Music licensing for film is a relatively new way for the everyday musician to monetize their music in a substantial way. Though it has taken off on the coasts, we couldn’t find anyone in the Midwest who was curating an online catalog of tracks for filmmakers to license.
We first became aware of Mark Buerlger when he participated in the bi-city film competition between Kansas City and Chattanooga, Capture Filmmaking Contest. Mark was one of the composers selected to be paired with an editor. This team of two would create an original short film using footage uploaded by the public in both cities. It was a strong pairing. Together, editor Kyle Hamrick and composer Mark Buergler won the Best of Show award, the highest honor in the contest. As they say, good attracts good, and on the heels of his win Mark met Todd Davidson of Fountain City Studios and a new venture was born – SongHue. We are visiting with the team at SongHue to learn more about music licensing and their growing roster of Midwest artists.
KCFO: What gave you the idea for a music licensing company for motion pictures/video/media production?
MARK:SongHue started through a film + music collaboration between myself and Fountain City Studios. I graduated out of UMKC in 2015, and was able to support myself making license-able music for film right off the bat! Though I was stoked that a career in music was an option for me, I was also seriously bummed that I was doing it all by myself. This is when I partnered with Todd Davidson at Fountain City Studios to compose music for film in-house.
To simply have a crew to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with was huge to me. Coming from a background of being in bands, and having a close crew of friends in college, I didn’t want to do everything on my own. Sitting in my studio apartment creating music for hours on end was really fun, but it was also incredibly lonely! On top of that, I couldn’t find anyone else who was doing what I do in KC.
I have just returned from Brazil where I worked as Broadcast Venue Manager during both Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Each month we talk with an influential individual in our film industry and this month we have the opportunity to learn about a KC woman who recently worked at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games – Michele Fatturi.
KCFO: You’ve spent most of your career living and working in Brazil. Are there any distinct differences between producing American media versus Brazilian media – how is it the same/how is it different?
MICHELE: It is hard to trace this parallel at the moment because in Brazil I have worked for over 12 years mainly for TV and Radio but in KC my working experience is in the cinema area and not yet TV.
Brazil has a great tradition in TV and advertising, being considered one of the best in the world for its high production standards. So, both countries share leading roles in this area and highly qualified professionals. However, the US produces more globally distributed content while Brazil produces for local and Latin markets. I think that’s the main difference. Also, as we deal with much smaller budgets, Brazilian professionals are very good at finding solutions outside the box to solve problems when resources are limited and crews are smaller. It’s the so called “jeitinho brasileiro”(Brazilian way) applied positively. I would say we are very resourceful.
It is also the difference between a KC media professional and someone from New York or the West Coast, for example. With less productions and smaller budgets you guys here need to do way more juggling to get things done, what makes the local talent very versatile.
MTV Live interviews
KCFO: You’ve produced content for large entertainment companies like MTV and ESPN. Can you give us an example of a project(s) you worked on at each and what your role entailed?
If you didn't know the 2016 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize
winning film AMERICAN HONEY filmed in Kansas City last year, don't worry.
The reason you didn't know is because the production kept their presence
here very quiet. They asked us not to discuss the project, actors or locations
with anyone outside of those who were involved on a "need-to-know" basis.
That meant no media, no social posts, no newsletter content about how
exciting it was that they were here filming here.
It was a great pleasure assisting this production. Knowing that this
brilliant director was bringing her first US feature to Kansas City was
incredible. Now that filming is done and they have premiered at Cannes, we
can share some anecdotes that shed light on how the film office works with a
production like AMERICAN HONEY. First, watch their trailer and see how
much KC you can find -
Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey” plunges the audience, with dizzying hand-held exhilaration, into the lives of a couple of dozen young pierced and tattooed drifters who have banded together into a roving derelict cult, driving around the Midwest in a van, where they have a scam going to use their hustle and beauty to guilt-trip people into buying magazine subscriptions. You may never have seen a movie that so eloquently captures the feeling of living not for the future but for the moment — and, let’s be clear, living that way is not a good thing. But there’s a haunting question that shadows the flying-high hip-hop catharsis of “American Honey,” and that is this: How did these kids get here? -Owen Glieberman, Variety
Each month we connect with an influential professional in the industry. This month our Spotlight is on Scott Jolley – DP/videographer, jib commander, Steadicam operator, UVA pilot and ringleader at Scott Jolley Production Services.
What I am most proud of is seeing the people I have helped get started go forth and kick ass.
I heard of Scott Jolly well before we met. Scott is someone in Kansas City that I heard of through colleagues and when spoken of people say he’s great at his job, he’s reliable, he’s a team player and he calls it like he sees it. People like Scott inspire us to elevate one another in our work and life. In our industry, our websites showcase reels of work, personal bios and resumes to help land business. Scott has all of that at SJPS.tv but also includes contact information for other people, including potential competitors as well as links to other productions sites and The Onion. He seems to have the opposite of “lack” mentality – he trusts that there is enough for all. This is one of the reasons we’re putting the June spotlight on Scott Jolley.
KCFMO: How long have you been in the film industry?
SCOTT: I got my first TV job when I was a freshman in high school. Abilene Kansas had a little public access station in the basement of the city library. It would have been 1979. It was primitive tv and I loved it. One of my jobs was putting the letters on a black magnetic board. That was our graphics.
KCFMO: What is your role(s) in the industry? (your jobs on a crew)
SCOTT: It depends on what the day is. Some days I am a director of photography, or I might be the jib op, or Steadicam guy, or drone pilot. I also do a little editing and writing. I try and learn a new trick as often as possible. I remember 20 or so years ago, an online editor proclaimed to me that he would always have a job and that there was no need to learn non-linear editing. Last time I saw him, he was sinking in a tar pit.
The competition for work can be brutal and mean. It can force you into a fear based level of operation.
Five years ago Nigella Lawson visited Kansas City and she never
forgot how magical it was. Fast-forward to her newest UK-based
cooking show, BBC's "Simply Nigella" and where does she choose
to film the first Christmas special for her show? Kansas City.
Nigella is a celebrity chef with a career history as a journalist,
broadcaster, television personality, gourmet and food writer. She has
written eleven cookbooks and Simply Nigella is her most recent.
She has also starred in several of her own cooking shows -
Nigella Bites, Forever Summer, Nigella, Nigella Feasts, NigellaExpress, Nigella Kitchen, Nigellissima, The Taste and Simply Nigella.
Nigella has been a celebrity guest on shows like ABC's Modern Family,
Bravo's Top Chef, Food Network's Iron Chef and Australia's Master Chef.
I had the pleasure of working with Melissa Willis at Take Two (now HINT) several years ago. She was the kind of producer who respected the Production and everyone’s roles in it. She seemed to always stay late, she was amazingly organized, and meticulous about her production books. One of the truly great things about her is her willingness to teach young associate producers and production assistants who were interested in how to run a commercial production. Melissa is what I call a “crackerjack.” She knows her stuff and accepts nothing but the best from those she works with. Melissa is now the Senior Producer at Northpass Media in Kansas City.
KCFMO: How long have you been in the production industry and how did you start?
Melissa: I started about 22 years ago. There are many moments which shapedmy first 2 years. I answered an ad in a local paper, the Pitch, I think. The ad was asking for people to participate in a documentary. We met at the Westport Library. At that meeting I met Kirby Cobb the director and creator of the project. We met every Wednesday night. From those meetings the Independent Filmmakers Coalition (IFC) was born.
Via the IFC I met Patti Watkins the Film Commissioner of Kansas City. I interned for her during Ang Lee’s feature “Ride with the Devil” and during Frank Pierson’s HBO movie “Truman” when they were scouting Kansas City. Patti recommended me for Production Secretary on “Truman”. I’m forever grateful to her for that opportunity. My script cabinet was Emmy worthy!
One of our favorite locations to film at was the “Italian Villa” which was an amazing home located only about 15 minutes south of downtown…we could not have asked for a better place to shoot our Italy scenes. The funny thing was, we filmed the family home in “Chicago” right across the street, that’s how diverse some of the neighborhoods are in Kansas City.
It’s not everyday that an independent film gets a deal with the AMC Independent program. But that’s exactly what Kansas City filmmakers Sandra Martin (SM), writer/director and Isaac Alongi (IA), cinematographer have done. Their film, Trust Fund, opens in KC on January 8 at AMC Theatres. We invited Martin and Alongi to be the January KC film spotlight to celebrate the release. Congratulations to these incredible KC film talents and to all the cast and crew!
KCFMO: How did you film KC as Chicago and Italy? Tell us about your location selections.
Kansas City was the location for two comedy television pilots – Comedy Central’s Travel Fun Show with Al Madrigal and Jak Knight (working title) and School of Humans/Tru TV’s Eugene Meets the Mayor starring Eugene Mirman and Wyatt Cenac. Eugene Mirman played the recurring character ‘Eugene’ on the acclaimed HBO show Flight of the Concords and is the voice of Gene in the award-winning animated series Bob’s Burgers. Wyatt Cenac was a regular correspondent and writer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Al Madrigal was also a regular correspondent on The Daily Show, is the co-founder of All Things Comedy podcast network and was a co-star on NBC’s series About A Boy. Jack Knight is a young stand-up comic and actor.
Why is Kansas City the spot for these two pilots who are hoping to be given life as serial TV shows?
We’ll never get sick of saying it – the Kansas City Royals are 2015 World Series Champs! Think about every game you watched on TV, all the highlights, the announcers, the interviews, the cool and often funny promotions. This is the domain of the production industry and our KC Production Crew was a huge part of making it all look great!
We enjoyed working with all of them….the former players were inviting and dripping with contagious spunk.
The second installment of KC Crew behind-the-scenes this post-season features the people who kept the on-camera talent looking their best, Make-Up Artists:
Staci Broski Michelle Taylor Jolie Carrillo-Allen
AROD had breakfast at the Classic Cup and did Yoga somewhere in Westport in the mornings.
KCFMO:What was your role as a crew person during the Royals post-season?
Storyboarding – “Visualizing a Film” Vince Medellin will share character development boards, environment boards and storyboards from his own work as a visual developer/art director as well as storyboards from the films of local director, Patrick Rae. You will see how a production is ‘seen’ well before any camera roll. Plus you’ll have a chance to give storyboarding a try yourself!
Casting – “Audition to Land the Part” Heather Laird of Wright/Laird Casting in Kansas City will be will be at Script-to-Screen Saturday, June 27th in the Casting Booth area. Heather has worked on 65+ films including THE GOOD LIE, PETE’S DRAGON, WINTERS BONE, ALL ROADS LEAD HOME (screening at Maker Faire) and more than 1,000 commercial and print projects such as Google, McDonalds, Walmart, MetLife, Microsoft, United Way, Time Warner Cable, Wendy’s, Sprint, Gillette, MasterCard and many more. The W/L booth will provide the opportunity to observe the audition process and for the fearless, a chance to try it yourself!!
Talent Agency Booth – “Have Your People Call My People” Several area talent agencies will be in the Talent Agency Booth – I&I Agency, Exposure Inc and Moxie Talent Agency. You may be surprised at all of the amazing talent Kansas City has – from actors, to models, to voice over artists. Stop by the booth and they can teach you about the world of booking a job from headshots to auditions – they may even send you to one! Continue reading →