We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikhail Tot and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mikhail, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
Well, my background is little bit different from an average “filmmaker”. I was born and raised in Russia. My family was poor, and let me tell you. Being poor in Russia is pretty dang bad. Example: for a long time we had to use an outhouse for “doing the business”. My grandma lived her whole life without ever having a telephone in her house. I was not a huge fan of that.
Anyway, my mom and my birth dad got separated when I was about 7 years old. He was a very famous Russian Radio/club DJ, so it was hard to escape people who always knew who I was. On top of that, he was involved with some sketchy people. After couple of visits from strange people to our house who were looking for my dad, my mom and I started to move, a lot. I switched about 10 schools by 7th grade. She didn’t want me to be like him. She didn’t want me to rely on my father’s fame to achieve goals in my life. She instilled into me the character of being myself, and be confident in who I was.
Since we moved around a lot I learned very fast how to make new friends, how to talk to new people and how to make the best of the crappy situation.
After my birth father was found murdered, the logical step was to mover out of the country. And that’s what brought us to USA. With knowing 0 English, 0 friends and 1 backpack of clothes we moved to New Jersey. It was tough at first, but as years went by I used my people skills to meet people, make friends and learn how to speak English.
Then I went to college, and after graduating I started my own film company (Tot Films Production) and that’s a whole story on it’s own for a different time.
I can honestly say that my upbringing helped me to achieve things that I would never ever dreamt of to do. I hope this is usable and I hope you enjoyed reading this. Thank you for letting me tell my story.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
So my filmmaking journey started back in high school. When I was a senior, my friends and I always threw little garage parties. But the problem was, it was all dudes… and we wanted girls to party with us. (As any horny teenagers)
So I started bringing out my crappy camera and I started making party videos. And the videos were edited in the way that it looks like we had a very good time. Videos got out on MySpace (Yeah, you remember that cite!) and Facebook. People started to come out to our parties and shortly we were throwing bangers left and right. And right there I learned that a good video edit can make anything look awesome.
Many years forward, I started to film night clubs and private events. I filmed everyone from MGK, to Shaq, to Da Baby and many more. I was invited to film VIPs at music festivals and other fun events.
But my main passion is actual narrative films. I been doing shorts and features for many years now. My goal is to land a next big feature, with an actual hefty budget. My team and I are currently writing one right now. And we are very excited for it.
I have a team that I trust. We moved to Atlanta, GA together to achieve our dreams as filmmakers. We all work together and that’s the most important thing.
It’s not easy, but if it was easy everyone would do it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh I love this. This how it would go if my friend came to visit me in Atlanta for a week.
(I have many friends visit me, so I’ll just give you an example of what we usually do)
Here ya go:
Day 1 – Karaoke bar (Dark Horse or moon dog)
Can’t sing? Don’t care. Come listen to me yell in a microphone.
Day 2 – Tacos all day.
Day 3 – An underground Rave
Day 4 – Rest (Maybe do Coca Cola Factory Trip)
Day 5 – Day drinking while tubing on a lazy river ( I assume it’s summer)
Day 6 – More Tacos
Day 7 – Handing out by the pool and being hung over
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?