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Meet West Hollywood Photographer and Videographer: Matthew Garrett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Garrett.

Matthew, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m the founder of CLEVER Productions & Branding. I began my career path in college at Saginaw Valley State University. Entering college I studied to become a dentist because I was always naturally gifted in the sciences, and coming out of high school it was a career that was paid well, had good hours, and seemed to be a guaranteed position after completing my educational goals, but after my first year I just knew the dental career path wasn’t for me. I’ve always had a creative mindset and a passion for my artistic interest, and after transferring to a community college closer to my home in Detroit, Michigan I found the career path that was right for me. At Oakland community college I took a career building course that helped me to find out what careers aligned with my natural skill-set. After the course, it really helped me to reassess my career path, and I noticed that my true passion was staring me right in the face. My parents had always taken family videos and photos at every family function, and it was always a joy for me to take the content they gathered and edit them into 4-5 minute keepsake films. I would edit for hours on end knowing I wasn’t going to be receiving any sort of payment, and because of that I knew from that point forward what I wanted to with my life. I pursued my career in visual arts by graduating from Oakland Community College with an associates degree in cinematic arts, and more recently I’ve completed a bachelor’s degree program focusing on cinema studies at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

While I was in school I also developed my own freelance business, now called CLEVERPROD. My idea for CLEVERPROD was to harness my authentic passion for visual arts and develop high-quality creative content that is visually appealing as well as business savvy.

I have since worked on numerous independent projects, along with producing content for local artist in Detroit like Raven Love & the 27’s, and De$z. Although I began my career in Detroit, Michigan, I have since relocated to Los Angeles, California to expand the CLEVERPROD brand. Going forward I would like to make CLEVERPROD the go-to business for creative visual content & branding.

Has it been a smooth road?
For me, it’s been an up and down road during my career path. Just like any other career, there are highs and lows, but it has been an enjoyable process overall. At this point, I feel like I am just now seeing the benefits of my efforts, but it’s truly only the beginning of the process. Sometimes I would occasionally question if I was following the right path, but at this point, I’d have it no other way. I tend to be a very goal-oriented person and I like to complete my goals as fast and efficient as possible, but sometimes you have to have patience and persistence to become successful. I used to feel like my biggest troubles were completing school and relocating to the Los Angeles area. Looking back now I’m happy to say I overcame those obstacles and look forward to the road ahead.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
The proudest moment of my career thus far has to be the completion of my move from Detroit to LA. It was a goal that was about two years in the making and to finally have my goal completed is a surreal feeling. My plan was to first finish my degree program at Oakland University, and also develop my freelance company before my move and to this point, it is one of my proudest moments.

Tell us more about the struggles you’ve faced along the way.
I’ve had struggles here and there while completing my career goals, but I’d say it comes with the territory of going after your dreams. Since the beginning of my college career there was always obstacles in my way, but with every obstacle comes a choice of succumbing to the obstacle or finding a way to overcome it. While in school I struggled with the dilemma of working full-time at Best Buy or only working part-time, It’s always hard to deal with things in the moment while also thinking about the future, and it really took me a while to realize that it was in my best interest to just work part-time and go to school full-time. Looking back on it I’m glad I made the decision I did because the path I’m on now would have never been a possibility. Now going forward I’m sure there are obstacles that are going to be in my way, but it’s the way that I handle each obstacle that will determine my future.

Is there something we can do as a city to improve the outlook for professionals like you?
I feel like California, and the LA area especially is a great place to expand my business and grow career wise. Just as I’m starting my career here, I’d recommend anyone starting out in any career path to come here. Although LA is a very large market, I think it is one of the few places in the country that can launch your career in an instant. Coming from Detroit, I can really appreciate the vast market that is LA. In Detroit, it seems as if you are limited, and can only reach a certain point of success. In LA it’s totally different, the sky is the limit essentially as long as you put in the work and effort. At this point, I really have no major complaints about LA as I’ve only been here about three months, but maybe a more friendly environment could help to improve the city. Not to say that I haven’t met friendly people here, but the overall essence of the city is very individualistic and self-motivated. I think if more people sought to actually help others rather helping others to benefit themselves it’d be a much-improved city overall.

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