Kellie Koford: On the Path She Wants!
Kellie Koford of Austin, Texas was what many would consider the “right track.” At 29, she had a great job in the healthcare industry and was bound to move up the ladder in coming years. Only problem was—it wasn’t what she wanted.
Kellie’s intelligence and fun, easygoing personality made her highly employable for a great number of industries. But, in reality, she’d always been more attracted to creative pursuits. Kellie is a former competitive dancer. In college, she majored in interior design. Thanks to the recession, Kellie found work in interior design was scarce and so she moved into healthcare. From there, time went on and work became just a part of life until she had a moment of clarity.
“I just kind of woke up one day,” Kellie says, “realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life dragging myself out of bed to go to a job I only kind of liked.”
From that moment, Kellie got proactive. She started researching film programs. Why film? The desire to work in film, and to edit in particular, had always been present but, partly thanks to a number of well-intentioned naysayers, was never pursued. Kellie says, “Well, I’ve always been interested in it, but it’s always been one of those things that people scare you away from. Whether you’re an actor or in film period, it seems like there’s a stigma that only a very few get to ‘make it’ in it.”
Nevertheless, Kellie persisted and applied to a number of film schools and was granted acceptance into the program at Glasgow Caledonian University, in Scotland. The $60,000 price tag came as a shock. When an online search led Kellie to Film Connection, she made the call and was sent to meet with filmmaker, mentor and founder of Moth to Flame Films—Christine Chen.
Christine herself was also new to Film Connection and she well understands pervasive misconceptions about working in the film business can be, especially when they’re coming from those who mean best. Christine’s family insisted that she go to business school, so she got her degree but started her own film company in tandem and was solvent within one year. Moth to Flame has been going strong ever since. Christine is savvy about the business side of filmmaking and caters to a large array of clients, filming everything from weddings to commercials, to fundraising campaigns to feature films. The trick to making it is just doing the work. She says, “This is not an industry that will just give you a 9-5. You gotta work your butt off and if you love it then it’ll be okay.”
Doing the work didn’t scare Kellie one bit. She dove in and dedicated herself to learning the craft while also maintaining her full time job. Right away, Christine had Kellie editing commercial videos and filming on location for a number of commercial shoots and a short, dramatic film. Kellie found she intuitively understood much of the craft and even says editing film to music hearkened back to another of her creative loves: “In a way, it’s almost like choreographing a dance when you’re working with film and putting it to music.” Getting trained from within a creative, yet pragmatic filmmaking environment while getting her mentor’s straight, no-nonsense advice, enabled Kellie to grow and refine her abilities, and to connect with potential employers.
Of her apprentice and soon-to-be graduate, mentor Christine Chen says, “She came in with an open heart, with the mentality that she will do whatever it takes to try to give her dream a chance and I love people like that. I don’t need someone who comes in saying they know everything. She came in saying, ‘I will do whatever’….She was very enthusiastic.”
Just five months into the Film Connection program, Kellie Koford was able to resign from her “great job” in healthcare. She’s secured a job in film and will be working to combine the spiritual and inspirational in her new position. Speaking of leaving her job in healthcare, Kellie says she was pretty sure she’d “get teary” on that last day “because of the unknown of leaving” but it didn’t happen. Instead, she says, “I was in ecstasy all day…Leaving out of the parking garage, I took note of how serene and excited I was to be driving towards the next chapter of my life.”