Video production

KatDog Studio music video production puts KC on the map

The team that worked on the “Forlorn” video for The Devil Wears Prada. // Courtesy of KatDog Studio

Kansas City Video Production Company KatDog Studio has a regular customer in the Myspace era pioneers of metalcore, The devil wears Prada.

A film partnership between Christopher Commons and Kate McFerrenKatDog Studio formed in 2018 after the pair were hired to work on a video for former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley.

They found they worked so well together that they continued to do so, and thus, KatDog was born from the merger of McFerren’s first name and Commons’ former brewery project, Bourbon Dog.

“[Commons] is the cinematographer, and then I go up. And these are our strengths. We both go into co-directing, designing and producing together. It’s a pretty yin and yang, because Chris knows a lot of video production crews in Kansas City and I’ve been in the modeling industry here commercially,” McFerren says.

The duo were first introduced to TDWP through a friend from Commons Josh Barbiera music producer, in the fall of 2020.

“He was working on their album, ZII, which came out this summer, and said, ‘hey, these guys are recording for their album here in my studio, and they want to do a live stream. So I got in touch with their manager, and they said, ‘Hey, is this something you can handle?’ says Commons.

The band were pleased with the fan reception to the stream and returned in early 2021 to do a second with KatDog Studio instead of a canceled touring schedule.

Commons and McFerren asked the band if they wanted to do a music video while they were in town as well. Enthusiastic about the idea, TDWP sent in some suitable songs.

The group chose “Forlorn”, the second track of ZII, and a heavily distorted denunciation of the state of the world in times of pandemic. Commons and McFerren assembled a team of trusted local professionals to help with the filming.

TDWP published the finished product on YouTube on May 21, and it has since garnered over 247,000 views.

KatDog Studio has been brought back to develop the Video “Sacrifice”which fell on September 29.

“I think one of the most exciting parts of this whole process was that we were able to put together a full branding strategy. So we did a live stream, we did a trailer of album for their album and a music video for the release,” says Commons. “We were able to work side-by-side with their photo campaign. From a branding perspective, it’s really cool to have all press items that visually match and have a very unified look and feel.

A music video typically takes a few weeks to plan, develop and shoot, followed by an additional two to three weeks of editing, depending on the nature of the project.

“We like to say we’re like ‘a commercial standard with independent effervescence. Like, we want to create really good commercial quality work that you would get with people who have a lot of money, but we want to do it creatively, with a lot of creative flexibility,” McFerren says.

Commons and McFerren are working to make KC an off-the-beaten-path destination for the music industry, and they have a compelling case to offer.

“We can just stretch budgets and make your dollar go further,” McFerren says. “There’s not a lot of money in the music business right now, and it’s getting tighter and tighter every year with streaming and so on. So if we can save you 1,000 $ doing the project here in Kansas City versus LA or Chicago, so yeah, let’s do it.

McFerren adds that local businesses are generally keen on letting KatDog Studio film a set on their property, and that the Midwest in general can hold particular appeal for artists looking to get away from the same three California cities.

“Our goal is always that the people we work with or hire have a good experience and that the atmosphere is fun to work in. It’s not like a cut throat or anything like LA can l It’s very laid back and our customers know they can get that Midwestern experience, but without sacrificing quality thanks to the talented teams we have in Kansas City,” says McFerren.

KatDog Studio has also worked with other top content creators such as the Tik-Tok star Anson Seabra, who had gone to high school with McFerren. They seek to continue this collaborative effort as far as necessary.

“When we meet clients, we have the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. And that’s literally how we produce and how we design and everything. We just have opposite brains – he thinks about framing and lighting. And I’m thinking about the general story arc and the acting. And so when we’re directing on set, we’re both looking at what the other person isn’t, which I think makes the product overall great, because we have two minds that think so differently while working on it,” McFerren said.