David Dastmalchian (Writer/Actor):
Working in Kansas City is one of the best places I ever shot, working in film. What makes Kansas City so unique and special when you are trying to make a movie is that not only do you have an awesome support system from the talent, the local talent, crew talent – the textures and looks of the city are like no other place I have ever been.
Amy Greene (Producer):
The Kansas City Film office was probably the best city film office I ever worked with. The incentive program was super clear and clean and easy to use, I think we had a really great experience. Steph Scupham is one of the best advocates for film that I have ever met in my life and we had a really, really incredible time in Kansas City.
Nacho Arenas (Producer):
For me it was very important reading the script that basically is a road trip back from Los Angeles to Kansas City. And the writer being from Kansas City, it was instrumental for us to return to Kansas City. And to have the community embrace us and the film office embrace us the way they did, especially for a story that was so close to the writer’s heart.
Collin Schiffli (Director):
We work with Heather Laird casting and it was fantastic. It was one of the first things we did when we got there. So right off the bat you’re kind of wondering you know who we gonna be meeting and what are the people gonna be like, people that we’ll be working with. Heather was amazing, her team was amazing, they were on it and they just brought their A-game.
David Dastmalchian (Writer/Actor):
We loved working with the local cast in Kansas City. It was such a joy to find a lot of actors who have all this talent, and who are really experienced and passionate, but haven’t been seen in a lot of work before. So that’s always exciting when you get to discover new faces, new voices, new talents and Kansas City is just chalk full of that.
Transcriber: Sara Thaemlitz
Anytime you go to a location and you have to shoot everything local with local crews, for an executive producer or director or show runner, it’s the most nerve racking, frightening thing that keeps you up at night. Twenty-five years of working in television, I’ve shot in every state in the United States and almost twenty countries, and I have never had such a trouble-free production in my life. I would love to bring more shows here. I wanna come here often. I want to take my Kansas City crew to other locations to shoot other shows. This is . . . shooting in Kansas City has been a turning point in my career.
Kansas City has been the most welcoming city I have ever worked in – from the production community, the business community, just local people wanting to help and be involved. I’ve never had such a positive experience. I hope I can shoot here all the time.
The crews here are absolutely phenomenal. They’re ready to work. Their rates are reasonable and the depth of skill and knowledge they have far exceeds the capacity of any other local crew I have ever worked with.
I was originally going to bring a lot more people from Los Angeles when I came until I met with the local crew and I said I can do almost a hundred percent of our crew from right here in Kansas City. And the savings because of that has been astronomical. All the money we’re not spending on hotels, and rental cars, and per diem, is now going into the production of the show. And that has made our series so much better.
So many moves from location to location usually eat up one to two hours a day anywhere else I have ever been. Here in Kansas City, you can get anywhere in ten to fifteen minutes. Everyday, we’re getting two to three more setups than I expected. On one day alone, we were able to go to eight different locations and shoot fourteen different scenes. This would be impossible in Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, New York, anywhere else I have ever worked. There’s no traffic, but it’s still a large metropolitan city with two million people. It’s unbelievable how easy it is to get from place to place.
Kansas City is full of amazing, beautiful locations that you would expect to find in New York, in Paris, in capital cities of the world. They’re pristine. They’re Art Deco. They’re ultra-modern. They really have every era of architecture available and reasonably priced. Sometimes that price is free because Kansas City’s film office, and the mayor’s office, and the tourism office, are working very hard to bring film and television here. So, just based on locations alone and the access of locations.
Mona Vasiloiu (Line Producer)
When I first got the call about the Kansas City shoot, my first thought was permits. So, I called the film commissioner and I was shocked when I found out there are no permits in Kansas City. Unless of course, you shut down a whole street. So that, combined with the quality of local labor and a variety of locations, really makes this place unique and very film friendly. It’s also easy to fly in and fly out. It’s probably three and a half hours a direct flight to LA and two hour flight direct to New York. It has a lot of potential.
As far as locations, Kansas City, it’s very different than a lot of cities I’ve seen before. There’s a little bit of everything here. It could play as New York. It could play as . . . obviously Midwest, Chicago. I’ve seen a couple of buildings yesterday around the World War I Museum that can totally play as Eastern Central Europe back in the ’30s. I was absolutely blown away. And again, people’s attitude is very important because they want us to shoot here. They want to open the doors and show their locations to the world and the filmmaking. There’s a lot of potential here. And also the fact that the city is very compact, you can get from one location to another within ten minutes. I mean our show shoots in four or five different locations a day. And our company moves are smooth which is incredible. Parking is not a problem. I haven’t seen traffic since I’ve been here. You could probably walk from one location to another if you stay downtown. It’s very easy to film here, as well as, a lot of diversity in the types of locations.