Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in entertainment but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Abijeet Achar, founder of Pineapple Cut Pictures, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I own Pineapple Cut Pictures, an Atlanta-based production company that includes narrative films, commercial vignettes, and music videos. Our mission is to shed light on underrepresented narratives, to give a voice to those who need it, and to take charge of creating a culture of equality within the independent film industry.

Tell us about yourself

I was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. My family and I immigrated to the US in 2004. My creative endeavors started in theatre my freshman year of high school. In my junior year, I missed a cue in a play, and one of the drama teachers decided to blacklist me from the program. Needing something else creative to do, I joined the broadcast video production program. Drama and Video had this weird beef. Like, "I'm the higher art form." So I joined, and I loved it. It was something I thought I was sort of good at, and I had a lot of fun doing it.

College came around, and in a diplomatic move to compromise with my parents, I majored in business management and minored in film studies. I figured I could become a producer. I was taking these intense business courses, but they were balanced out with my film studies courses. I was also freelancing in Atlanta, shooting music videos, concerts, and some corporate live event gigs. But at the start of my senior year, the management degree was taking its toll on me. My grades were slipping, I was pretty depressed, I couldn't connect with my peers, and I was on the verge of losing my scholarship. I decided to switch my minor to my major. In 2013 I graduated with a BA in Film studies. Since Film Studies focused on theory and history, I decided to pursue an MFA to gain a formal education in a production-focused program.

In 2013, I went straight from UGA to Emerson College in Boston to attain an MFA in Media Art. It was during my MFA studies that I decided to hone in on cinematography. I graduated in 2016 after completing my thesis film, "My Indian Rhapsody," which went on to be a runner-up in the Student Academy Awards and had its world premiere at the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival. After graduate school, I moved to Los Angeles for an internship at Michel Gondry's production company, Partizan. I lived there for four months and was immediately humbled. LA brought me back down to Earth, and I got a taste of the traditional ladder system of Hollywood. I tried to land a job for months with no luck. However, in the fall of 2016, I was offered a job as the touring cinematographer for an Atlanta-based country musician, Corey Smith. I took the job, packed up, and the universe brought me back to Atlanta. I got to see the entire country, and it was an amazing experience. During my off time, I started Pineapple Cut Pictures with my partners. In January of 2019, I quit touring and focused on Pineapple Cut full time. And I've been doing it ever since.

Experiencing that mental strain as an immigrant and watching your parents endure, it really sticks with you. And it doesn't get talked about enough. I suppose that's my angle for wanting to tell these underrepresented stories. No one really knows how hard that was. No one really knows what my parents went through to get to where they are. We all live in a bubble. And my company wants to pop those bubbles and let a mainstream audience gain some perspective. Whether it's for immigrants, BIPOC's, LGBTQ+, or female-driven narratives, we need to tell those stories. Especially in our polarized society, we need those stories now more than ever. We're all really hungry for representation.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Off the top, our biggest accomplishment was winning three regional Emmy’s in 2019 for our artist vignette series that aired on GPB (A Georgia subsidiary of PBS). That was great and gave me quite the edge in two truths and a lie. But day-to-day, our companies victory is each time we wrap a production, and the crew tells us, “that was one of the best shoots I’ve been on.” Wow, what a win. When our team has fun, feels included, and is well respected, we’ve done our jobs as a production company. Yes, we want to tell an important character-driven narrative, but we also want to put our practice of empathy and mutual respect into our production days.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There’s a lot of hats to wear. Starting out, you’re pretty wide-eyed with your head in the sky. But you’re quickly sobered with the many facets of running a business taxes, annual registration, insurance, book-keeping, workers comp, amortizing assets, marketing, legal contracts, etc. It can all be really overwhelming at first, and I was doing a lot of it early on. But the biggest advice I can give is to start delegating these tasks out to professionals as your income increases. Yes, it costs money. But you’re gaining something far more valuable: time and opportunity. You can put that extra time towards things that bring you joy and what you’re probably damn good at. In turn, you have more opportunities to make money.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Choose your business partner wisely. Be very transparent and bullish with your goals. Treat each other with honesty and respect. They are your business spouses.
  2. Have a business plan and operating agreement. In this business plan, set long-term goals and outline short-term goals on how to achieve long-term goals. In the operating agreement, have a very clear exit plan if a partner chooses to leave the company or you decide to dissolve/sell the company.
  3. Have a very clear brand and ethos that’s genuine. There are lots of companies like yours, so what sets you apart? Not sure how to come up with this? Hire a marketing professional to create a brand, logo, mission statement, and social media presence.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Have something to say. Do this for the right reasons. Things are bleak at the moment, be optimistic. Work-life balance is important. Find other things that bring you joy, and make time for it. Don’t ignore your family, friends, and partner while being an entrepreneur. Reschedule that meeting, make time for you.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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