We had the good fortune of connecting with Kingsley Igwilo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kingsley, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
To fully understand my answer I’d need to give you a little background on the guy behind the lens. My family and I migrated to the U.S. in 1992 from Nigeria, I was 2 1/2 years old. As cliche as it may sound my parents were on the pursuit of a better life. I can assume the appeal of America was too great to pass up. So as it turns out we settled in Texas, south side of Houston to be specific. Here we were, my 2 older siblings my parents and myself. Both my parents were degree holders and for the most part I came from a 2 parent home with two working parents. If you know Nigerians you’ll know that as toddlers we’re already being coached as to what profession we will study when we get older. And knowing Nigerians your only 3 options were Medical, Engineering, or Law. My parents have always been hustlers in and out of school. My father, in the 70’s played the saxophone in a local band, and was able to pay his way to America. He then earned masters in Industrial Engineering. My mother earned her B.S.N and excelled in Nursing while raising her kids. I always witnessed they’re unwavering pursuit for education as well as the entrepreneurial successes and the comforts it can bring. They showed us the significance of a steady job and job security while simultaneously showed us what is is to have the burn and desire for self employment. I followed suit and made my way into a stable medical career but it wasn’t until my mid 20’s did I develop my passion to produce film and photography. I knew that if I were going to start my own business it would start out as a hobby, something I loved. Something I put a lot of time towards without even trying. I understood that for me to put forward the amount of energy, education, and practice it takes to running my own business I would need to love what I’m doing. I just needed to come up with an idea to fill a need, then a business model.
The birth of an idea began on Christmas day 2016. My then girlfriend and now loving wife and mother of our beautiful baby girl gave me a gift that, at the time, seemed like just a sweet gesture. As I opened up my gifts, I was ecstatic to unveil a few PlayStation games, speakers and a Best Buy door-buster drone. Looking back now, in no way was this “my 1st drone” novelty item going to help me achieve professional success, but she knew I had an interest in drones and it introduced me to something magical. I was like a kid that’s been deprived of sweets in a candy store all to himself. I could of salivated while reading the instructions. I took it out that evening, put it in the air, recorded some footage of the sunset and uploaded it onto my computer. Then I watched my creation, as poor as the quality was lol. And it was at that moment that I realized the pleasure I got from bringing an idea, a vision, another way to essentially convey a message, to life. A way to reach others and allow them to not only embrace whats on my mind, but to show them. With the video/photo software I had I became a student of film and photography. Staying up all hours of the night learning how to compose your shot, the basics of film and photo. I was determined to become the elusive, hybrid shooter. Mastering both film and photo.
After purchasing my 1st Sony camera, a professional grade drone and a stabilizer. The Launch of Visuals By Kingsley came in 2018. A film and photo production company. One thing that was instilled into me as an adolescent and young adult was to keep God first and the importance of hard work. I learned how both work in unison, God helps those who help themselves. To pray for the things you need but also be proactive in achieving those needs. I was told if it is worth doing, its worth doing right. My ultimate goal is to scale my business to the highest level attainable. And for me, that’s being able to produce feature film and photography full time and still have time to watch my family grow. To sustain our lifestyle and still have time for my wife and children. I’ve since produced commercials, personal videos, promotional videos, corporate videos, music videos, and wedding photography and videography.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Just by viewing the 1st or last video of my portfolio you can see my love for aerial video. My passion for film and photography started in the skies.
Maneuvering a drone effortlessly through the air to capture the most cinematic detail is an art in itself. Then composing and introducing aerial video onto your project brings a certain element that is just unmatched. At one point in time studios had to use cameras mounted onto helicopters to achieve such Broll feats that we see today in all aspects of film and TV. Now, we have those capabilities compacted in small drones we can pack into our pockets. My challenge was finding a way to stand out and at the peak of droning I was one of the catalyst here in Houston. in 2019 my drone video was featured as Houston top 3 drone pilots online. Go out and practice, trial and error are the stepping stones of mastering anything. And its no easy feat, at least not a cheap one. Ive had my share of setbacks, like when I was capturing Houston’s then iconic BE Someone sign with my drone and it fell out of the sky to its untimely death. Still got the shot though, so it was well worth it lol. I want the world to know that with Visuals By Kingsley we will push the limits to achieve whats thought to be unachievable. My photos will accentuate the beauty of what you want to tell, and film will help convey what you want and reach a larger audience.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well this is easy, Houston is one huge melting pot. Full of diversity and culture. And as a Nigerian I would definitely suggest ol’ West African cuisine from just about any Nigerian restaurant on the southside. In particular, United Sisters Kitchen on W. Bellfort. After that Id say if they’re up for Mexican food to skip the major chains and check out the majority of Taco Trucks in town. Especially off of Airline. And when you want to turn up, get a stiff drink with nice vibes and an even better ambiance with American finger foods you have the option of many bars downtown, I’d suggest any rooftop bars and grills during spring and summertime. I’d introduce them to many iconic staples of Houston that they have to see before leaving like Graffiti wall and the Gerald Hines Waterwall park.
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?
1st and most importantly God almighty. He has brought me through struggles I wouldn’t of otherwise been able to make it out of. He is responsible for my joy! I’d like to thank my Wife Karyn Igwilo as well as my daughter Kaylee for the continues support and inspiration. Additional thanks go to my sister Francesca Petrie, Dominique Cochise who acted as a mentor, a number of Houston FB photo and video groups and of course Youtube University.
Linkedin: Kingsley Igwilo