For this edition of Listen Local, something special: Recent Olathe Northwest graduate and Overland Park, Kansas, resident and filmmaker Kharrington DeBose shares her recently finished documentary "Almost There", which chronicles the Kansas City indie music scene from the perspective of six local musicians. The film reflects DeBose's deep love of music, the artists who make it, and the city that inspires its creation. The film is a true labor of love and signals uncommon talent. Watch "Almost There" below and enjoy an interview with its creator.
Introduce yourself. Where do you live and go to school? What does a typical day look like for you?
I'm Kharrington DeBose. I live in Overland Park, KS. I just graduated Olathe Northwest and will attend Kansas City Art Institute in the fall. Since it's the summer, a typical day for me is just talking to my family and surfing the web and going to work.
Much of the video work you’ve posted online has strong connections to music. What do you like most about working with musicians? How has music inspired your own creativity?
What I liked about working with musicians, especially if I got them performing in front of a crowd or just anyone that hadn't be around them before, was seeing the other people's reactions. With Reach, people were dancing in the street and stopped traffic basically. When I filmed Atlas, it was really great because I had two of their biggest fans along with me and in the recording you can hear them singing along and getting excited when they played their favorite songs. When I saw Taryn perform, I took my dad with me and he was really impressed. To this day, he still says that she has talent. Other than seeing other's reactions, working with musicians was really interesting because they all had different perspectives of everything and even though they were different in genre and age, you could tell they all have a passion for music and making music.
Describe your creative process. What tools do you use? How did you learn how to use them? What do you struggle most with creatively?
Since I wrapped up Almost There, I've been using Spotify and my sketchbook to write down ideas while I listen to certain songs and stuff. I also watch a lot of music videos and if I can, I reach out to the DPs and directors and ask them questions about the production and what inspires them, similar to this. During my high school career, I used Final Cut Pro X and Canon 60Ds and Panasonics that were provided to us by the school, being a part of the e-Communications program. I was in the entertainment video class and use that time to learn more about the editing program and equipment.
For me, I don't want to be stuck doing the same thing over and over again. I want to make something great, but I don't want to be stuck in the same box of doing something. In the video class during critiques, someone said "You can tell Kharrington did this video" and it bothered me. I don't like having a signature style because then I feel like everyone thinks they've seen it all. I don't want them to think I'm a one trick pony. I've only just started.
What advice do you have for those what want to do what you do?
Don't let failure keep you from doing what you want. I never got first place in anything in high school for anything important, but you have to learn that not everything you do is going to impress everyone. Though, my documentary didn't impress judges, it impressed a lot of prestigious colleges and even an international band, alt-J. As long as whatever interests you makes you happy, I say keep on doing it and understand that nothing in this world is handed to you. Also don't be afraid to ask questions and reach out. I didn't know half the people in my documentary until I just put myself out there and asked if they were interested. Same with alt-J. They won't know if you don't ask.
Who or what inspires you?
I used to say that Sofia Coppola was my inspiration because I liked Marie Antoinette and the production, but it was that superficial. Right now, my inspirations are limited in a way. I appreciate everyone and their views in film, but I think I'm a bad film student because I don't watch movies and my inspirations don't stem from that are more in musicians like Dev Hynes and Toro Y Moi. I really like Dev's music (Blood Orange) and his style and am aspiring to have style levels like him one day. Chaz (Toro Y Moi) makes cool music and is also a graphic designer and would rather be a teacher than a musician. I think that's really cool that the music isn't the first thing for him and some of his music videos, he's actually filmed them himself.