“Try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity.

Take up the battle.

Take it up.

It’s yours.

This is your life.  This is your world.

I’ll be leaving it long before you under the ordinary set of circumstances. You make your own choices. You can decide life isn’t worth living, and that would be the worst thing you can do. How do you know, so far?

Try it. See.

So pick it up. Pick up the battle, and make it a better world.

Just where you are.

Yes, and it can be better, and it must be better, but it is up to us.”

–Thank you, Dr Angelou.

“Maya Angelou” Oprah Presents Master Class. OWN, 2011.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who came out last month to hear Annetta Marion and me talk about show running and directing. We had a blast sharing our stories with you.  Thank you New York Women in Film and Television for supporting women calling the shots!  Special thanks to Roz Murphy and Duana Butler for organizing the event at such a lovely space.

KOK and Annetta Marion, October 25, 2018. Photo: Katrina Medoff


This Thursday, October 25, I’ll be speaking with my friend and colleague Annetta Marion about directing and show running for nonfiction television.  For more information, see below.  It’s nearly sold out!

This intimate conversation between director/showrunner Annetta Marion and director/producer Kathryn O’Kane will highlight the unique roles and creative inspirations of directors and showrunners who bring stories to life on screen.  The discussion will give a behind ­the­ scenes look at the craft of filmmaking, explore culture and creativity in their body of work, as well as allow these producers to share their passions for the work, both on and off the screen. Read More

Becoming the Showrunner of a Netflix Food Series

Host Samin Nosrat and DP Luke McCoubrey. Liguria, Italy. 2018.

When I was 13 years old, part of my allowance came from preparing dinner for the family once a week.  This corresponded to my mother returning to work that same year, so it helped her to have a night off.  I loved it, in part because it meant that I didn’t have to do the dishes, a loathsome duty for the rest of the week.  That summer I also had a steady babysitting gig. The oppressiveness of Tidewater heat and humidity made it impossible to stay outside for very long, so the kid and I were often cooped up indoors with the AC on and the shades drawn. But the mother had a stack of Southern Living magazines filled with beautiful photos of recipes both traditional and fancy.  From those each week I’d develop the menu and add ingredients to my father’s grocery list, which he bought without question. My mother remembers the first dinner – meatloaf roulade with a swirl of broccoli and cheese.  Armed with Jacques Pepin’s step-by-step illustrated cookbook, La Technique, I tried my hand at choux pastry, and voilà, my first cream puff swans were born.
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This summer Mellini Kantanyya and I returned to #SummerHours, a series about fun books, movies, and television shows by or about women.  The series is running all summer long on the New York Women in Film and Television blog.  Below are excerpts of my book picks, which are memoirs of NYWIFT Muse honorees.  You can click on the links to read the full postings.  Be sure to check out Mellini’s picks in her category “BingeWatch-Worthy Comedy Picks.” 

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Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs

Stanley Kubrick for Look magazine, Rosemary Williams, Show Girl [Kubrick photographing Rosemary Williams], 1949 ©SK Film Archives/Museum of the City of New York

I have been a fan of Stanley Kubrick for nearly as long as I have been a fan of movies.  Dr Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Shining top the list for me in that I can watch them over and over and find some new delight in his dispassionate storytelling, dramatic soundtracks, and the aggressive symmetry of his composition.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for Turner / Monica Schipper

Earlier this month I attended the TBS-sponsored panel “Women on Top,” a discussion of how comedy is emerging as a power for change and how specifically Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is channeling this power.  Samantha Bee has managed to harness a rage that many women and men feel about current events, a perspective that women traditionally have not been allowed voice publicly.  Bee said, “Women have always been told that rational thought is the most important – not emotional intelligence.  Full Frontal pierces that and feels intimate and real.”

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Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo speaks at the bill signing of the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” at City Hall, May 9, 2018.

Yesterday was a full circle moment — to be present at City Hall for the bill signing of the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act,”  a comprehensive package of legislation strengthening New York City’s anti-sexual harassment policies and combating sexual harassment in the workplace.  Last month the City Council  passed 11 bills that will expand worker protections and improve transparency about harassment in city government— some of the toughest harassment protections in the country.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at the bill signing of the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” at City Hall, May 9, 2018.

With the swiftness that the issue demands, the research and the passage of these bills has progressed rapid through local government in the wake of the #metoo movement to shine a light on sexual harassment and predation nationwide. The council members acknowleged that every new revelation of harassment and assault is a failure of the City to protect its most vulnerable residents.

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