We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirk Hensler and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kirk, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve been running a production company, Hale Productions, for years. When covid hit, all of our shoots were wiped and our revenue went to literally $0. It made me realize how exposed we were to future shutdowns and fluctuating economies.

At the same time, we’ve always tried to run our productions in more efficient, stream-lined way. Traditional sets can be unwelcoming, stressful, and not very budget friendly. That’s when I had the idea to build something completely automated and turn-key – Influence Studios.

Influence Studios is the first ever turn-key production studio available for rent. We pre-styled and pre-lit 12 sets to cover a range of product and lifestyle content needs. We have a full kitchen, coffee bar, bedroom, bathroom, living room, product table, 14′ cyc wall, home office, white brick wall, zen space, and flex space.

The thought was- let’s build a Disneyland for content creators.

Executing the idea took some time and planning. It was a multi-faceted project.

For starters, you’re an interior design company that has to build sets so stylish and on-trend that people will pay money to shoot in them.

On top of that, you’re a production studio that has to light the sets well enough to produce turn-key commercial content.

And then, you’ve got to be a software company – integrating the lights with the app that runs them, and building an automated website that lets people book their sets and services just like they would an Airbnb.

We’ve taken some lumps along the way, but, overall, we’ve accomplished everything we set out to do.

We’ve just begun the process of launching Influence Studios now. We’ve already had Fortune 100 companies rent the space for multiple days to shoot commercials. The best part, though, is that we’ve also had independent photographers renting the space for 1 or 2 hours at a time to capture content for their clients. We’re able to cater to both ends of the production spectrum because of the time we spent building the space with an automated approach.

Once you book – your confirmations, access codes, lighting tutorials, and virtual tours are all automated and delivered directly to your inbox. All you really have to do is show up and shoot.

As companies need more and more content with smaller and smaller budgets, our studio concept will become the best solution. And, if we face another lockdown type situation, independent shooters will be able to access the space solo and maintain their livelihoods.

No one can predict these things for sure, but we think this is the future of content creation.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I own Hale Productions and Influence Studios.

Hale is a full-service production company that shoots commercials for digital ads. We work with companies like Manscaped, Coyuchi, Chosen Foods, Ripple Foods, Birch Benders, The Good Patch, SmartyPants Vitamins, Baby Tula, and Boochcraft.

Influence Studios is the first ever turnkey production space that is pre-styled and pre-lit so content creators, influencers, and agencies can capture content without the hassle and expense of a traditional shoot. You can just show up and shoot. And it’s bookable by the hour.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Early morning surf at Tourmaline in PB.

HIIT class at F45 in North Park.

Tacos at City Tacos.

Dinners at Herb & Wood, Trust, Market, Wolf in the Woods, and Piacere Mio.

Drinks at Fernside if my visitors are drinkers. I’m not, but Fernside is cool enough to be out and not drinking.

Bike ride to Bird Park in North Park to watch sunset. Another sunset at my secret beach in Coronado.

Then probably ask them to leave because I’ll be socially exhausted.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a pretty once in a lifestyle book. It talks about the difference between being professional and amateur. And the different thoughts, behaviors, and focuses of amateurs and professionals. Basically, it taught me to do the work and be excited about the work, not just thinking about it and talking about it.

I’ve also worked with some great mentors that have helped me recognize the benefits of being grateful for what I have. I’ve spent a good portion of my life angling for the next thing and never being satisfied. A man named Charlie set me up with a little exercise – a few minutes thinking about what I’m grateful for, a few minutes remembering nice events from that day, and a few minutes reminding myself that I am healthy, generous, and kind. Sounds strange and not inherently beneficial, but it’s taken me from being constantly stressed and working 70 hours a week to having 2 successful companies and enough time for all my hobbies and people I care about.

Website: influencestudios.com

Instagram: rent_influencestudios

Other: TikTok : rent_influencestudios

Image Credits
headshot credit – Rachel Tate influence studios credit – Hale Productions

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.