Jo-Jo the Dog Films has worked to establish the company by harnessing commercials as a key revenue stream, but hopes to develop more feature film projects in the future.
While offering a diverse range of media production services from photography to web and graphic design, much of Jo-Jo the Dog Films’ work is focused on producing TV commercials and other video content. These projects are often delivered with tight production budgets and Joonas is well practised at producing content this way. The company has a strong client base serving businesses in the Kemi-Tornio region, but also in Haparanda in Sweden. Tornio is located on Finland’s border with Sweden and is twined with Haparanda on the Swedish side.
Attractions of entrepreneurship
Joonas studied Media Arts in Tornio at Lapland University of Applied Sciences. Projects running in the university encourage and support students to get involved in entrepreneurship. This allowed Joonas to test ideas and the flexibility of working for yourself appealed. He explains: “They wanted to encourage people to start their own companies…and the school gives a lot of support…There were also practical reasons…it started to feel quite natural because I liked that I could make my own timetable”. Joonas began working as a sole trader in 2010 and established Jo-Jo the Dog Films in 2015. In the longer term he hopes to focus the company’s work more strongly around feature film development. Joonas also has experience in film directing, producing, editing and screenwriting. He has produced numerous short films and his first feature film Bunny the Killer Thing was released in 2015.
Bunnies are not cute and cuddly when created by Jo-Jo the Dog Films. Bunny the Killer Thing originated with a short film. This gory, comedy horror won an award in the ‘Madness’ category at the Nocturna Madrid – The International Fantastic Film Festival. The comedy horror genre has not been well explored in the Finnish feature film scene to date and Joonas has hopes the film might yet take on new life: “It was something that was not made before, with that kind of a film there’s a possibility in the next 10 years… you never know…it might have a second life as a cult film”.
As a one-man company, there are many challenges Joonas must manage. Working with other creative professionals who share complimentary skillsets is important to effective delivery of the projects that Joonas works on. He taps into networks both locally and nationally to provide for example sound services or contracts freelancers to help with larger projects too much to tackle alone. In particular getting time to promote the business and future plan can be challenging: “Most of my time goes to doing the work of the business, not advertising or thinking about the future, even though it is important…I can’t be as smart as I should be, I can’t think as far away as I should”. But Joonas makes the most of seasonal lows to catch up on this work.
A move east
Until very recently Jo-Jo the Dog Films was based in Tornio, Northern Finland. But to focus more on feature film projects Joonas recently moved the business to Sotkamo in Eastern Finland. His clients for commercial projects are still concentrated in Kemi-Tornio where Joonas has strong networks. It also has a positive business culture as Joonas explains: “Everything is simpler in many ways…compared to big cities. I prefer that, I like that way of living, doing and working”.
Joonas has a number of film projects in development and looks forward to building on his experience to generate new audiovisual content.