Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Cloutier.
Kevin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It all started at UCLA. My brother Dave and I were camp counselors at the Alumni Family Camp, and we also started a DJ business. During one of our parties, a TV producer asked us if we would be interested in making up games for one of his shows. We accepted the challenge and spent the next 10 years making television shows during the week and entertaining at events on the weekends. While we worked on dozens of shows, my favorite has to be ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple.’ ‘Legends’ was a kids’ game show on Nickelodeon, with an “Indiana Jones” feel. Kids would answer questions and then compete in a series of games. Each show was topped off with the kids running through a huge temple filled with mysterious rooms and challenges. Dave and I were producers on the show. We created all the games, designed the Temple rooms, and served as the Temple Guards on the show until it ended in 1995.
Some of the other shows we designed games for Survivor, Endurance, & No Boundaries,
Sometime around 2003, we decided to use our TV gaming experience to bring fun and excitement to corporate events. We began developing events that would not only bring people together but would keep them talking about their experiences for years to come.
We have done some pretty amazing things. We have rented out Alcatraz Island, and run a private “Escape from Alcatraz” event with teams actually shackled together, running through the prison. We have designed scavenger hunts and “Amazin9 Race” type events that have taken people on speedboats, trains, and even helicopters. And if you are a Hollywood fan, you will love our “Make Your Own Movie’ event, where groups get to spend the day on the backlot of a major studio actually making their own short films.
As the popularity of our events grew, we expanded our offices to San Francisco, San Diego, and Dallas. We now produce events all over the country and have traveled to several international locations as well.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a new business (not to mention a new spin on an entire industry) is never easy. When we started, corporate team building was often thought of as a bad word. Most people only associated it with trust falls and personality quizzes. We wanted to show people that team building wasn’t something to be dreaded. It could actually be fun.
It took years to get our products out there, so people could actually see what we were doing. Since we were doing something new, we couldn’t just place an ad and get people to respond. To make people understand what we were selling, we needed to SHOW people what we were doing. As the internet evolved, we were able to reach more and more people.
Another obstacle has been incorporating technology, without removing the interpersonal experiences that our events are based on. As technology has advanced, we have been asked to incorporate more and more “gadgets” into our events. The problem is, the more technology you add, the more your participants are staring at screens instead of talking to each other. Recently, we have started a new campaign we call “UNPLUG TO RECONNECT.” While all of our activities still include various technological aspects, the focus of every one of our events is to get people to put their devices down for a couple of hours and actually interact with each other. It is amazing how much people can learn about each other from just an hour of play!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Feet First Eventertainment story. Tell us more about the business.
Feet First Eventertainment is a full-service, entertainment-based, team building and event company. We work with our clients to create events that will exceed their expectations in every way possible.
We are in the corporate event industry, but we see ourselves as a little different than most other companies in our field. Everything we do is based on energy and fun. Once we get people out of the office and smiling, anything is possible. I have seen it happen many times – a group may be skeptical at the onset of an event, but they end up laughing, cheering, and having a great time. My favorite post-event quote has to be, ” I really wanted to hate you guys, but this was just too much fun.”
One of our most popular events is our “Make Your Own Movie” experience. We have developed partnerships with some of the major film studios, which allows us to actually bring groups onto the studio backlots. Teams spend a couple of hours learning about filmmaking and then creating their own short films.
With escape rooms being a new popular trend, we have created various forms of escapes for our clients. We have several ‘traveling’ Room Escapes, where we can actually bring the room to our clients, and they can work through the activity in their own offices. We have also created large group escapes, involving hundreds of people simultaneously working to ‘escape’ a campus or building.
We are also very interested in helping people in any way we can. We have developed many events based on community service and providing for others. For “MichaelCANgelo” teams use canned food to create replicas of famous world structures and then donate all of the food to local food banks.
Another one of our newest give-back events involves building guitars and donating them to children’s music programs all over the state.
Over the years we have donated bikes, wagons, wheelchairs, shoes, computers, and numerous other items to people in need, all over the world.
I am proud of the reputation Feet First has developed over the years. Our clients continue to praise our team members on our ability to bring out the best in every situation. Live events are a tricky business, as most days never end up exactly like you have planned. But we pride ourselves in our ability to change and adapt on the fly, which allows us to make every event a little different and special for the participants.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
No matter what you do in life, or how talented you are, I believe luck always plays at least a small part in anyone’s success.
I feel that I was lucky to be a student at UCLA when I was, as my experiences there led me to starting Feet First. It was during a summer as a UCLA camp counselor that I met the man who would offer me my first TV job. And it was those jobs in television that paved the way to creating games at private events and corporate functions.
I have also been lucky to meet all of the great facilitators and team members that have helped us build Feet First over the years. I have always tried to surround myself with people I feel are even more talented than me. Anyone can print out a list of games to run at a company picnic, but it is our staff that truly makes each one of our events extraordinary.
- Address: Feet First Eventertainment
10736 Jefferson Blvd. #409
Culver City, CA 90230
- Website: www.FeetFirstEvents.com
- Phone: 800-393-3338
- Email: info@feetfirstevents,com
- Instagram: Feet First Eventertainment
- Facebook: Feet First Eventertainment
- Twitter: @FeetFirstEvents
- Yelp: Feet First Eventertainment