Spotlight on Film Alum Kevin Atkinson
Kevin Atkinson hasn’t let a global pandemic slow his creative ambitions. Amidst the shutdown, Kevin signed on to the indie feature “Shoot the Rooster” starring Judy Greer and Henry Winkler. The production crew shot exclusively from home and sent cameras out to the actors across five states. As the cinematographer, Kevin made each scene work creatively over Zoom during the eight-week film shoot. After production wrapped on Shoot the Rooster, Kevin worked as a DP on numerous TV projects for ABC, CBS and Netflix. Kevin says he is grateful for the steady work as the film industry bounces back from COVID. His personal motto has always been to “never turn down work” while staying true to who you are as a filmmaker.
During our video interview for the upcoming Spotlight Awards (over Zoom, of course), we put Kevin’s DP skills to the test. Kevin knew exactly how to capture each shot using only his iPhone camera and a WiFi connection. Minimal tech equipment didn’t stop this veteran DP from filming his interview in the most professional manner. COVID has made Kevin a natural when it comes to filming over Zoom. We asked Kevin to share how he became interested in the film industry and what projects he’s worked on throughout this career.
From Majoring in Anthropology to Discovering Cinematography at The L.A. Film School
Kevin Atkinson’s journey to cinematography is a circuitous one.
Growing up outside of Santa Cruz, California, Kevin played outdoors as a kid and paid little attention to television. His parents didn’t allow TVs in the house, but ironically, they ran an independent movie theater in town. As a teenager, Kevin started watching foreign and art house films at his parent’s theater. Kevin’s interest in the arts developed slowly, and he didn’t pursue his passion for cinematography until his early 30s. Long before he moved to Los Angeles to work as a DP, Kevin studied anthropology before switching gears to cinematography.
As a student from the inaugural class at L.A. Film School, Kevin made short films and learned how to operate film cameras in the early days at LAFS. He fell in love with filmmaking, and after graduation, Kevin found his niche in comedy sketches at Funny or Die with fellow alumni Oz Rodriguez, Matt Villines and Matt Mazany. Each job he landed led to slightly bigger jobs in the industry. Kevin’s big career break came from his DP gig on Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later with an all-star ensemble cast that included Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks and Paul Rudd. His most recent DP work includes the Detroiters, Alone Together and Bless This Mess. Kevin lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two young sons.
Welcoming Kevin Atkinson to The Spotlight Academy
Want to follow along Kevin Atkinson’s journey? Watch the Spotlight Awards on Thursday, September 2, 2021, to see Kevin get inducted into The Los Angeles Film School Spotlight Academy!