Featured Filmmaker ~ Kevin Otterness

Kevin Otterness

Zacuto Films presents Featured Filmmaker: Kevin Otterness. As with many young filmmakers, Kevin became interested in the art of filmmaking after watching Star Wars in 1977 at the tender age of seven. In fact, minutes after leaving the theatre with his father, he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. "My Aunt Linda introduced me to the 8mm film camera that year," says Kevin, "and I created short animated films using my Star Wars action figures."

From animated short films premiering in his family's living room, Kevin began the long and tumultuous journey to becoming a Producer, Director and DP in independent film, music videos and documentaries. Additionally, Kevin paid his dues in television where he created and produced "Technical Difficulties Television" a weekly MTV-style entertainment program which ran for seven years and received national recognition.

Kevin Otterness frames the shot for Dave Sills

In his music video directorial debut, Kevin Otterness frames the shot for Dave Sills "Life Without Love." Produced by Brian Tedeschi.

Kevin, what do you love about the film industry and the filmmaking process?
While directing is my passion, I love every aspect of filmmaking – directing, shooting, editing, lighting, etc. I believe that to be a smart, successful director, you need to know it all. I wanted to learn and understand how everything works so that one day I could knowledgeably direct my crew and be a great director. I also love the fact that filmmaking allows me to tell a story. As an independent filmmaker, I can tell a story exactly the way I envision it to be – the one I would go and see in the theater. And if others like it, then I will have done my job.

How do you balance being a DP and a Director on the same project?
Being a DP allows me to be visually creative in the way I can tell a story. There are so many unique ways to capture a scene, and I like to present a shot or scene from a point of view that people may never have seen before. For the most part, when I agree to direct a project, I also end up being the director of photography. I simply love it! It’s a lot of work, but I love the challenge.

DP Kevin Ottterness shooting actress Dana Froula

Director & DP Kevin Ottterness shooting on location in West Chicago with actress Dana Froula.

During the Dave Sills shoot

Dave Munson slates the first shot of the day while the Dave Sills band warms up.

Kevin Otterness films actor Joey Bicicchi

Day 3 On Location as director Kevin Otterness films actor Joey Bicicchi.

Adding to his film industry credits, in December 2010, Kevin was lucky enough to score an acting role as an FBI agent in Michael Bay's Transformers “Dark of the Moon,” which was filmed in Chicago, IL. In addition, he has been cast in Steven Soderbergh’s new film “Contagion” also shot in Chicago. "I've never seen myself as an actor," says Kevin, "But I believe it helps me as a director and my ability to understand where the actors are coming from when on set."

Music video produced by POSTHOUSE PICTURES. Dave Sills "Life Without Love" shot entirely on the Canon 7D. For a list of cast & credits, visit vimeo.com.

The MAKING OF Dave Sills' "Life Without Love" music video, produced by Brian Tedeschi, directed by Kevin Otterness and filmed by Kim St. Aubin. The music video was shot on the Canon 7d in the western suburbs of Chicago. For more information, visit vimeo.com.

Kevin Otterness Bio

Kevin OtternessKevin Otterness got his start in the film business at age 7 when his father took him to see "Star Wars" in 1977. Walking out of the theatre, Otterness knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Today, Otterness owns and operates CINEARTISTS and POSTHOUSE PICTURES, two independent production companies. He produces and directs independent films, music video's and behind-the-scenes documentaries, and his clients have benefited from his artistic camera work and editing talents since 1994.

Prior to branching off on his own, Otterness worked for a local public access station, where he created and produced one of the most successful cable access television shows in the country, "Technical Difficulties Television." TDTV was a weekly entertainment program known for its high-energy, edgy, MTV-style approach to entertainment news in and around the Chicago area. The show ran for seven years and won several local and national awards.

Throughout his career, Otterness has built an impressive resume that has earned him recognition for his work as a Director of Photography with a fast paced editing style, and ability to make small-budget projects look like million-dollar productions.

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12 Responses to “Featured Filmmaker ~ Kevin Otterness”

  1. Phil on January 21st, 2011 1:38 pm

    My apologies for saying this but this video is very college film schoolish. It does have most of it in focus but you can very much see the limitations that the 7D gave you while makeing this. I think artistically it feels like you had to sacrifice making interesting shots for playing it safe because of the camera. The song is pretty decent but I did not feel inspired by this shooting or editing.  

  2. Kevin Otterness on January 21st, 2011 4:14 pm

    Thank you Phil for your honest comments!

  3. John Novotny on January 21st, 2011 9:05 pm

    Interesting piece, love the video. Looking forward to seeing more from Kevin.

  4. Peter on January 21st, 2011 10:03 pm

    Great effort.  Does the job nicely.

  5. Michael Murray on February 10th, 2011 7:45 am

    What??? Phil knows not what he speaks of!! For someone to generalize about a shoot/camera he must have some sort of grudge against Canon.  Be specific if your going to criticize. Great job Kevin.

  6. Steve Weiss on February 10th, 2011 11:46 am

    I agree, Phil does not know of what he speaks.  I like the video and the song.

  7. Kevin on February 10th, 2011 12:19 pm

    Hello Michael, Thanks for your comments! Not everyone is going to like my work. It’s a hit or miss in this business. My next video I’m releasing on March 8th is the complete opposite of Dave Sills “Life Without Love”. Some people will like it for the song, some will like it for the visuals…and others may not like it at all. One thing I don’t do is play it safe. I really like a challenge when it comes to any production I work on. Once again thank you for your kind comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the video! 

  8. Kevin on February 10th, 2011 12:24 pm

    Thanks John, More stuff is coming!!!

  9. Kevin on February 10th, 2011 12:24 pm

    Thank you Peter!

  10. Justin Marx on February 15th, 2011 10:46 am

    Who is that Phil guy? Your video looks great.. What a rude generalization of someones work without anything to back it up..

  11. peter on November 1st, 2013 4:57 pm

    Theres one critic and everyone jumps on him, as hes the devil. I didnt like it that much aswell. You do see the missing information in that footage (drums, sky, guitar-strings) – details lost. Not to mention the vignette. :) But its style, and not everyone likes it so critic is fine. Thats making films.

  12. peter on November 1st, 2013 4:59 pm

    And the grading… 3:35 – 3:38