A 30-something German who has been living in NYC since 2015, Jean Pierre Kathoefer – ‘JP’ – works in the tech world and is an avid motorcyclist, videographer and community-builder. With a passion for motorcycles – he owns a 2012 Suzuki DRZ400 and a 1978 Yamaha SR500 – JP spends much of his free time riding street, dirt, and adventure. He runs a YouTube channel and an Instagram feed to highlight these motorcycle adventures and projects.
JP will debut footage from his latest series -- ESCAPE IN THE CITY - Women riding motorcycles in NYC -- at Motos and 'Moving' Photos : NYC, March 21 at Filipacchi. Episodes will feature Alessandra Recine (@alessandra_milena), Anna Jonynas (@annajonynas), Katie Tom (@_katlan) and Scarlett Großelanghorst (@scarlett_redfox).
Read our pre-interview with him:
Jean Pierre Kathoefer in Death Valley
The creative process, from having an idea to having something released -- doesn’t matter whether it is an Instagram story that’s only available for 24 hours or having a screening with people onsite -- is always a journey, is always different, and it can be very intense sometimes.
1) Having seen some footage from your latest project – ESCAPE IN THE CITY - Women riding motorcycles in NYC – the series seems to be an intimate portrayal of moto lives both on and off the bike. The clip we saw shows local Miss-Fires rider Alessandra Recine, both on the bike and at home, making puttanesca sauce - tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic - in her kitchen. What inspired the series and how did you choose who to profile?
New York City is a place where you can meet the world … It’s full of different nationalities, cultures, skin colors, from all over. And that is for me the beauty of the city. It’s a colorful mix of super interesting people … and you find that in the NY motorcycle community too. That is what I want to share with my audience.
The project ESCAPE IN THE CITY - Women riding motorcycles in NYC focuses on the personality of each person profiled. Every episode will show a completely different character with a different focus. But all of the women share the same passion for riding motorcycles.
2) Did you know the subjects all quite well beforehand, and if so, did that help with the level of comfort they had while shooting?
I knew some of the subjects more than others. Each episode was kind of a process before we actually started shooting. I tried to find what makes each woman special and interesting. If you’ve known the person for a while, you mostly have that answer already. With people that I didn’t know that well, I had to work that out with them together. This was a great journey and very interesting.
Mentioning comfort while shooting … this is my main challenge and what I consider myself good at. The subjects need to forget about the camera, and it is my job to make them comfortable talking while I’m filming. They are all not professional actors, and they are all not used to be interviewed. Without reaching a level of comfort, subjects do not show their true selves, it won’t be natural, and the audience will feel it. And to keep the audience watching the full episode, the characters need to be interesting.
3) Stepping back, what prompted you to start a moto-related YouTube page and how long have you been a ‘Moto Filmmaker’?
I just recently stated calling myself a ‘Moto Filmmaker’. It took me a while to find a niche that I wanted to focus on. I started making videos when I moved to NYC in 2015 and have been focussed on moto-related content since 2017.
4) What topics have you tackled to date through your films?
The beauty of this hobby is that I can decide what I want to do and when I want to do it. The creative process, from having an idea to having something released -- doesn’t matter whether it is an Instagram story that’s only available for 24 hours or having a screening with people onsite -- is always a journey, is always different, and it can be very intense sometimes. I force myself to learn something new every time I start making a new video. The creative potential and options with access to YouTube tutorials and having New York City as a playground is unlimited!
I tried out different styles of video content over the last few months, like short movies, love stories, documentaries, reviews, interviews and commercials. I am not really focused on a specific area, but it does need to be moto related.
johnnypuetz YouTube page
Without reaching a level of comfort, subjects do not show their true selves, it won’t be natural, and the audience will feel it.
5) What equipment do you primarily use to film … seems like a combination of GoPros and handheld cameras?
Yes. My main camera is a DSLR (Canon 80d), a GoPro and my iPhone. I believe that the storytelling is way more important than the gear. But you should shoot with the best gear that you have access to. I used to shoot drone footage too, but I am very good in crashing them.
6) I have to ask … where did your Instagram tag ‘johnnypuetz’ come from and what is its significance?
Yea, that confuses a lot of people. . My real name is Jean Pierre. I was born and raised in Germany. Back home, we had a famous TV chef with the name Jean Puetz. Some of my friends used to call me Johnny when I was young, and then they combined Johnny and Puetz. And, voila, ‘johnnypuetz’ was born. It stuck around as my internet nickname.
7) Did you train as a filmmaker or are you self-taught?
I’m self-taught … and the YouTube tutorial has been my mentor. When I moved to NYC, I saw one of (YouTuber) Casey Neistat’s videos and bought myself a GoPro. Since then, I have tried to improve my filmmaking skill level.
8) How long have you been riding … and with all the experiences you’ve had on and off-road … do you have a favorite?
I have ridden all my life. I prefer riding off-road, but in general I love to ride anything that has two wheels. Riding around town on my ‘78 Yamaha SR (if it’s working), being on a big GS in the desert, or riding on a rental electro scooter to meet friends … any kind of riding brings a smile on my face.
9) You’ve filmed a lot of ‘shorts’. Any ambition to put together a longer feature?
I do like making shorts because that keeps the effort to produce something manageable for a one-man production team. Sometimes I think it would be great to work with a whole team and produce a longer feature. Maybe in the future. Let’s see …
10) What else do you have coming up in terms of film subjects?
I have a few projects that I am currently working on, including a documentary about Gee, a guy from New York, riding at Dakar the first time. Also, I will ride cross country this year. The route that we will taking is called the TransAmerica Trail. It’s almost completely off-road. We are currently working on the film concept.
Additionally, I will continue to partner with different video moto creators. That is a great way to collaborate and learn from them. I’m pretty sure fooling around with NYC’s best-known Moto Vlogger, DucatiNYC, will continue this year as well.
Jean Pierre Kathoefer on his Yamaha SR500 — Geoff Barrenger
Riding around town on my ‘78 Yamaha SR (if it’s working), being on a big GS in the desert, or riding on a rental electro scooter to meet friends … any kind of riding brings a smile on my face.
Jean Pierre Kathoefer debuted footage from his latest series ESCAPE IN THE CITY - Women riding motorcycles in NYC at Motos and 'Moving' Photos Night, March 21 at Filipacchi. You can view more of his work on YouTube at: or follow him on Instagram at: . | johnnypuetz.com
Jean Pierre Kathoefer — Mark Squitieri