The women of KR² Productions, Katy and Kate Rhamey, are a mother daughter team that have taken the world of branded content by storm and are ready to continue growing by utilizing their expertise in the narrative realm. They are two of the most talented, kindhearted women I have had the pleasure of talking to, but they don’t do it alone. As Katy explains, “We are as good as the people we work with. We are only as good as our team. KR² isn’t just a mother-daughter production company, we are an entire family.”
Now, let’s dive into KR² Productions and learn what makes this filmmaking team such a force to be reckoned with.
Let’s dive right in. What do you do currently?
Kate: We do tons of branded content. We also have a lot of clients where we create their entire online presence: social media, videos, everything. Katy’s background was in corporate communications and real estate, so we ended up with quite a few clients in the real estate world, which gave us an “in” to understanding the importance of budgets and how they work from the clients’ side. For creatives, sometimes we don’t always understand how budgets get set in stone. The reality is, it’s not always an educated number based on actual cost. In other words, it’s really just the amount of money they have allocated to the project. Because we now understand the business, we are able to just work with the funds they have and not constantly press for more money. Our clients certainly appreciate that.
What would you say your brand is?
Katy: We like things that are heartfelt, a little tongue in cheek, as a mother daughter team we are making a statement. We gravitate towards female led stories, but we always see the characters different because of our generational differences. Funny enough, I am 52 going on 14 and Kate is 29 going on 70, and although we joke about it, it really gives us an advantage of seeing different stories from lots of different perspectives.
We like REAL female characters. Lots of times strong female characters are written with male attributes. We want to fight against the idea that strength means male characteristics. For us, our number one focus is to create complex female characters that are strong and embrace femininity and we always want to be entertaining, full stop.
A few years ago, you shot a digital pilot called “Cupid’s Match” for CW Seed. Tell me more about that.
Katy: Cupid’s match was a fun an exciting experience. Because of the digital nature it was super low budget, but it did extraordinary. Three weeks after the release it was CW Seed’s second most watched show on its’ platform.
We think that kind of world is fun. Not only are women in general interesting, but we really feel that young women are interesting because they are being forced to make decisions for the first time and really figure out who they are. It adds another level of complexity. We are really focusing on that genre in our narrative work because we are really comfortable with what we love to watch ourselves.
Right now, bread and butter is branded commercials, but you are trying to figure out what’s next?
Kate: Yes, we certainly have an understanding that this is what we love to do, but it is a business at the end of the day. We are trying to be very intentional about what our business plan looks like for us in the narrative world.
Katy: It is funny because we stumbled into commercials, but they have really taught us how to tell a story. And we have become pros at telling stories, because if you can tell a story in 15 seconds, give me two minutes and who knows what I can do. It really teaches you what is important in narrative.
Kate: As a director, it has really showed me to be intentional with my shots. If I can tell a story in 3 seconds, but I am given the luxury of more time, it allows me to really let the characters live in the space and the emotions.
Biggest takeaway from commercial directing?
Katy: Knowing your audience.
Kate: Yes, by knowing the audience, we can make choices to speak to that audience and we make sure our cast and crew, and everyone involved is also aware of the product we are making. Because stories still are a product.
Katy: Yes. And we get pegged as creators of a specific type of entertainment product, but we don’t have any issues with that.
Yes, just like an actor. You want to be pigeonholed so its easy to work.
Katy: Yes. You want people to say “I am looking for something that is heartfelt, puts a smile on your face… call KR²”
Kate: Yes, and that is the way all the big showrunners operate. They all have their specific brands. Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti; you know what type of show you are going to get when you tune in.
What are you doing to move yourselves into narrative?
Kate: We are networking like crazy. From a production company perspective, we are making friends with lots of people in sales because we really want to understand what is selling in the market.
Katy: Yes, and again it isn’t that we are looking to change who we are to suit someone else, but rather how to package what we do and find the correct partners out there for us.
Last words of advice for fellow filmmakers?
Kate: Be pigeon holed and the client is always right.
Katy: For women in the industry, there is a reality that we are perceived inaccurately. When we started out, people told us that no one could know that we are a mother/daughter team. People said that we would be perceived as bickering women.
Kate: Yes, you could be a father/son team because fathers and sons don’t fight, but mothers and daughters do, which is a ridiculous stereotype.
Katy: That really threw us off in the beginning and what we have learned is to forget that. We have learned to embrace who we are and not take no for an answer. Embrace the stories that you want to tell. Wear who you are proudly. And finally, we have learned that women in this industry are fierce and incredibly supportive. We are all pulling in the same direction. In the past 6 years, things have changed so much, and yet we still need to continue to wear our stories on our chest and support each other.