Ballet Dancer Shifts to Photo, Video Creator

Tutorials & tips on eCommerce and Content Marketing.

Creative pros are often multi-dimensional. An architect might also design furniture. A writer could compose music. And a performer, such as Matthew Gattozzi, founder of Goodo Studios, could shift to photography.

Until early 2020, Gattozzi was a professional ballet dancer. A back injury forced a career change and the launch of his business, which produces photos and videos for ecommerce companies. “We work with established and up-and-coming brands by understanding how to use and leverage content for revenue,” he told me.

He and I recently discussed his journey. The audio of our entire conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for length and clarity.

Eric Bandholz: Tell us about Goodo Studios.

Matthew Gattozzi: We create photos and videos for consumer brands. We do TikToks, user-generated content, and high-end or paid media, using everything from cinema cameras to iPhones.

Before Goodo I was a professional ballet dancer. I danced throughout the U.S. and Europe. I was dancing at Ballet Austin and injured my back. So I had to stop that part of my career and shift to photos and videos. I recently moved from Austin to Seattle. I used to dance there, and I met my wife there.

I founded my company in early 2020. It was just me, and I didn’t start in ecommerce. I worked locally in Austin with many amazing restaurants, but things came to a halt with Covid. I had to shift and rebuild. Now I work with a team of photographers, creatives, and editors. It’s not just me anymore.

Many consultants in the space went to school and learned brand-building skills. I didn’t go to college. I was supposed to dance until I was 30 and ended up jobless at 21. I knew a lot about social media, but people weren’t interested in hiring me because I didn’t have a resume. I had to say yes to everything in the beginning, which was hard, but it was also good because I could figure out what I wanted to do.

It helped me to realize that the people I serve are marketing managers and paid media professionals. I adapted my communication to speak to them. I started taking what I do as a creative and translating it into how they talk. Many creatives don’t do that.

We work with established and up-and-coming brands by understanding how to use and leverage content for revenue. Brands invest in content, but they also have the mindset that the content will generate income. So we speak to that and help build brand strategies — on organic channels, product pages, websites. We learn to adapt to the latest media consumption. For example, when I started two years ago, TikTok wasn’t as prominent. Most of the videos I shot were horizontal. Now everything is vertical.

Bandholz: How do you handle copyrights?

Gattozzi: My approach is to be as generous as possible. I tell my clients, “You can use this content. You’re investing in these photos and videos, and you get exclusive rights, copyright uses, and commercial use all the way through, with no licensing.”

I might lose out because I’m not nickeling-and-diming the brand, but I’m trying to establish a long-term relationship. I’m a little non-traditional in that way. Some creatives say, “You should know your worth; put your foot down.” But I want to change how we produce content. I want to work with leading brands. I’m not going to get there unless I do something different.

A buzzword you’ll hear a lot is creative strategy. It boils down to content creation. Creatives for big advertisers are missing out by not adapting to how fast media moves and how quickly brands need to create. We’re trying to build a content engine for brands. We come up with ideas, test those ideas, and execute them.

We involve team members in the entire process. Disjointed production is common in the industry. A great photographer who isn’t part of the planning won’t understand how the photos can drive sales.

Bandholz: Describe a Goodo Studio engagement.

Gattozzi:  Most brands should focus on why consumers are buying. Sometimes we’ll ask clients that, and they’ll list their product features. Okay, cool, but what do your customers say? You need to understand your target audience — talk to them and do surveys. The ideas are endless if you learn your customer psychology. Most brands miss that. So I advocate for the intent behind the photos and the videos.

We do photo and video shoots. But we also do TikToks, user-generated content, and ad editing. We take existing assets, and we extract value from them. When a brand comes to us, we start with editing before we shoot anything. The exception is an upcoming brand or product release.

We look at why customers buy and go through a process to figure that out. Most brands have a backlog of great content. They just haven’t remixed it enough because they don’t have the resources or the crew.

Once we’ve proven some concepts and generated ideas, we double down and scale those concepts and test more. Then we can bring in creators that are ideal customers for that brand. We come up with the briefs and send the product out to them. They shoot everything and send it back to us. We edit it all.

We’ll hire a crew, whether it’s in Seattle or in Austin, to work on the production. That’s how we turn around. We don’t do photo and video production with a brand every month, but we do a lot of editing. That gives us time to plan those shoots. Many brands are hesitant to spend the money for extensive production for fear it will flop. So we try to test the concepts early with some low-lift creative, then go to bigger productions.

Bandholz:  What makes someone a good creative?

Gattozzi: An excellent creative asks great questions, translates the answers, and uncovers what the client wants. A lousy creative will say, “Okay, got it,” and leave. Asking a lot of questions helps the brand pinpoint a problem. Some come to us and explain what they need. It can be challenging for individuals to describe an idea in their minds. I’ll ask them questions. How is their business? Where has their marketing been? Where are they trying to go? Why do they need a creative partner?

Sometimes, after the first call, we realize they don’t need photos or videos. They need editing. You can save brands thousands of dollars by asking the right questions.

Bandholz: How can listeners connect with you?

Gattozzi: They can visit our site, GoodoStudios.com, and subscribe to my newsletter. I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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