Location Managers Guild International

Fall 2019

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) is the largest organization of Location Managers and Location Scouts in the motion picture, television, commercial and print production industries. Their membership plays a vital role in the creativ

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LMGI: THE NEXT GENERATION BY PAUL MESSANA PAUL MESSANA: Where were you born and how did you get started in locations? MILES BEAL-AMPAH: I was born in Los Angeles. I got started in the Location Department in September 2015 on Season 3 of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. PM: It's well known that your father, Kokayi Ampah, is a legend in our profession. How did his career impact your own journey into the Location Department? MBA: My father's legacy gave me the gift of positive name recognition. "Ampah" isn't a typical last name. There have been many times where I'll introduce myself to a location manager and hear, "Are you related to Kokayi?" I'm amazed by his career and grateful to be an extension of that legacy. His credits speak for themselves, but I'm equally impressed by the personal testimonies from colleagues about his integrity throughout his career. I'm proud of the many fellow location brothers and sisters that he mentored throughout his career—including me! PM: With that, did you feel any pressure from your father's legacy to follow in his footsteps? MBA: In the beginning of my career, I was intimidated about doing the job while having my last name. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do justice to my father and there was a bit of insecurity around my early projects. I always wondered if managers were hiring "Miles Beal-Ampah" or the "son of Kokayi." At this point, I've worked on enough where I'm secure in my own competence. However, that self- applied pressure certainly made me work harder because I never wanted to be that cautionary tale about nepotism. What I've learned is connections will get your foot in the door but won't keep you there. Longevity and reputation are the true metrics. PM: Where did you go to school and what did you study? MBA: I attended the University of Houston (U of H) in Texas. I competed in track and field while studying organizational leadership and supervision (management and logistics). I attended U of H for 2½ years and eventually dropped out because of the rising costs and increasing debt. From there, I went directly into the workforce where I spent the next three years employed in different fields. Between being a server in restaurants, selling timeshares, modeling and working in a hospital as a sterilization tech, I gained a lot of real-world experience that inadvertently prepared me for this career. Initially, my father was apprehensive about my career in locations. At the LMGI Awards when he won the Lifetime Achievement Award, the running joke from his peers was "Your dad must not like you!" when they heard I wanted to work in the Location Department. I moved back to LA and worked in sales for about a year, while reaching out to people I met at the LMGI Awards hoping to get an opportunity. Coincidentally, I received my first offer to day play on a show the day after I'd received a promotion from my sales job. With that came a comfortable salary plus incentive bonuses. I asked my father what I should do. He said, "The smart move would be to stick with your current job and take the promotion. However, if you're really going They're young, smart and enthusiastic about what they do. In this occasional column, assistant location manager Paul Messana, a genXer himself, talks with the upcoming generation of location professionals on the rise. PROFILE ON: MILES BEAL-AMPAH AGE: 28 HOME BASE: Los Angeles, California POSITION: Key Assistant Location Manager tt

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