Last week HC Helsinki released its first ever promotional video and though some of us had felt a little nervous in front of the camera, the whole shooting process itself was very exciting and fun. This is all thanks to our talented video producer Tommi Kokko, who not only professionally handled all the technical side of shooting a video, but also waded through lots of blooper footage afterwards to create our much-loved end product. Read on to find out what else this modern renaissance man has been up to and what his friends think of him.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hiya! My name is Tommi and I am a media producer, luthier and musician. I love music, movies, video games and am completely addicted to Youtube. Basically I create videos for Youtube, design and build guitars, and I make music in varying different styles and genres.
What are you most passionate about in life?
My real passion is creativity above all things and in all things. I love to create content for Youtube on a multitude of different channels and working and collaborating with as many different people as I can. I also really want to show the power of creativity to all the people I can - I started from having nothing, and with sheer determination, I have been able to achieve so many things I am proud of.
What are your most important achievements so far?
Some of the things I count as great things I’ve achieved personally have been mostly collaborative efforts. Everything basically snowballed when I made a participation video for Devin Townsend Project’s song “Lucky Animals”: I made an entire music video for the song with 30 minutes of improvised filming and 30 minutes of editing, right after hearing the song for the first time. Clips of my video ended up in the actual music video for the band with a bunch of other entries, which was epic (to say the least)!
That is more of an important achievement for IndiEstructible Productions though. Personal achievements have also included working at Crimson Guitars in England for a couple of months and keeping a freelance video editing position there since; being a part of Devin Townsend Project’s Universal Choir (myself along with 2000 -ish fans singing on one of their records); acting in a few advertisements for different companies (Beeline, DNA, Sonera, and Sharetribe); making the first full-custom prototype guitar for IndiEstructible Production; and in general every time I’ve got to work with some other content creators.
Photo © Tommi Kokko
What are the 3 words your friends would use to describe you and why?
I actually asked some friends to answer this and was told that I'm dependable, because you can pretty much come to me about anything or any favour, and I will always try to do what I can to help out. Same applies to plans made with friends, I always stick to them. Also, ask me to do something really stupid and I will more than likely do it, if there will be a camera present and it would make good video. I'm also determined/hardworking, because I really do strive to work to best of my abilities and at maximum capacity (I’m also told I work too much, haha); and thirdly, loyal, because my friends really do mean the world to me and I will always stand by them and be there to support them through anything.
Personally I have to give bonus points first to having great friends who had such nice things to say (after first making a joke or two) and to so many friends who described me as 'ginger', and one person also called me a 'lovable-idiot'.
Tell us about BloodBlind and what's your role in it.
BloodBlind was a metal band that was looking for a frontman/vocalist a little while back (and still unnamed at that point). They liked my style and I got the 'job' after an audition and call-back. So now I am in charge of all lyrical content, promotion, gig booking, art style, and of course vocal duties.
You also had your first gig recently, how did it go?
Yes we did! It was part of the first round of an international band competition, called the Emerganza Festival. Even with a BIG technical hiccup, we thought we did pretty good. We didn't proceed to the next round as we were only vote away, but even so, we couldn't be happier, because it was our first show and all the feedback we got from the audience and all the other bands was absolutely incredible. Never mind the position in the competition, hearing that we really did play really, really well, from bands who’ve been playing together for so much longer, made it worthwhile.
Photo © BloodBlind
What is the idea behind IndiEstructible Productions?
The idea behind IndiEstructible Productions came from my love for video production and guitar modification. I used to repaint and carve guitars and make videos out of my projects. This quickly evolved into much more: first I started doing bigger modifications to old guitars, putting in LED lights and different woods and cool paint jobs and so on. Then I started working on full customs, creating my own guitars from start to finish and, of course, I filmed a full video series of each guitar built.
But that’s only the guitar building side of IP. Then there’s the media side of things, which started from the very same “Lucky Animals” video I mentioned. I was asked to make a music video for a Helsinki rapper, Gbag, which went really well and he then hooked me up with making videos for Fanta Finland Official’s Facebook summer campaign that involved making short video clips doing “tricks” with Fanta bottles. That again led to another music video for Gbag's “Hell City", some video production teaching, a special Halloween video for Crimson Guitars, two different full animations for an American company called “Prediction Valley”, filming lectures and promotional material for Zakisome, and now the promotional video for Her Campus at Helsinki as well.
What are some of the things you need to take into consideration when producing e.g. promo materials for others?
Really, almost always I forget that most people aren’t that used to being on camera. I’ve been doing this stuff properly since 2007 and before that, I loved doing school films for different classes. So basically I need to remember to actually do some 'directing' as well, which I actually do enjoy quite a bit, because I try and do it in a way that's more informative than just telling people what to do.
When it comes to editing, I aim to keep steady contact with the client in question, taking in comments and really collaborating to make the end product the best possible fit for the client and their image. I don’t like to dictate how things should be, because I see myself as a way, or as a tool of sorts, for the client to get the product they want. Of course, if the client does want some really 'extravagant' edits or things that will hamper the actual impact of final video, then I will make different suggestions on how to build upon or improve on the video.
Creating HC Helsinki's video must have been quite different from what you've produced before. What was the process like?
It was different for sure, but that is what I love. I don’t really want to settle into making a set type of video, because that gets repetitive and boring over time. I always want to try new things and challenge myself. With the Her Campus video, the main challenge was getting clean audio in a big library that echoes and has a lot of people walking about. So most of the time, we were just waiting around for other people to stop walking. Everybody was really easy to work with and I barely had to do any kind of directing. There was a lot of line repetition, but that’s pretty standard no matter what you’re filming.