SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Running a small business takes grit, even in an industry — documentary filmmaking — which many people consider fun, cool, and possibly a touch glamorous. Lisa and Kirk Wolfinger ought to know. Twenty-five years ago, they took the plunge and started Lone Wolf Media in South Portland. Launching such an uncertain entrepreneurial venture was a big leap for a married couple. They had to support themselves and their kids, and they had just one client.
“I was taking care of four small children,” Lisa remembers. “We had an editing room off our kitchen, which was a nightmare. I couldn’t keep the kids quiet as our editors were working and Kirk was working upstairs.”
Over the years, Lone Wolf has seen its profits rise and fall and rise again, sometimes because of the economy, sometimes because of changing tastes in TV storytelling. Trying to maintain a steady flow of work was challenging, especially since the Wolfingers were based in Maine.
“Yeah, we’re not in L.A., we’re not in New York,” Lisa said. “That matters less now, but certainly when we started 25 years ago that was an issue. We had to go on the road and meet with clients and remind them we existed. So that’s been a struggle.”
The Wolfingers and their employees have traveled the world, producing more than 200 hours of documentary TV episodes for PBS, History Channel, Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic, and more, on subjects ranging from science to history, exploration to true crime. As they celebrate 25 years in business, they’re proud of the stories they’ve told, the talent they’ve nurtured, and the team they’ve built.
“I’ve got a whole cadre of people here who are terrific,” Kirk said. “I want to see them keep going. And if this Lone Wolf thing goes and makes it to the 50th anniversary—which I will not be here for—wow, that’d be cool.”
To learn more about Lone Wolf Media, click here.