A visit with Kristen Melling and Tava Maloy Softsky
Written by Lori Williams
Last month, Kristen Melling portrayed Annabelle Tilby in the Oklahoma City premiere of ThePaintedWoman. Prior to that, she did ballroom dancing in the made for TV Movie DirtyDancing, wore a deputy sheriff costume in TheScentofRain&Lightning, and portrayed a teacher in Doctor Who: Rumors of Whispers. Come 2018 you can catch her as a nurse in ICanOnlyImagine, a mom in Wildlife, and a waitress in Dumplin’.
So what’s next for this versatile Oklahoma-based actress who is also the featured speaker at the January 10 OVF Luncheon? “I’ve transitioned into the producing side,” says Melling, “although I’m interested in acting roles that would take me out of my comfort zone.”
That’s saying a lot for the SAG Eligible Actor who is currently juggling seven producing projects while raising five children with her husband, Scott Melling. “I love the creative process involved in both acting and producing,” says Kristen. “But I like that there’s constantly something to work on with producing.”
“The process is a lengthy one,” she says. “Right now it’s a matter of getting the development funding to turn the cameras on before we can move forward.”
Since Melling has a corporate background, she knows about fundraising and balance sheets and pie charts. She also knows that filmmaking is good for the economic development of Oklahoma. “The thing to remember is that, in any film, you’re employing multiple people, not just actors. You need food services and lodging. You’re hiring electricians, seamstresses, financial clerks, supervisors, and transportation companies. There are so many different aspects as we help bring revenue to the area.”
“Too, there is the whole issue of tax revenue. Tava Maloy Softsky, the Director of the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, will be speaking with me at the OVF luncheon. She knows all about the tax issues related to filmmaking in our state.”
While Melling may not be a tax expert, she combines her acting and producing expertise with another quality that is just as valuable: She lives in a state of gratitude.
“Got to play a nurse today in a feature film,” said Melling on a Facebook post. “Starting 2017 off doing what I love with people I love working with. Excited for this new year.”
And in another post, the actress said, “Great day! Always a good time when filming. Blessed. Grateful. Doin’ what I love. Surrounding myself with great people and learning constantly.”
Along with gratitude, Melling has fortitude. Of a recent job in Stroud, Oklahoma, she wrote, “You gotta love what you do when you drive 2.5 hours to have a call time starting at 9:00 pm with a 12 hour turnaround. Happiness is being on set.”
“I enjoy what I do, and that keeps me going. If I didn’t have film or theatre in my life, that would feel like a void. I’ve always loved theatre and the arts so it’s in my blood. It’s something that I must do.”
“Tava and I have film projects we’d like to bring to Oklahoma. Along the way we want to increase awareness for the arts and entertainment and help make Oklahoma a hub for successful business opportunities and productions.”
Kristen Melling, Emmy award winning director Bradford May and Tava Sofsky in Los Angeles .
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Adele Beasley is the Director of Kitchen 66, Tulsa’s Kickstart Kitchen and program of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, where she supports food startups of all stages by connecting them with resources to launch and scale their businesses. Adele's career is centered around food business and entrepreneur development. Prior to starting Kitchen 66, Adele founded and operated a bread business, Heavenly Bread Co. in Tulsa, OK and was recognized as Tulsa's Civic Entrepreneur of the Year. Adele has also served as Consumer Brands Analyst for Stripes Group, a growth-equity firm based in NYC, NY. Adele graduated from New York University with a concentration in Food & Entrepreneurial Studies.
Adele currently serves as the Vice President of the Oklahoma Business Incubator Association as board member of The Oklahoma State University School of Culinary Arts.
As the year comes to an end I want to thank everyone that has made 2017 such a successful year for OVF! We are blessed with dedicated members and at the end of the day it’s the relationships we form that can make big ideas a reality for the Oklahoma startup community. In the new year I look forward to the opportunities we will have to learn from one another, foster relationships, and explore new opportunities!
In January we kick of the new year with a Speaker Series program focused on the film industry and its impact on economic development in Oklahoma. We have a great lineup of presenters including representatives from different areas of the film and entertainment industry. This is a Speaker Series event you won’t want to miss.
Our first OVF after hours event in 2018 will be on February 20th at DC on film row. We will be joined by Neal A. "Chief" McCaleb who is an American civil engineer and Republican politician from Oklahoma. A member of the Chickasaw Nation, McCaleb served in several positions in the Oklahoma state government and then as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs under President George W. Bush. Mcaleb will discuss how businesses can work with Tribal Governments.
One of OVF’s most impressive contributions to the Oklahoma Business community is the Venture of The Year and Most Promising New Business awards. This biennial award is one of the most prestigious awards granted to Oklahoma ventures and businesses. Each nominee or application is reviewed with much scrutiny to determine the most qualified recipient.
Applications for the 2018 awards are now available on our website. Please remember to apply or nominate a business you feel is deserving of one of these honored awards. Applications are due Jan 26th and the awards will be presented at the OVF awards luncheon on May 9th at the Oklahoma History Center.