Stephen Pruitt, Professor of Finance for the Bloch School at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, holds the Arvin Gottlieb/Missouri Endowed Chair of Business, Economics, and Finance.
Dr. Pruitt has an interest in film-making. He referred to this interest as, “a mid life crisis that ran amuck.”
He first became interested in film while making a music video. During the music video shoot, he had an epiphany and wanted to make a movie.
Dr. Pruitt’s desire to make a movie resulted in his first film titled “Works in Progress”. “Works in Progress” was written in 2008 and 2009. Editing was completed in 2010.
The film played in film festivals across the world, including Hollywood, according to Dr. Pruitt. The poignant romantic comedy may be released on DVD this fall.
Currently, Dr. Pruitt is working on a film titled “Terminal”. Dr. Pruitt wrote both “Terminal” and “Works in Progress” with his wife, Mary Pruitt.
““Terminal” is a movie about redemption,” Dr. Pruitt said.
The main characters are Aaron Stearns, a district attorney played by actor Andy Garrison and Kara, who does not have a last name at this point, Dr. Pruitt said. Kara is played by actress Talai Liccardello, from Denver.
“Kara is a street-wise young woman on the run from the law,” Dr. Pruitt said.
Garrison is a former UMKC Roo. He graduated in 1991 with a MFA from the Arts and Sciences department. He is also a former Advisor for UMKC’s U-News, according to Garrison.
Dr. Pruitt expects “Terminal” to be a success. “We are doing the best ever…this is going to be the best film ever shot in Kansas City,” he said.
Most of the film is shot in a Brookside home owned by a former UMKC Roo, whose name was not released.
There are also scenes that have been and will be shot at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, American Jazz Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
“Terminal” is being shot with the “best camera in the world,” Dr. Pruitt said. “…the RED One has been used in Hollywood productions and cannot be purchased in Kansas City, Missouri. I bought it from California.”
According to www.blog.christian-movie.com, the RED One is approximately $25,000. That price does not include the tripod or lenses.
“Terminal”, which took two years to write, is expected to be completed by the spring of 2012.
Dr. Pruitt stated he loves being a professor. But would he give instructing up to be a successful writer, producer and director? “Absolutely,” he said.
“The biggest challenge of making a film is the long hours,” Dr. Pruitt stated. “I’m here 12 to 15 hours a day. I’ve lost 12 pounds in a week and a half during the production of “Terminal”.” He also admitted to losing more than 20 pounds during the production of “Works in Progress”.
“Filming is incredibly stressful,” he said. “It is worse than getting a Ph.D.” Along with the long days on set and stressfulness, Dr. Pruitt said making a film is very expensive.
“It cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said. Expenses range from renting the house in Brookside where most of the film is shot to props, hair and makeup, camera operators, actors and everything in between.
Editing the film is where Dr. Pruitt finds the most entertainment.
“Editing is the best part. When you edit, it’s like piecing together a big puzzle, and there’s so many different ways you can put the pieces together,” he said.
He does not edit the films himself. He works closely with an editor.
Hard work, dedication, time and a lot of money are being put into this “labor of love.” The big question is: will it pay off?