Jessi Burkette and Bryce Young, 48 Hour Film Project co-producers, talk making movies in KC, the upcoming competition and more in The Pitch Questionnaire

Actor, model
Young: Video and photography producer at Hallmark Cards

Overland Park
Young: Kansas City, Missouri

Current neighborhood
North Kansas City
Young: Independence

What I do
I’m a filmmaker and actress. This year I’m co-producing the Kansas City 48 Hour Film Project with the amazing Bryce Young.
Young: Lead a pretty busy life, raising four kids with my wife, have an amazing job working at Hallmark. So in my spare time, I decided to give producing a massive film competition along with Jessi a shot.

What’s your addiction?
Netflix and chocolate.
Young: Hmm … as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, I try and keep the addictions to a minimum.

What’s your game?
Uno. I’m not afraid to drop wild cards and draw fours.
Young: Madden. Buy it every year, no matter what. We love playing Monopoly as a family. I’ve never won, but the kids love bragging about those properties.

What’s your drink?
Coca-Cola or fuzzy navels
Young: Since they re-released it, I’ve been drinking gallons of Hi-C Ecto Cooler.

Where’s dinner?
Gates Bar-B-Q. Can’t beat that KC taste!
Young: Anywhere on the Independence Square. So many great places to take the family.

Finish this sentence: “Kansas City got it right when …”
It brought back the film office and restored film incentives this last year. The local businesses and jobs this will bring to our city will be astounding. And who doesn’t want to see more KC on the big screen?
Young: It began to focus on the tons of creative people here in KC. Now the city is offering film incentives. That’s amazing news for every single person who lives and works here.

“Kansas City screwed up when …”
They did away with the film incentives years ago. It caused many filmmakers to take their KC–based projects elsewhere and other states received the financial benefits.
Young: We elected Mark Funkhouser. Since then, I think we’ve been pretty golden!

“I always laugh at …”
Myself after a rough audition. Sometimes you just have to laugh about it, shake it off and do better next time.
Young: My kids. Our youngest (seven months) makes me laugh for just being a baby; our 2-year-old is fearless; our 5-year-old says some of the funniest things without even knowing; and our 9-year-old is becoming such a kid and finds a way to giggle at everything, which is contagious.

“I’ve been known to binge-watch …”
The Office, Breaking Bad, Firefly. I have a binge-watching problem.
Young: House of Cards is probably the bingiest. I binge so many shows.

“I can’t stop listening to …”
Berwanger, Strange Stains. A KC band with an upbeat rock vibe that keeps me dancing.
Young: “Priceless” and “Ceasefire” by For King & Country

“I just read …”
Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore. I love his dark sense of humor and the way he introduces characters from his past novels into his current stories.
Young: The Book of Acts.

The best advice I ever got:
Take risks for what you love. Be it a person, a hobby or anything else. You can’t make a dream come true unless you sacrifice for it.
Young: Was to be quiet, put my head down, concentrate on the job I was doing and just listen. Advice that was given from my mentor before I started working on my first film set ever, the feature film Winter’s Bone. It still rings true, and continues to stick with me.

Worst advice:
To take a job for the money. Do something that makes you happy. Learn skills that will get you a position in a field that will help you work towards your goals and will allow you to pursue them.
Young: Be happy with the simple answer.

My sidekick:
My best friend, Lizzy, who has always supported my dreams and gotten me into way too many crazy adventures.
Young: My wife, Raychel, and our kids.

My dating triumph/tragedy:
Triumph: going on vacation with my boyfriend recently. We managed to survive over 40 hours in a car together with matching sunburns, and had a blast doing it. Tragedy: I once got nervous before asking a guy out and high fived a slice of pizza, then followed it up with “So you think you might want to go out to eat sometime?” Talk about crash and burn.

My brush with fame:
When I was in high school, I was part of a national documentary series that aired on a major television network. We did a huge press tour, including appearances on Good Morning America and Tyra in New York followed by a premiere during which I walked the red carpet and was asked by an E! reporter, “Jessi, Who are you wearing?” I panicked. “I think my mom bought it for me in a department store in GA …?” The reporter laughed at me and moved on.
My soapbox:
If filmmaking, acting, composing, makeup, special effects or crewing happen to be your dreams or passions, please consider participating in this year’s 48 Hour Film Project. The challenge is to make a film in 48 hours. We’ll tell you a prop, a line of dialogue, a character. You randomly select the genre and where it goes from there is up to you and your team. Maybe it will win go on to Filmapalooza in LA then to the Cannes Film Festival. I would love for a Kansas City film to win it all. Kickoff begins August 19.
Young: Don’t let the media or the news form your opinion on what it means to be a Christian. There was a time in life when I let that happen, and it kept me from investigating for myself what God in someone’s life can look like. Many people that call themselves Christians and spew hateful remarks, or single out a group of people don’t represent me or the teachings of Jesus. But, without finding out for ourselves, we’re left with some very misconstrued viewpoints from some very radical people who claim to be representing everyone who attends church or who reads the Bible. It’s just not the case, but I had to find out all that for myself.
My recent triumph:
Becoming a Kansas City 48 Hour Film Project co-producer with Bryce Young. We can’t wait to bring Kansas City filmmakers a fun competition with an awards ceremony that celebrates their hard work and creativity. Even if you aren’t a filmmaker, come out and support KC Film by seeing the finished projects at our screening at Screenland Armour on August 27.
Young: Becoming the city producer for the 48 Hour Film Project. Looking forward to making a fun event at Screenland Armour for everyone who attends.

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