I came across Brandon Goodwin years and years ago when I watched Elsie Larson’s (of A Beautiful Mess) wedding video and became quite interested in the music choices and the particular shots used. A short while after I came across several more videos made by Brandon and quickly realised that this was the guy you go to to get cool videos made.
Cutting a long story short, I felt that Brandon would be the perfect person to talk to when it comes to videography advice, and so I was right!
We spoke to Brandon about the re-branding of his business, Goodwin Films to Blend, his favourite projects to work on, and what tips he has for aspiring videographers.
KNEWYU: WHAT’S YOUR NAME, WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
B: I’m Brandon Goodwin, I’m from Springfield, Missouri and I’m the Executive Producer of a Video and Animation company called Blend.
I work with two other guys: Joe who is in charge of all video production, and Adam who is our creative director and lead animator.
K: HOW DID YOU GET INTO FILM? WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO PURSUE A CAREER IT AND TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
B: For 13 years I operated as “Goodwin Films”. I started this video production company my senior year of high school with a Canon GL2 and a Powerbook G4. Over the past decade the business has grown rapidly each year and I’ve gone on to work with major brands, advertising agencies, NGOs and record labels. I’ve always been a “maker” and I’ve always loved storytelling. There’s nothing better for me than the process of creating something out of nothing, then getting a reaction from an audience.
K: YOUR BUSINESS USED TO GO UNDER YOUR OWN NAME, BUT HAS SINCE BEEN RE-BRANDED. TELL US ABOUT BLEND. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME AND WHAT ARE WE LIKELY TO SEE COMING OUT OF IT?
B: Blend happened because Adam, Joe and I were all sharing office space in downtown Springfield. We eventually began hiring each other for various projects and it got to the point where we were all constantly invoicing and paying each other. Since so much of our work overlapped, we decided to just take the risk of combining our resources. This has allowed each of us to specialize in our our areas of strength and the value has far exceeded the sum of all the parts, especially in the quality and quantity of work we’re able to produce. Adam came up with “Blend” and it represents the Blending of three of talents into one organization.
K: WALK US THROUGH A DAY IN YOUR LIFE.
B: I wake up, make coffee, head into the office and spend most of the day staring at a computer monitor. My job is to take care of everything that will make Joe and Adam better at their jobs. Instead of each of us having to worry about all the paperwork that comes along with being self-employees, I take care of all that so they can be about the business of creating great work for our clients.
K: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DIRECTORS AND PRODUCERS?
B: I’m a big fan of the Cohen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese Vince Gilligan, and Matthew Weiner, to name a few. But I’m really more into documentaries. There are just too many to list, but I like Werner Herzog, Seth Gordon, and the late Tim Hetherington to name a few.
K: WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT TO WORK ON SO FAR?
B: It’s hard to name a favorite project, but one that had a big impact on my life was back in 2007 when about 13 artist friends and I took a trip to Vietnam and created artwork and made collaborative videos inside a few orphanages. I absolutely love international travel and I love working with organizations that are creating real, sustainable projects in underserved areas.
K: WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH IN THE FUTURE AND WHAT SORT OF PROJECTS DO YOU WANT TO BE DOING?
B: I’m happy to say that we’re very much doing the type of work we’ve all dreamed of doing. If a project comes along that isn’t a good fit, we don’t take it. Or if we find that a client isn’t a good fit, we drop them. I’m lucky to be on a team with two guys that are not only extremely talented, but that know which projects are a good fit. We’ve all been on the same page in this regard and it’s lead to better work and happier clients.
K: WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING VIDEOGRAPHERS?
B: Tips for aspiring videographers:
- Live beneath your means.
- You can’t run a small business if you can’t run your personal finances.
- Work gets work; put out the type of work you want to do more of.
- Under promise and over deliver.
- Don’t complain about work that you agreed to do.
- Pay your taxes.
- In the beginning it’s important to say yes to every opportunity, in the end it’s important to say no to everything except the thing you want most.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Build buffer time into everything you do; every project will take twice as long as you expect.
- If you have a bad feeling about someone when you meet them, trust your gut.
- If you hear a potential client say, “It’ll be a good experience” or “It’ll be good for your reel”, run.
Thank you so much Brandon! These are wise words.
Photos by Blend and Will Stone.