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Local production studio sees increased demand, could be a good sign for the economy

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 10:11:04-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Innovation is the mantra of 8183 Productions, a full-service video production firm in Kansas City, Missouri.

It moved into its new headquarters near West 24th and Holly streets a month before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world.

The coronavirus forced the group to create new ways to work while being safe. Sending live feeds of their work to remote locations, wearing face masks, encouraging vaccinations and rapid COVID-19 testing while on set are some of the new norms.

“Like most creatives, we’re able to find innovative, different ways to push through,” Natalie Cordray, an executive producer at the firm, said.

The innovative approach continued this summer when 8183 Productions became the first studio in the region to combine a Phantom slow motion camera with a robotic arm to create “eye candy” seen in music videos and commercials.

Despite COVID-19, demand for 8183 to produce advertising has only increased. The firm added new directors, visual artists and photographers, allowing it to extend its reach to the coasts.

“Business could not be better,” Cordray said. “It’s been a bit overwhelming.”

What's overwhelming for Cordray could be a good sign for the rest of the economy.

Economists said when companies spend money on advertising, people buy more things. When people buy things, companies hire more people. When people have jobs, the economy does well.

“Now the question is how do we train people in which their jobs no longer exist, but there are new roles available for them? Kind of upscaling or re-scaling into those roles and showing them there is value in that,” Niki DaSilva, manager for programs and policy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said during a presentation in Kansas City earlier this month.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce reported KC’s economic recovery during the pandemic overall has gone well. Unemployment is at 3.6%, nearly down to pre-pandemic levels of 3.3%.

Economist Frank Lenk said things look promising going in to 2022, with healthcare and retail sectors expected to grow the most. But Lenk warned finding people for for a record number of job openings will be the challenge next year.

“One of the things that gives us hope is the intentional connectivity and partnerships between business and our high schools,” Angelique Nedved, director of school quality at SchoolSmartKC, said. “Right now, the KC area has an initiative out there called ‘real world learning.’ It gives our students an opportunity to see themselves in a position eliminating that phrase, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’”

8183 sees a future with growth all over Kansas City.