Find out who you really are.

Or How to rebuild a career and not look back.

Trees know who they are since birth. Do you?

Little over 15 years ago I started what was supposed to be a lifetime career. I imagined myself with 65, a camera on my shoulders (or eyes, depending on technology at the time), in a northern Ireland cave or a sound stage in LA, surrounded by a complete crew, producers, art directors and a talented, creative Director with an incredible vision and an amazing script, complete with an interesting cast who’s eyes shine at the spark of my 'chiaroscuro' lighting.

Cut to: The past 3 years, where as Director of Photography working in one of the most competitive and devalued markets in Brazil. The economy has been in turmoil due to a chaotic governamental mess that gets worse everyday. The democratization of photography and video due to countless factors such as reduction of equipment value and easy access to courses, workshops, and video tutorials that are either cheap or free give space to a new generation of filmmakers that are unexperienced but “good enough”, that’s everywhere, right? Now with 2 kids, I don’t want to spend my days watching them grow up on FaceTime or Duo. (For those who don’t know, a cameraman travels more than most business man can dream of — just not in Business Class). So…

I have to change, I have to evolve. Realising this wasn’t an easy nor a quick task, it ultimately put me in deep questioning about the future of this medium and consequently mine.

Me, a while ago. — photo by Renata Maria

Over more than 10 years my work evolved from advertising, TV shows and TV documentaries and now social media. But as a DP, I developed a half-geek and half-entrepreneurial soul (the later mostly dormant). How could I build something new?

But how do you understand business, marketing, entrepreneurship, startups, being that I’ve only worked with my creative side in the past 15 years? What could you do to get into these areas without knowing how things work? What to study?

"With limitation comes Creativity"

Something sparked; throughout my life I've really enjoyed improving on what already exists, at least in my mind. Every establishment I walk into, every service I use, every app, every Customer+Business interaction my mind gets to work on how to optimize services, reduce operating costs, and improve working conditions for employees, but mainly improve the experience of users and customers before a product, service and / or brand. That must mean something, right?

But again, what to study?

That’s when I discovered Udacity, at the end of 2016, and following tips from some friends; I started reading “The Lean Startup” from Eric Ries and it was a great way to start, I was hooked. Follwing it; the free How to Build a Startup Udacity course given by the incredible Steve Blank and the instructor Kathleen Mullaney, in tandem with The Startup Owner’s Manual book from Steve Blank e Bob Dorf. Now having a good idea of ​​how companies work I realised that 80% of a business is about the customer, about finding out who it is and understanding what he/she needs. Which led me to the Data Analysis Nanodegree, but before it I took a (also Free) Introduction to Statistics course, since I never really dominated math thought I'd try it out first, I liked it and decided to kickstart the ND.

Afew Months later; and although I was a bit late in the ND finishing up a project, because I was having a hard time finding time to truly sit down and put my heart and mind to it, I found out about the Digital Marketing Nanodegree.

Digital Marketing seems to be one of the most complete business areas where I can bring creativity and technique together, working with experienced people and incredible tools to help shape products into what customers really want and at the same time what the Company really needs. This sounds very close to what I described earlier, my spark, my goal. Like Data Analysis, this feels like a ladder towards this new goal. But one I can feel and touch a lot easier then Data Analysis at this point. Plus I can use this knowledge to keep my filmmaking business alive while I transition to… wherever I'm going.

I’m currently studying, seeking to grow my business side; Bringing creativity and storytelling to the opportunities that appear to me. Also, there’s a lot more details to this story which may or may not be shared sometime, so stay tuned, subscribe to my profile and I shall share more soon. Cheers.

My kids, running as usual. =)