Today we’d like to introduce you to Brent Campanelli, a director in Silverlake.
Brent, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I think the journey is the most essential part of a director’s career. Living life, staying present, and being able to look back.
From birth, my dad was there with a VHS camera. Whether he was filming my sister and I’s firsts, birthdays, or playing sports. You name it, he captured it. When I was old enough, my dad passed the torch and let me use his beloved JVC camcorder, and the rest was history. I was the kid on the block getting everyone I could behind the lens. I sought out top neighborhood talent, and at the time, it was skateboarders, BMX riders, and snowboarders in the winter. While most of my friends were playing organized sports, I was obsessed with X-treme sports. Learning how to put music and edit to my favorite songs made me even more eager to shoot the next day. (This was before the digital age: ingesting tape into the computer and working with old editing software, cutting to the track, and then having a final piece that could only be shared by having your friends over to watch it. I think that practice & patience that I learned is still with me today!)
Fast-forward I graduated from Emerson College w/ BA in Visual Media Arts (yet to show my diploma). I spent a few crucial years in San Diego directing/shooting/editing short skate & surf films. Freelancing for multiple local active lifestyle brands and small agencies in the area. Producing branded content/commercial work held my attention, and at a certain point, I felt the urge to leave the beach and move to Los Angeles to focus solely on “directing.” Moving to this fantastic yet overwhelming city, knowing a few people and having few connections only motivated me more, and when one gig led to the next, it never stopped. Four years later, it still shocks me that I get to work with some of the top brands and talent around the world. Today, I specialize in creative direction for brands and artists, as well as directing commercials, branded content, documentaries, music videos, and Spotify vertical videos, and photographing fashion editorial, e-commerce, and artist promotional content.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
“Smooth” is such a fantastic word. I wish all things in life were smooth. The short answer is that if you LOVE what you do and work at it nonstop, parts of the process feel relatively smooth. That being said, the journey has consisted of relentless late nights, rejections, failed projects, self-doubt, and moments of money stress. Being a young director is not exactly glamorous, but being hungry to learn and keep my ego in check has made it a smoother and exciting ride. Without struggle, there cannot be progress, and it makes those successes that much sweeter. If you are someone like myself that can’t possibly think of another career, it is in your best interest to make it work and keep reinventing yourself and your work.
As a film director, what do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
When I was younger, I wanted to be the best at every job title that I could. A jack of all trades if you will. Something commonly heard in LA is that you need to specialize in ONE thing. Although I can’t entirely agree with this, it is important to find your unique style & voice while still being flexible. Having a previous background in each field, producing, editing, motion graphics, VFX, cinematography and writing/recording music, etc. gives me the ability to direct each of those moments from start to finish on any given project. Knowing the process and appreciating each part of it, helps create content that clients and I both are proud of at the end of the day. Attention to detail makes a world of a difference in this competitive industry.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles is my favorite city in the world. I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to travel domestically and internationally for work over the past three years, and every time I come back to LA. Nothing compares as a place to live. Sure I love to visit NY, Amsterdam, and Berlin, but Los Angeles is home. You can’t beat the beach and the hills of the east side, a creative sanctuary where you never feel trapped. Outside Los Angeles has such beautiful and diverse terrain in every direction. It also breathes opportunities, unlike any other city. I started making music again in 2019 with a project titled Stretched (@stretched_la). The ability to record and play shows in my own neighborhood is a dream come true. The least? That’s easy. The overrated response, TRAFFIC.
- Website: www.brentcampanelli.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brentcampanelli/
- Other: www.wearestretched.com
Casie Wendel, Russ Fraser