A random moment captured from a love story in brooklyn bridge park / dumbo
What's my relationship with photography & filmmaking?
Well, I would rather say I have a close relationship with storytelling – and that I am a very visual person. filmmaking and photography was just a sweet consequence.
I started out as a copywriter back in the early 90s in advertising agencies in São Paulo City. I was 19, then. I was still in college at Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing – now Miami AdSchool/ESPM. It was creative, exciting and all. But after a few years - and winning some advertising festivals - I kind of thought all that thing was cool but a world of fake stuff. It was an awesome experience, though. Among other things, I used to write scripts for TV commercials for brands like Faber-Castell, Platina, and Visa.
I was always carrying a camera in my backpack, whose first owner was my grandfather. then, my father used to take pictures of our family with it. eventually, my dad gave it to me as a gift when I turned 16. that sweet little baby is a Zeiss Novar Anastigmat. I still have this camera, a piece of awesomeness which has been telling visual stories for three generations – almost 70 years.
Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/16 6x6 camera with Novar-Anastigmat 75mm f/4.5 lens in a Vario shutter, released in 1949.
Life Beyond Agency
Then, I went to get to know the other side of the counter: the marketing area of the largest financial institution in Latin America. After five years, I couldn't deal with that thing anymore. I mean, ad agencies creating cool slogans and layouts for products they have never used before, after being "creatively" briefed by people in the marketing area of the company who have never seen a real company's client in front of them – just guided by research and survey. You know what I mean?
There was a wonderful part, though: I dove deep into lots of film productions – which I was managing as a client. I was living 60% of my time surrounded by cameras, filmmakers, creatives, and some of the best film directors, production companies, photographers, and advertising agencies in Brazil and in the world.
avenida paulista, in downtown são paulo
THE FUN HAS JUST BEGUN
The third part of this journey: quitting my super safe and well-paid job and launching my first business - a soccer branding agency. It was the first time I experienced that feeling of not having the support of a huge brand behind me. tough time. lots of learning. A few months later, I was working with some of the biggest brands on earth: top soccer brands in Brazil plus Coca-Cola, Telefonica, JPMorgan, Cisa Trading, Banco do Brasil.
Maracanã stadium, in rio de janeiro, and botafogo F.R., one of the top 10 biggest soccer teams in brazil: two projects involving tons of passion and excitement.
My very first job was writing a script for a short film and creating a complete advertising campaign to boost soccers fans' engagement with the soccer team they supported. That was THE best experience on creating compelling material to touch people's emotions. one of the results of this job: More than 120K botafogo fans in maracanã stadium in one soccer match alone. The experience with soccer brands – and the ecosystem of powerful brands around it – was great. It didn't last more than 2 years, though. The beauty of this sport walks hand-in-hand with too much corruption in brazil. i wasn't feeling comfortable.
then, I focused my business on serving global brands, especially those with connections between brazil and the united states of america. a few years later, I figured I was just repeating the same routine of other creative agencies.
são paulo city: 21 million people, the world's second largest city.
On top of it, the digital was replacing the analog like a tsunami. I was really excited about learning everything digital. That's when I experienced the scariest and most challenging and exciting adventure in my life: In 2006, i followed my guts, put some clothes, books, my cameras, and a lot of courage (or craziness or both) together in my backpack and flew to New York City with my wife to live a dream since I was a kid: living in NYC.
New Challenges, New York
for the first time in my life, I was an immigrant in a different country and culture. The good thing: more than 50% of New Yorkers are part of this same group. I was reading, watching, listening to, attending seminars (everything) to learn how to think and act digital and, also, about the city that I love.
Empire state of sun, midtown manhattan. photo by lucas compan
of course, there was a rent to be paid every month. and when things were not going the way i was expecting (especially in the beginning of this experience in new york), i worked in restaurants and with pet grooming shops. by the way, super fun experiences. I also had an online store with my wife. tough time, whose purpose was making us stronger and stronger. Also, these experiences offered me extra opportunities to exercise my creative talents.
that sweet spot
after a while, I landed on a very sweet spot: working with travelers/tourists and the dreams in their hearts. I started to telling stories about New York aiming to add some more magic into the dream about visiting New York and how they could make it happen. Awesome experience! I met amazing people from four corners of the world. by this point, my relationship with filmmaking was always generating ideas and writing scripts, so someone else would grab a camera and make that idea tangible.
The next level of my journey was when I finally grabbed my cameras to shooting videos, not just photos. i started to live broadcasting: from the streets of new york to the world. the transition to telling people's stories when they were living their dreams in New York City was smooth and natural. It was the first time I was making money with both creating and producing my films.
people nurture a love relationship with new york. in this sense, I think what really helps me a lot is that, For some reason, I can see every angle of the Big Apple as a newcomer, as a traveler – every single day. Even when New York does not treat me so well, there's always a story to share. This magic helps visitors to get involved with this positive and powerful atmosphere.
The dreams inside the dreams
GREAT FUTURE STORIES (former Filmvacation) was born, giving image and voice to people's travel stories. Great future stories allows people who are on vacation, visiting, living, temporarily staying, and dreaming about the greatest city on this planet, filming and photographing their stories with a professional hollywood-style look and feel.
The curious thing is that this is my first business which I first had clients, then founded the company and everything around it. They have inspired me to create Filmvacation and tell more stories about more people living their dreams in the City of Dreams.
piccola italiana, big dreams: what matters is the size of your willingness
I learned a lot about creativity and visual storytelling, photography, and filmmaking along all these years. I've been learning a lot and I still have tons of new things to learn so i could deliver better and better products. but the most important thing is just starting doing it, you know, those first steps.
Isn't our life an amazing journey when we live each and every moment of it, instead of just focusing on the next destination? that's the secret to become whatever you want in life.
Inspiring people to making their dream come true
Now I would like to share this compelling story – from italy to new york city. I hope you get inspired as much as I did watching it, the story of an italian girl whose dream was visiting new york since she was little. she's still little (1,52 / 5'0") but her dreams are big. and she made it happen.