The Office at APU: An Interview with Kate Flannery

by Christy Gazanian '07

On Wednesday, March 14, approximately 40 guests lined the walls near Darling 413 on West Campus. An excitement and jitter filled the air as these guests, most of whom were students, awaited the arrival of actress Kate Flannery, who plays Meredith Palmer on NBC’s hit show The Office.

One might wonder what in the world Kate Flannery would be doing in APU’s West Campus studio on a Wednesday night - an Office star at APU? The answer to this question lies in the creation of an entertainment network called Hollywood Press TV, developed by Cinema and Broadcast Arts (CBA) students and alumni. exists online and acts as an active venue that seeks to break into the world of entertainment.

Through the creation of Hollywood Press TV, Steve Patterson, APU alumnus, contacted Flannery, requesting an interview with her at the university. She responded and accepted the invitation.

Hosted by Patterson and David Gaw, also an alumnus, the evening included a pre-show interview with actor and APU alumnus Nathan Blank ‘05. Blank, who is working to break into the industry, had a small part in a scene on an episode of The Office. This engaged and excited the crowd, and once Flannery entered the room, the audience stood and applauded.

Throughout the interview, Flannery carried herself in a very authentic manner and answered questions honestly. A question and answer time followed, where the audience could ask her anything. The advice she had to give to college students seeking to enter the business consisted of “getting specific about what you want.” She said, “It is the hardest thing. As long as you are willing to work a bunch of jobs, it’s worth it.”

After the interview ended, the audience mingled for a bit. Emily Ruelle ‘07, CBA major and associate producer of Hollywood Press TV shared her passion for interviews like this one and the entertainment outlet, “It’s great to find a good group of friends [with these interests], and we’re actually making something happen.”

Blank also shared his thoughts on the night and a nugget of wisdom about his experience thus far in the entertainment business. As a Christian gaining experience in the industry, he shared the importance of “constantly be praying for discernment and God’s hand for direction.” He also spoke about the evening, “It was fun to come back to APU, hang out and see old faces. It was good to be home.”

When asked why she came to speak at APU, Flannery expressed the value of giving back: “When I went to school I got so much out of teachers from New York talking to us. They had the great opportunity to give back.”

Kate Flannery did just this in her brief time on campus. She gave back, and because of that, the next generation of aspiring actors may have gained just a bit more confidence than they had before to walk forward in their dreams.