Podcasts. Movies. Books. If it’s a creative pursuit, chances are good that Kenny Scott Guffey is doing it.
The Adair County native has published one book, “For Delilah: An Unexpected Journey,” hosts the “Beam Me Up” podcast, and owns his own production company. He’s already made one film, “BOONE: The Vengeance Trail” and is currently working on a “Night of the Living Dead” remake.
He credits his daughter, Delilah, for his ambition, saying he “never did anything at all worthwhile” until she was born in 2018.
“It’s like ‘What are you doing with your life?’” Guffey says. “How can I tell her she can do anything she wants with her life if I never could do what I wanted? I just want to leave a good legacy for her. I can’t cure cancer, unfortunately, but I can make some movies and write some books.”
Young and aimless
After graduating from Adair County High School in 2007, Guffey “didn’t do anything,” to use his words. After slacking about for a year, he started working at FiveStar in Columbia, a demanding job that offered little pay or upward mobility.
“I’m not downing it because everyone who does that job works hard and should make more than they do,” he explains. “It just wasn’t something where I could excel or go anywhere with it. To go from that to where I am now is pretty cool because I had some hard nights there.”
In 2014, Guffey moved to Pulaski County, where his wife Tiffanie was from. He got hired at a Somerset accounts-receivables company, EOS, where he still works.
“That’s what pays the bills,” Guffey says of his day job. “My filmmaking and all the other stuff, that’s not for the money and it’s not how I make a living.”
Guffey was on a better path, at least professionally, but he had a creative itch that was unfulfilled.
“I always wanted to make movies, and I always wanted to write books, or at least a book,” he says. “I just didn’t know how—didn’t even know where to start. I’m kind of weird, and I’ve always written notes, but that was only for me, kind of like a journal just to get it out of my head.”
A newfound surge of ambition was on the way, however, whether Guffey knew it or not. In 2018, he and Tiffanie had their first child, Delilah Rue.
An unexpected challenge
Baby Delilah was born on Aug. 27, the culmination of what Guffey describes as “a very smooth pregnancy—no issues, no complications.” The new parents, however, were in for a delivery-room surprise.
“My wife was on that last push, and the doctor asked us, ‘Did you know that she has a cleft?’” Guffey remembers. “We had no clue. It had never been picked up on an ultrasound.”
Delilah was born cleft affected, with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. The parents and baby quickly traveled from the hospital in London to the University of Kentucky, where Delilah stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for the first week of her life.
The resilient young infant was an inspiration to her father. Overcome with a love he had never felt before, he turned to writing.
“After we brought her home, Tiffanie and I were taking turns getting up with her during the night,” Guffey says. “I was up with her one night, very late, and I just started writing down some thoughts I was having, just typing notes on my phone.”
Writing about himself, his life, his love for his daughter, the sentences flowed like a river, a mighty stream of memories and emotions. Effortless and laborious all at the same time, he was thoughtful and calculated with his words, but he never struggled too much to find them.
“This was like mid-September,” Guffey reminisces. “Before I knew it, I had written a lot. It was like, if I write much more, it would be like a chapter of a book.”
This one late night with his daughter, with this one spark of motivation, lit the fuse for the creative explosion that followed.
A new author
While Guffey says he had always harbored fantasies about writing a book, he had never taken the first step to make this dream a reality. Once content with the reasoning that he “just didn’t know how,” he soon realized that particular excuse was no longer true.
“I discovered that you can’t look at it like you’re going to write a book—it’s just overwhelming to think about that way,” he says. “Just complete a chapter. That’s all you’ve got to do, and then you complete another chapter, then another.”
The memoir came together quickly using the one-chapter-at-a-time approach. The content was all-encompassing.
“I started writing about my life, growing up in Columbia, up through my marriage and her being born, which was still very fresh on my mind,” Guffey says. “I wrote about everything up until the day we left the hospital with her at UK. That’s what my first book covers.”
By August of 2020, Guffey had written, edited, and published the book.
‘Beam Me Up’ and branching out into new media
Completing the book only emboldened Guffey’s creative ambitions. A lifelong movie buff, he started his podcast, “Beam Me Up Scotty” on May 1, 2020. Just more than two years later, he’s already completed four seasons of episodes.
Guffey later shortened the name to “Beam Me Up”—removing his name as a way to share more of the spotlight with his co-hosts and guests.
“I wanted to focus on the other guys who are on it, as opposed to just myself,” he says. “As the seasons have gone on, we’ve added more people to it.”
While most podcasts are born and die within just a handful of episodes, never finding a voice nor an audience, Guffey was diligent in his approach. He recorded episodes every week, only scaling back to every other week once his filmmaking duties became more time-consuming.
One of the reasons Guffey found success in podcasting was his ability to attract notable guests, the list of which is long and objectively impressive:
Dave Sheridan (Officer Doofy from “Scary Movie”), Diane Franklin (Princess Elizabeth in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”), Muse Watson (the fisherman killer Benjamin Willis in “I Know What You Did Last Summer”), C.J. Graham (Jason Voorhees in “Friday the 13th Part VI”), Allen Danziger (Jerry, the van driver from the original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), and Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”) have all been featured guests.
“That makes it sound like a horror podcast, but it’s really not,” Guffey says with a laugh, insisting that topics cover all genres. “They just seem to be the ones who are the most welcoming about coming on.”
Actor Trevor Lissauer, who played Miles Goodman in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” appeared on the second episode of the first season, and became a mainstay a couple seasons later.
“He and I enjoyed the interview and we stayed in contact and stayed friends, so when we started season three, I asked him to join us full-time,” Guffey says. “He actually does every episode with me.”
The podcast is currently on hiatus following the fourth season but will return for the fifth and final season of episodes in September. Guffey says he’s looking forward to directing more of his focus toward other pursuits, particularly making movies.
Perhaps ironically, it was “Beam Me Up” which laid the groundwork for the foray into cinema.
‘If you want to make a movie, you can make a movie’
The eclectic, talented, and well-connected guests on “Beam Me Up” became Guffey’s friends. These frienships soon led to opportunities to work on films. As luck would have it, Guffey discovered an independent filmmaker almost right in his backyard, Jake C. Young.
“I met my partner, and he lives in the same town as me. How cool is that?” Guffey says. “This is a guy who has made films before! Now we’re like best friends.”
Guffey worked with Young to produce “BOONE: The Vengeance Trail.” After one whole day of contemplation, BayView Entertainment picked the film up for a distribution deal, which Guffey fully admits was “very exciting for us.”
“They haven’t given us a release date yet, but it will be out in a couple months on streaming and DVD,” he explains. “We just signed the contract last month.”
The duo’s second collaboration is already in the works. They’re currently shooting “A Night of the Living Dead,” a remake of the 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead.”
While there are certainly obstacles for independent filmmakers that studio-backed productions never face, Guffey has embraced the do-it-yourself nature of his work.
“Here’s the thing: If you want to make a movie, you can make a movie. Literally nothing is stopping you,” he declares. “It really worked out well with Jake because he has most of the equipment. When we first started working together, I was like, ‘Make me a list of what we need, and we’ll go from there.’ So we got mics and all kinds of stuff.”
The financial hurdles are just another way for Guffey to flex his creative muscles.
One way he found to drum up money was through crowdfunding. He used indiegogo.com to help fund “A Night of the Living Dead.”
“You basically say how much money you want, and offer the opportunity for people to donate in exchange for maybe a credit on the film or a signed poster or something,” he explains. “You can get a little funding that way.”
Another cost-saving measure is using unknown, local talent. Guffey says this route creates tremendous opportunities.
“As for actors, you really have to utilize what’s available—you’re not going to get Leonardo DiCaprio, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he says. “Luckily, here in Somerset, we have Flashback Theatre Company, and we’ve got people who are quite talented who want to do projects like this. Most of our actors have been local; that’s a goal we had when we started. Another thing that does is make it more likely for the community to rally around your film because they know and support these people.”
Leaving a legacy
Guffey has no idea what the future might hold. Right now, he’s looking forward to finishing his current movie and completing the final season of his podcast.
He’s also still written a second book, which is currently in the editing stage.
“Shortly after I finished the first book, I started writing the second one, but I didn’t realize how much content I’d have for it,” he says. “The second one covers Delilah’s corrective surgeries, and it also goes into the podcast and writing the first book and working on some films.”
The ambition Guffey discovered that night in September of 2018, staying up late to take care of his newborn baby, has not wavered. He hopes to one day leave his production company to Delilah.
“It would be awesome for that to be hers someday,” he says. “I want to leave a legacy she can be proud of.”
To accomplish his goal, Guffey believes he should show his daughter how to go after something she’s passionate about and not be swayed by external incentives.
“When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a filmmaker and I always wanted to be an author,” he says with a matter-of-fact nonchalance. “I’m doing it. No, it doesn’t pay my bills, but money is just a byproduct of success; some people confuse that. I look at it like this: If you want to do something, and you’re doing it, then you have made it.”