Posted by Michael Campo

So you’re a filmmaker? How’d you get started in that?

I have watched friends in this business succeed and fail over and over again. I have known some talented and crazy artists who have wound up on the streets (true story), and watched others go on to live their dreams.

So what separates the good from the great?

How did they make it?

What’s wrong with me if I haven’t made it yet?

Having the opportunity to work on a variety of productions, it’s important to remind yourself from time to time why you’re in this business in the first place.

Understanding the “Why” of what one does is really a great understanding to hold on to.

It can absolutely be a game changer when shit gets tough, and undertaking anything to make progress in your life is guaranteed to get tough.

When I co-founded the company Grassroots Films Inc. I was a young twenty-something New Yorker with little to no cares in the world. I lived in Greenpoint Brooklyn before it was cool, and at the time I still I had a full time paying job where I worked as a Case Manger in Manhattan.

Filmmaking was a hobby at first but then at some point without warning, Filmmaking and the art of visual storytelling turned into a business.

Our company continues to grow today with the absence of only one partner and the remaining three running the day to day operations of the company. The most exciting development is the coming release of our new film Outcasts.

This film has had a ton of blood sweat and tears go into and is finally being screened at private pre-screenings to give people a taste of what we have been doing the past few years. And the response has been nothing short of EXCEPTIONAL. 

Some years later after having an opportunity to work with the most amazing artists, I would start my own company, Camp Campo, independently.

The reason?

I wanted to increase the personal value that I provided to others.

Grassroots Films primary focus has always been spiritually engaging docs and though that is my first love I wanted to challenge myself and spread my wings a bit.

So I decided I would use my own company as a means to build a network of like minded individuals in this space, work on a variety of different types of productions and grow personally as an individual increasing my talents and skills as a film maker. 

And what a journey it has been.

In addition to my credits with Grassroots Films of writer and producer, I have been able to educate myself, use my experiences from past work to learn directing, editing, lighting and camera work.

The result: A powerful individual who understands the roles of all the people involved in making any kind of film production. 

What I can say about this journey so far is that I have looked at the art entirely different than when I began so many years ago with my three partners. I now have an understanding and a respect that I didn’t before. 

All of this has made me a better more valuable asset to the art and other artists I have the opportunity to work with. 

The journey we take as artists need to be recognized as just that. What I mean is that there are always going to be bumps in the road along the way, but when we get a flat tire, we stop, change the tire, and continue on the journey.

Don’t ever get stuck living someone else’s dreams for you. Don’t live in the boxes others have labeled you in. Each of us has the power to take action, and we all know with great power comes great responsibility. Use your power wisely.

What separates the good from the great?

The great know they are great and always have been great from the beginning.

Know who you are…


About Michael Campo:

Michael is a writer, director, filmmaker, and creative strategist, who has worked on a variety of productions from shorts, and advertising campaigns, to commercials, and feature length films.

To name a few, Michael’s works include the award-winning documentary The Human Experience, Child 31, and 2015 SXSW audience choice award winner, A Brave Heart - The Lizzie Velasquez Story.

A Partner in Grassroots Films Inc. and the sole owner of His latest film titled OUTCASTS is expected to be released this year.

Married and a father of three, he's currently working on a variety of new projects including a dramatic digital series, an animated children's program as well as some new small projects with not for profits. Campo hosts a podcast called “Startup Creative” new episodes released every Tuesday.

Michael has traveled to over twenty-five countries as a public speaker and besides his work, loves sailing, the beach, and a good bourbon.

You can connect with Michael right here on Stage 32 and make sure to check out his website to learn more about his projects!

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