences I was pretty sure I understood what the film office did. Nope. I didn’t.
Q: Tell us about school.
RK: I’m a Junior at UMKC majoring in Communications Studies with an Emphasis in Film and Media Arts and minoring in Business.
When I started I quickly learned that the film office isn’t just about supporting productions coming in to shoot in Kansas City, which by the way is far more productions than I had anticipated. The office is also supposed to promote Kansas City as a premiere filming destination, and walk this fine line between working for the city, and working for the production industry. It sounds easy, but spoiler alert, it really isn’t. Here’s just a taste.
To effectively promote a city you need a well-rounded and well-represented Production Guide that is full of the city’s best crew and support services to show incoming productions that Kansas City is stacked with great talent. You need a full Locations Database that showcases all the great locations Kansas City has to offer. You need people to represent you at tradeshows, film festivals, and industry events, and establish a social media presence. Guys, I haven’t even scratched the surface, and what’s crazy about that is everything I’ve just listed, including assisting every production that comes into the Greater Kansas City area and offering excellent customer service, was all being done pretty much by one person – Steph Scupham.
Q: First concert you went to without adults or parents?
RK: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Working for Steph has been without question the coolest part of this experience. As a college student who wants to crawl under a rock every time the classic “what are your plans?” conversation comes up, it is incredible and comforting to see someone doing exactly what they love and were meant to do.
So, what do I do as film office intern? I do whatever I can to make Steph’s life a little easier. I manage the office’s social media, I help with assisting productions, I man the ship when Steph is out of the office for meetings or festivals, I work on getting our local industry professionals into the Production Guide, I find the best contacts for surrounding municipalities, and I watch in awe as the film office thrives in its first year since reopening.
Q: If you were in a band…what would you name it?
RK: I would much rather manage a band than actually be in one, but if I managed a band, it would have to have a catchy name like “The Rolling Stones”. Unless that’s already taken.
It’s been an unbelievable experience, and has led to even more incredible opportunities, like being able to meet and network with some of Kansas City’s best industry professionals, or how about being a PA at the World Series, I mean come on! As the year ends I feel very lucky to have worked for this great office, within this awesome company, during such an incredible time for Kansas City, and the cherry on top is it’s not over yet. I’ll be helping out this office and doing what I can to make sure everyone knows how incredible Kansas City is until May of 2016. So maybe the next time you call the film office for some assistance, you’ll be talking to me.
Q: How often do you work at the film office?
RK: I work at the office part-time. Usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I’ve made my class schedule very flexible so I can be here to help out if I’m needed.