In the hot deserts of Baja California, a wall of dust engulfs a crowd of spectators who have come to watch the annual Baja 1000 off-road desert race. Thirty feet above the roar of the racing trucks and billowing clouds of dirt, Producer/Director Kevin Puotinen is strapped to the side of a helicopter, capturing the race in all of its glory. For most, standing on the landing skids of a helicopter flying at 100 miles-per-hour would be considered a harrowing task, but for Puotinen it’s just another day on the job.
Ready, Steady, Go!
Kevin Puotinen’s self-start production company, Antarctica Productions, officially began operating in early 2005. Though his days now consist of a variety of exciting projects, in the past they weren’t always to be desired. “For awhile it was pretty much anything that would allow me to gain experience,” says Puotinen, “but now it’s really turned into working on quality content that I enjoy.”
Shooting the Baja 1000 is just one of many projects Antarctica Productions has completed in the last year. In addition to the Baja 250 and Baja 500 races, Puotinen was swamped with shooting and editing ad campaigns for California governor candidate, Meg Whitman; web promos with Sylvester Stallone; a short film starring Jon Lovitz and Ken Davitian; and base jumpers leaping off snowy peaks in Utah to promote Clearwire’s Rover, a pay-as-you-go 4G mobile broadband service. Needless to say, Puotinen has been keeping busy. “I’m a one man band on a lot of my own personal projects, but I’ve been trying to step away from that and bring in crews. That way I’m able to produce better content, while working with people I can trust to get the job done right.”
Take it in Stride
Though Antarctica Productions is now off the ground and running at full speed, establishing a new production company didn’t come easy. “School didn’t really prepare me to run a production company,” says Puotinen, “It taught me how to produce, shoot and edit – things like that – but it didn’t teach me how to chase after work, how to build a client base, how to balance a checkbook properly or how to pay employees. A lot of that I’ve had to learn on my own.”
Despite the occasional hurdle, Kevin Puotinen and Antarctica Productions continue to truck forward. With his eyes set on the future of his company, Puotinen is turning some attention towards television. Currently, he is working with a company that is gearing up to launch a new television network. “It’s based on health and wellness, so positive stories – stories that influence people and change the way we look at television today. It’s truly amazing and I’m very excited about it.”
Give and Receive
When it comes to personal sacrifices, Puotinen says owning a production company “does come with a price, but it’s very, very rewarding at the end of the day.” One could only assume that the rewards he speaks of might include the opportunity to direct an action scene with Sylvester Stallone and the chance to sit down with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to discuss the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland, which Puotinen has described as being the highlights of his career.
“People say, ‘I could never work in the film industry,’ but there are so many different jobs. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. It’s very hard and you’re going to have to work on some projects you don’t want to work on. But, do the best job possible, and know that it will probably lead to something else,” says Puotinen. And lastly, “Take care of yourself, make sure that you’re happy. And love it; this is a great industry with a lot of fun to be had.”
Julie Babcock is Videomaker‘s Associate Multimedia Editor.