KHS graduate finds career in bright lights
Ray Mansfield grew up as a Kingwood boy. However, early on he knew he wanted to be in the entertainment and media world. Where it would take him he did not know. Today he finds himself thriving in Hollywood and his future is bright.
Mansfield has built up more than 15 years of professional experience as an entertainment production and finance specialist. His experience includes overseeing various aspects of over 100 films and raising more than $150 million in production and distribution financing. It has equipped him with the insight and expertise necessary to understand all components of filmmaking, from creative conception to packaging, financing, production and distribution.
Mansfield was born in Bayonne, N.J. and spent the first nine years of his life in New Jersey. His parents, Raymond and Pat Mansfield, moved the family of six (twin brother Neal and older sisters Jennifer and Carlene) to Kingwood in 1986 following a job transfer with Exxon. It was at Kingwood High School where Mansfield first began pursuing the lure of the entertainment industry. He credits several teachers at KHS as playing an influential role in encouraging his passion for entertainment and media and helping shape his future; particularly, Mills, his theater arts teacher, and Hollis, in speech and debate.
Mansfield’s interests manifested themselves in high school projects. If there was an opportunity to do a video for an assignment, he always took it. He said, “I made a music video with another student named Lin Oeding for a class project and we had so much fun making it. Lin now has a very successful Hollywood career doing stunts for major high budget A-list studio movies and is a director, so it’s funny to look back at that experience to see what a great time we had and the creative choices we were already making at that time.”
A different media education experience presented itself when Cynthia Calvert, then chair of the journalism and communications department at Lone Star College-Kingwood, (now the publisher and CEO of The Tribune) helped him land an internship at a radio station for a semester where he learned how radio works.
Calvert remembers Mansfield well from his days at Kingwood College. “I am so proud of him. He was a shy guy when he landed in my class. But he was serious about film and I am so proud to have helped nurture that,” she said.
Following graduation from Kingwood High School and a year of courses at Kingwood College, Mansfield enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a degree in radio-television-film in 2000.
Following graduation, Mansfield found himself going to California.
“My first job was as a director of photography on a feature-length documentary. I was totally underqualified for that role, but talked my way into it, which is a recurring characteristic for me,” Mansfield said.
He sent out hundreds of résumés and worked every networking angle he could. He went to lots of meetings, lots of interviews and eventually was offered a mail room position at a management/production company called 3 Arts Entertainment.
From that first job in a mail room he began to build his career, one that now spans many different parts of the industry. Mansfield has been involved in film production as well as production and distribution financing. He spent several years working with Bernie Mac and Steven Greener at 3 Arts Entertainment, receiving credits on 20th Century Fox’s television series “The Bernie Mac Show” and feature films “Mr. 3000” and “Guess Who.”
In 2004, Mansfield left 3 Arts Entertainment to work independently and began to establish himself as a successful, independent producer. He produced behind-the-scenes documentaries, animations and short films for studio DVDs. His work on 2005’s special edition two-disc “Donnie Darko Director’s Cut” was awarded the distinction of “Top 10 DVDs of 2005” by The Hollywood Reporter.
“I really enjoyed working for myself and producing films and media, but I realized that I did not have a comprehensive understanding of the finance and distribution side of filmmaking, so I focused on finding a job with a company that would further that education,” he said.
Mansfield received that education and experience at a management/production company, The Collective, from 2006 to 2009, where he worked in the motion picture finance and sales division.
In 2010, Mansfield, along with industry veteran Shaun Redick, launched a film financing and production company. The Movie Package Company (MPC) has a diverse portfolio of businesses, including strategic alliances with multiple entertainment funds and private investors.
Several years later he made a big change. “In 2014, I started talking to my friend Sean McKittrick, a successful independent producer and a founding partner of the production company Darko Entertainment, about combining our resources and skills. We had worked together on projects over the years, but thought we could create and grow a company together. Eventually it made sense and we launched QC Entertainment in 2016,” he said.
Mansfield describes it as a one-stop solution entertainment finance and production company. “We develop, physically produce, finance productions, handle sales and distribution and everything in between,” he said.
QC’s first feature film, “Get Out,” is a current box office phenomenon and cultural talking point. Many industry people are putting it on their short lists for The Oscars, even though this movie season is only halfway through its year.
QC’s second film, “BAND-AID,” produced with an all-female production crew, premiered in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival this year and has an 85 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is currently in theaters.
Away from the office, Mansfield spends his time with his wife, Courtney Kemp, a Texas native, and their 3-year-old son, Emmett Kemp-Mansfield, which means a lot of building and playing, reading books, bike rides and donuts. Kemp was also a student of Calvert’s and eventually was a full time reporter for her.
“Starting a family has made the biggest impact on me in my adult life. Having a son with Courtney is the most growth I’ve felt emotionally and psychologically in my life. It’s helped me appreciate my parents better. It’s helped me understand people in general better. It’s helped me connect more clearly with my own emotions, and shed light on what a truly incredible upbringing I was fortunate enough to have. It also helped me in my career, as I feel a deeper connection to life and the human experience, which feels like the underlying key to telling an engaging story,” Mansfield said.
From Kingwood to Hollywood: for Ray Mansfield, it is truly a dream come true and only getting better.