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Stephens English professor creates new world in upcoming web series

January 9, 2014


Sometimes when Kate Berneking Kogut, assistant professor of English/Creative Writing, talks about Daffodil Township, you forget it’s a made-up world.

She knows the history, the town secrets, who’s who in the community. She knows the town’s seven parks, six primary businesses and all about the annual event that’s the backdrop of the first season of her new web series.

Kogut is writing, directing and producing a new online series about a Missouri community gearing up to benefit from global warming after the town psychic predicts the community will someday become coveted oceanfront property.

“American Riviera” will unveil the history and future of the fictional town through a variety of media.

With the help of Assistant Film Professor Steph Borkland, Kogut filmed the first season of the web series this summer, and the series should start appearing online in the coming months, although pieces of the program are already online. The main website can be found at daffodiltownship.com and will soon include a link to the town’s faux newspaper and Facebook and Twitter accounts of some of the main characters.

“This project really allows me to explore a variety of storytelling techniques,” Kogut said. “And by exploring them myself, I’m better able to teach my students how to take advantage of all of the communication resources out there.”

Her English students aren’t the only ones who are benefiting. This summer, she let film students help on the production side; and she’s teamed up with a faculty member in the Integrated Marketing program to assist with the community newspaper.

Kogut, herself, will contribute as the voice of the psychic—who is never seen in the series—and Columbia resident Paula Carter stars as the town’s acting mayor.

“It was irresistible,” Carter said, referring to the opportunity to be involved. “This is a perfect format—it’s so accessible.”

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