Every so often, we’ll be spotlighting alumni and what they are up to these days. These Q&A sessions will give you a bit of insight into where the world has taken them since graduation.

This week, the spotlight is on Kennedy Phillips (MFA/ER ’13) who has created and directed an audio fantasy comedy titled Magus Elgar.  Magus Elgar is a Fantasy Sci-Fi Audio-venture extravaganza. Season One is eleven episodes in length, averaging twenty to thirty minutes per episode.

Share your career path with us – how did you get where you are now?

I started freelance like most. In this market, it’s really competitive to get even small jobs. It can get very discouraging at times. I picked up a job at Awesomenesstv and Dreamworkstv for a cute YouTube series called Draw My Dream. From there, I was approached by Hamed Hokamzadeh, a composer I met while at Chapman, to join Melodygun. a collective of Chapman alumni sound designers. Thomas Ouziel (BFA/FP ’11), Sean Oakley (BFA/FP ’07), Ian Clark-Daugherty (BFA/FP ’11) are other alumni also with Melodygun.

Kennedy Phillips

What was the biggest adjustment you faced after graduation and how did you overcome it?

Working in the film industry is certainly challenging. Like a metro bus network: you’ll have long periods of nothing,  And then suddenly three or four jobs show up at the same time! For a while, the jobs were scarce. Eventually it motivated me to try directing on my own with skills I developed from my time at Chapman. Hopefully it will pan out!

What advice would you give current students?

  1. Build a reel. Whether you are a director, editor, or cinematographer, having a good reel showcasing your work will do you leagues better than a resume.
  2. Work with everyone! Try a different team for each film. But for your thesis, go for a few! Some of my best jobs came from alumni in my class and even others outside my class.
  3. Keep busy. you’ll have a lot of dry spells.  your skills will falter if you don’t have something going on. Start some side projects, do something fun!
  4. Be diverse. You have no idea how many jobs I miss up because I don’t have after effects experience or little experience with an editing program I don’t primarily work on. Learn all the big ones and don’t be afraid to learn how to do things outside your main job. You’re going to be asked to wear lots of hats.

What is your favorite memory from your time at Chapman?

For our second set of cycles. I had been working on “fragments.” Huseyin’s Basarici’s (MFA/DR ’13) film. I was frustrated because I had been told that our film lacked conflict. I tried doing everything I could with the footage, but I had very little to go on. Basarici was stumped. John Nodorft (MFA/CR ’13), The cinematographer, was stumped. We were all worried about what could be done. But something clicked in me. I had to stop looking at the footage as complete scenes. As coherent storyline. I asked Basarici to give me full creative control for a minute of his film. he trusted me. And for the next three days I edited like I had never edited before. Taking jumbles of unused cuts, takes, even broken footage and outtakes to my advantage and cobbled together a climax that felt appropriate for the film. Basarici was satisfied. And I couldn’t have felt more accomplished.

What have you taken from the classroom and applied to your career?

I discovered I had a gift for foley art. I can craft sound effects to pretty entertaining effect. It’s a skill I use daily, and constantly in ways I don’t expect. So many of my elective courses left a significant impact on my ability as a filmmaker.

Thank you for sharing, Kennedy!


Kennedy Phillips