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Meet Matt Schleicher of Whirlybird in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Schleicher.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Matt. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve spent the last ten years working in physical production. Early on, I tried to get experience in as many different departments as possible, with the thinking that a healthy cross-section of knowledge would be useful down the line. Ultimately, I ended up following the camera path. First as a PA, then a camera assistant, and after some ladder climbing a Cinematographer. Camera work has definitely allowed me to leave my creative fingerprints on a lot of projects, but I’ve always found the creative problem solving of set work across departments super satisfying.

That’s where Whirlybird comes in. I started Whirlybird first as a studio location and then transitioned it to a production company. We keep a nimble crew on our shoots, which generally means I get to get my hands dirty across several departments.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think anyone pursuing a career in a creative field will tell you that it’s not a straight or smooth road. The roadmap to success is individual to each person, and there are no guarantees. I think chasing the big wins is part of why you do it though. Taking the leap years ago to call myself a cinematographer is about as close to gambling as I get, and it was a real hit of excitement booking that first gig. It wasn’t until after a pretty scary lull though. I definitely feel those extremes make for a good fuel in the short term. I think in the long term, though, it’s important to create as many diverse opportunities for yourself as possible. The goal for me is having enough going on that I only have to say yes to the things that are really exciting.

Whirlybird – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Whirlybird works directly with brands to create high production value video content cost-effectively. My cinematography career has leaned heavily towards commercial work and branded content over the last several years, and that’s given me a good window into what makes these types of videos successful. I’ve also gotten to see where there are inefficiencies in the production process. I’ve really tried to soak up as much information as possible about every aspect of production to help determine what works and where things could be streamlined.

At Whirlybird, we focus on making just a handful of types of videos because our experience has told us that those are what will generate the best results for our clients. For brands, video is a tool that needs to have a measurable result. We use production value and great creative as part of achieving that result, but of course there are other considerations when producing client work as well. We’ve built a framework for making these videos so that we can maximize every dollar our clients spend. Because so much branded content follows a similar structure (mostly because it works) we’ve engineered ways to limit the scope of projects without limiting the creativity or quality of execution. I really feel as though Whirlybird is competitive, quality-wise, with companies charging well into five and six-figure video budgets, and we’re doing it at a small fraction of the cost. I’m pretty excited about the results we’re getting for our clients!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Oh man, you’re putting me on the spot with this one! I think each phase of my career has had moments that, at the time, I’ve felt equally proud about. My earliest is landing an internship on the show “Heroes” while I was in college. Getting a big studio lot pass and getting to be part of a team that worked on a giant network show felt like I had made it! Never mind that it was a credit-only internship. Right now, I’m really proud of the things that we’re doing at Whirlybird. Being a tangible part of someone else’s success, while still feeling like you’re creating your own, is pretty exciting.

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