June Spotlight: Scott Jolley

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.

scott 4I 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.

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Jolley’s first job.

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.


KCFMO: Do you have a philosophy/quote that inspires your work or life?
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May Spotlight: Bebe Wood

Each  month we connect with an influential professional in the industry. This month our Spotlight is on actress Bebe Wood. 

bebe 2At fourteen, Bebe Wood has had more success than many actors will see in their entire careers. Wood, a Kansas City native, has starred in some of the biggest shows on television including 30 Rock, Veep, NBC’s The New Normal, the Netflix mini-series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, About a Boy and films like A Merry Friggin’ Christmas. Today, Bebe stars in the new ABC comedy “The Real O’Neals” as Shannon, the clever daughter of Irish Catholic parents adjusting to their son’s coming out and their impending divorce. We got the chance to speak with Bebe about her KC roots and what it’s like being a successful young actress.


KCFMO: What would you say is the most common misconception about being a young actor?

Bebe: Acting is hard work. I love my job and I’m blessed to have it, but it’s not easy. People think being an actor on television would be a walk in the park and tons of fun. It is fun, but it also means a crazy schedule and a lot of responsibility.

I think staying in KC helps keep me grounded. I don’t get caught up in Hollywood competition.

KCFMO: How has your Kansas City upbringing affected you and your career? Continue reading

April Spotlight: Misti Boland | Red Bird

Each  month we connect with an influential professional in the industry. This month our Spotlight is on Misti Boland – screenwriter, director, producer, production designer, art director.

Using the internet to distribute film and TV content is sort of like the new Wild West…

You might recognize Misti Boland from the Sundance/Slamdance blog we did earlier this year when we highlighted area people at the fests. Misti was a member of the jury at Slamdance Film Festival. We got together at the Missouri Film/KC Film party in Park City and we had a good laugh as she shared a story about dancing with Emilio Estevez, who was very much enjoying himself at the party she just came from. She also spoke of her exciting project Red Bird that she was in post-production on.

Misti Boland is known as a a production designer and and art director, with more than thirty (30) films to her credit. She is one of the founders of Women of Lawrence Film (WOLF). She has been finding success as a writer-director as well and has just launched a new webseries called Red Bird. We are honored to have this rising star as our film office spotlight this month.


Misti Boland on Location Directing "Red Bird"
Misti Boland on Location Directing “Red Bird”

KCFMO: Where did the idea for Red Bird come about? And where did the name come from?

MistiI grew up watching Western television shows and movies, and as a filmmaker I’ve been looking for the opportunity to create one.  When I was approached by actor friends Alexandra Goodman and Ian Stark about writing a script with two characters who encounter struggles with living off the land, I thought it would be a perfect fit Misti-Boland-on-setfor making a Western.

My co-writer, Jeremy Osbern, and I live in Lawrence, Kansas, and we both share an interest in the history of Bleeding Kansas and in particular Quantrill’s raid. We wanted to showcase a woman who lived through a similar event and witnessed the murder of her young son, which sparks her bloody quest for revenge.

The name for the web series came about when Jeremy and I decided that Sam’s (Kitty Mae’s father) special nickname for her would be Red Bird. 


RED BIRD HorizontalKCFMO: You are the writer, director and co-creator of this series. Tell us about those roles and any others you took on. Continue reading

Why a Local Film Incentive for Kansas City?

collageWhile at the at the AFCI Locations Trade Show in Los Angeles representing Kansas City and the state of Missouri, a screenwriter, let’s call him “Steve,” engaged us in a conversation about a romantic comedy script he wrote called “BBQ.” I immediately pitched the virtues of our incredible Kansas City BBQ scene and our strong crew base and he easily became interested in adding Kansas City to the list of cities he would consider. In the next beat he asked, “What are your incentives?” This question is the norm in the industry. In fact we may have been the only booth at the trade show without active incentives.


 

Last year the AFCI drew over 3,000 attendees, over 1,000 producers, 684 production associations, 227 directors, 108 film commissions and 83 independent filmmakers. [Source AFCI]


 

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Kansas City Represents at Sundance and Slamdance

IMG_1709In Park City I almost literally ran into the legendary founder of Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford. Lucky for him and especially for me, a bodyguard type gentleman threw a “mom style arm-as-safety-belt” in front of me and I halted before plowing into Mr. Redford. Running into him could have been a national tragedy, or (and I like this idea better) he would have brushed himself off and so would begin our long-lasting, deep and meaningful friendship. Alas.

The KC Film + Media Office attends Sundance to connect with independent filmmakers, producers and other industry people. We support locally-tied films that play in the festivals. And one of the highlights is the networking party that we co-host with the Missouri Film Office on behalf of Missouri and KC-connected people which is steadily gaining a reputation as a don’t-miss affair.

Kansas City area people I ran into during the Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals are only slightly less famous but no less important than the Sundance Kid:

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February Spotlight: Kevin Willmott

Each  month we connect with an influential professional in the industry. This month our Spotlight is on Kevin Willmott -screenwriter, director, producer, actor and professor.

To have one of your film heroes say that about your work is about as good as it gets.

Kevin Willmott

Kevin Willmott grew up in Kansas and attended college to study Drama at Marymount University in Salina. His work as a peace and civil rights activist after college resounds in his filmography. After Marymount he created two shelters for the homeless and fought for integration within several long-standing segregated institutions. Later he went on to the graduate program at the prestigious NYU, Tisch School of the Arts where he won several writing awards and earned an MFA in Dramatic Writing.

Although I didn’t have Willmott as a professor at KU, I did have the great pleasure of working as a camera assistant/loader for a 2nd unit team in 1999 on his critically acclaimed feature film, “C.S.A.: Confederate States of America” (2004). The film explores what America might be like had the Civil War been won by the South. “C.S.A.”, as well as “The Only Good Indian” (2009) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and represent only a few of his many professional credits.

Willmott’s numerous credits range from actor (11 credits), writer (8 credits), producer (9 credits) and director (8 credits). [Source IMDB]

As a professor Willmott inspires students by example – by creating consistently, working hard and having the determination to make films he believes in that often take years to enter into production. Our intern, Rachel Kephart, a former student of Willmott says, “he’s very present as a professor and teaches from a real knowledge of filmmaking from idea to distribution without pretension.”

We are grateful that he shared some of his experiences and photos with us, even with an incredibly busy schedule.


KCFMO: What were you doing before you came to University of Kansas to teach?

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January Spotlight: Melissa Willis – Producer/Production Manager

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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!

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An Intern’s Perspective

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.

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Spotlight on TRUST FUND MOVIE

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.

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A Tale of Two TV Pilots

Funny People Descend on Kansas City

IMG_0470AlMadrigal_JakKnight_ThePhoenixownerandteam_IMG_0517 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?

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