Sam Kirby has always had a passion for telling stories. His YouTube channel is filled with projects he's made since a teenager in high school. Little did he know, this after-school activity would turn into a full-fledged career.
"Back then, it was making silly videos with friends," Sam says. "Over time, it involved into doing client work and telling stories for them."
Sam created VidMonster, a multi-media platform that creates wedding & music videos, commercials and documentary films. It wasn't until the Southern Kentucky Film Commission was established that his business really took off!
"We went to a couple of meetings," he states. "We got to start contributing a little more as far as...being in those meetings...talking and contributing to ideas. Because we're on the ground floor, we're seeing what's actually going on here."
The Southern Kentucky Film Commission asked Sam to be on their advisory board and now VidMonster acts as a liaison for filmmakers; acting as a location scout to find places and areas for filming. VidMonster, itself, played a key part in the production of "An Uncommon Grace" and "Runaway Romance," two films that were made in the heart of South Central Kentucky.
Being on the board and working on the ground floor, Sam Kirby sees first-hand the financial benefits of the Kentucky film industry.
"What Kentucky is offering, is a 30% refundable tax credit on any expenditures over a certain budget line," he says.
Now, compare that to the 25% credit in Hollywood, and the 20% credit just south, in Georgia (where the industry has been BOOMING) and Kentucky offers some of the best incentives in all of America! But it doesn't stop there...
"If they utilize Kentucky labor...they get 35% back," Sam states.
So not only will filmmakers receive a great tax credit, they also hire locally! And that is a big deal in creating more jobs in the community and improving the region's economy. As to what the future holds for Kentucky film...Sam seems to think that people will look at Kentucky, compared to places like Georgia and Hollywood, and they'll see flexibility.
And, who knows? Maybe in a few years, Southern Kentucky might even take over Hollywood for movies and TV.