Pinhead Tattoo's making its mark in reality TV

Oct. 29—LOCKPORT — Tattoo artist Cyle Hoffman has started a new venture — his own reality TV show focusing on his tattoo shop Pinhead Tattoo and Piercing — which he says will be available for streaming in early November.

Hoffman said the show, "My Tattoo Story," is intended to emphasize a more realistic depiction of a tattoo and piercing business. He feels that other reality TV shows have over-simplified or over-dramatized what goes on in the field. Hoffman wants to showcase a more work-focused end of things with himself and his apprentice Cecelia Price. Hoffman has been especially interested in showing their abilities in covering up scars with tattoos.

"There are a lot of tattoo shows that are put out that over-exaggerate how tattoo shops are run," he said. "They make it seem like tattoos are super easy to do or you can get a huge body piece done in a day which is unrealistic. We want to make a show that shows what we do, and how much time and effort we put into our artwork. We want to show what it's like on a daily basis, the type of clients we deal with, as well as how difficult it can be to make the client happy and comfortable."

Hoffman's wife, Sara, is also the main camera operator for the show. Partial focus in the show will also be given to her costume making, which also goes on in the shop. Cyle has been impressed with her camera work especially considering she's had no prior filmmaking experience.

Price, the apprentice, has only been working at Pinhead for two months, and got her license for being a tattoo artist two weeks ago. She was hired by Hoffman after he saw some of her artwork on display at an art festival. Some of Price's art can be seen hanging on the wall in the tattoo parlor.

"There's going to be a lot of aspects of art, not just tattoos that will be in the show," Cyle said.

He has been trying to get the show pitched to streaming services for two years.

On two separate occasions he tried unsuccessfully to get the show pitched to Netflix. Now the show has been picked up to be streamed by Amazon Prime, Tubi and Roku. Cyle said that these services picked up the show because the concept had originality and rawness to it. He particularly credits the charm of setting Lockport as the backdrop for the show. The sizzle reel he put together even has a montage showing several Lockport landmarks like the Bewley Building, the Palace Theater, and the office of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal.

"Originality was what it mainly came down to," he said. "Especially when it came to being set in a small city, as the area seemed more artsy. The rawness was probably what they liked the most, especially for reality TV."

Cyle admits that getting the project together has been difficult, as the whole thing is being made by him, his wife, and Price. He also had to personally put together all of the English closed captions on his own.

"Because we have a low budget I'm doing the closed captioning myself," he said. "You have to go through every second to make sure that it's correct."

They are still looking for someone who can make subtitles for the show in Spanish and Japanese.

Nov. 1 is tentatively being looked at as a release date for the pilot episode, but if not Hoffman is expecting it will be out by Nov. 15. They are hoping to make a minimum of six episodes for the first season, but will try to make 10 if they can. Hoffman is hopeful that this show will be able to give a more grounded and realistic look at what the tattoo business is really like.

"We're going to go through every single day, even the boring ones along with the very busy ones," Hoffman said. "It's going to show what it's like in real time without the Hollywood effects and flashy camera work. We'll show what the raw footage is inside the shop."