Whether it’s in-house, freelance or a passion project, photographer and filmmaker Quinn Lovero is no stranger to self–teaching
Quinn Lovero developed his skills as a photographer and filmmaker through self-teaching and the guidance of mentors. Having filmed his first videos on his parents’ webcam at eight years old, Quinn initially diverged from his passion for filmmaking to study computer science and then graphic design at university. As the first videographer at start-up, Kurogo, however, he’s since been able to reconnect with his love of audio-visual content. Here, Quinn speaks to us about learning how to communicate with people and the importance of having your work critiqued – even at 10 years old.
Filmmaker and Photographer
Image Retoucher, BrandOpus
Video Content Creator, Kurogo (part–time) Freelance Filmmaker and Photographer (part–time)
Place of Study
BA Graphic Design, Nottingham Trent University (2018–2021)
What I do
How would you describe what you do and specifically what you do as a Video Content Creator at Kurogo?
As a video content creator for a start-up, I spend most of my day generating short form video content for our clients. Some days, I’m on full day shoots, visiting the client and recording video for their personal brand. On other days, I might be home on my laptop creating motion graphics or editing footage from previous shoots.
Being the first videographer in the agency, my job is to create a framework and establish processes around how Kurogo deals with video content internally. Whether it’s going through edit revisions or figuring out how to name and archive the content, I’m creating methods to facilitate the implementation of videography within the team.
It’s a new field for the entire start-up, as for the past few years Kurogo’s focus has been on strategy and copywriting. It’s my job to now ensure they have the best quality content in the most streamlined way possible.
What recent project are you most proud of?
Last year I made my first fashion look book called Alice In The Matrix. It was a combination of photography and film, and the first film I directed. It was filled with VFX and CGI, and sound design too. All things I love doing. I’m super proud of how it turned out and how with the help of (only a few) friends, we made it happen.
What’s your favourite thing in your workspace right now?
Because of the flexibility that Kurogo offers I can work almost anywhere, so I don’t have a single workspace. I do however have a notebook I carry everywhere that is covered with any and every sticker I find. My favourite one is a Goldie’s fruit sticker.
If you could pick a GIF to describe what it’s like to work at Kurogo, what would it be and why?
[Below] It makes me happy to see and be a part of a start-up that is growing on a daily basis. I applaud them for being able to build such a fantastic company where everybody is keen to work.
How I got here
What kind of skills are needed to do your role? And would you say you need any specific training to do what you do?
If you want to have my job you need to know how to hold a camera, how to edit and how to communicate with people. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how many layers there are to it all.
Funnily enough I’ve never been formally trained for this. I filmed my first videos when I was around eight years old, with the webcam on my parents’ computer. I’d do little edits and funny skits.
“You need to know how to hold a camera, edit and communicate with people. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised at how many layers there are.”
I always had a drive for audio-visual content and always had something going on on the side. I taught myself through YouTube videos and asking friends who were more advanced. But regardless of my love for it, I didn’t study it. I diverged and studied computer science in college and graphic design at university.
Somehow, I kept doing enough passion projects on the side of my education to build a portfolio of work that attracts peoples’ attention.
How did you land the role at Kurogo?
Through a friend of a friend of a friend. It’s crazy how over-utilised the word “network” is, yet it never loses its value.
I first saw the vacancy on LinkedIn, but didn’t think much of it. At the end of the day, I had a reliable role at an established company. But then my mate Matty texted me about it, telling me I had been recommended internally by one of his friends. To me it seemed mad, I had no official videographer experience, but they liked my portfolio so much that they knew I was the right candidate.
So I had a crack at it, and after a few chats I got offered the job. Although I always believed that "it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” I only truly realised the value of my network through this role.
“Through mentors and teachers, I came to realise that we all have a different journey. I stopped comparing myself to others and started comparing myself to myself.”
What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
I think that I started at the right time, as a kid. It’s pretty easy to put things out when you are a child. A critique from your mum at 10 years of age is always encouraging. Because of this, I created more and more, in an unfiltered way. At the end of the day, I’m just a kid making pretty pictures.
But as I got older, I started seeing that I wasn’t all that good. The fact that I wasn’t as good as some of my peers really got into my head. For a long time I struggled with my confidence and that messed with my work. It wasn’t as good and pure as it was when I was a kid – I started making work to please people.
Luckily through mentors and teachers, I came to realise that we all have a different journey. I stopped comparing myself to others and started comparing myself to myself.
I’d love to think that my days of comparing myself to others are long gone, but I know creative confidence is something that I will struggle with on and off.
If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
Have a good and clear portfolio, it doesn’t have to be complicated. After I finished uni, I spent a month making a very fun and complex website for my work. Sadly, it had no big hits, so I chose to make a more streamlined and easy to navigate version. This one only took me a week. It was surprising to see how much better the feedback was. Having a clear website allowed my work to be in the spotlight. It intrigued people more and allowed me to have some fantastic conversations around it.
Then, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. A quick read and essential book for artists and creatives. As creatives sometimes we think we need to be inspired or have a very tight deadline to make work. I certainly did. The amount of times that I’d say “I’m not in the right mindset” is countless. After reading this book, I came to the realisation that there are a lot of moments before inspiration hits. We can make inspiration appear through just sitting down and doing the work. There are so many more valuable perspectives in this book; I re-read it often and learn something new every time.
“Keep a physical or digital inspiration journal. Every time I see something that I love, I write about it and archive it. It’s a handy tool.”
Finally, keeping an inspiration journal. It’s easier than it sounds. It can be digital or physical, maybe both. This is something I got asked to do for university, and I ended up taking it further and now almost depend on it. Every time I see something that I love, whether it be because of its visual aspect or content, I write something about it and archive it. Whenever I feel uninspired or when I want to reference something, I go back to my archive. It’s a handy tool.
What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Patience. It takes time to arrive at the places you want in your career. I used to work a lot on my own stuff, and work so much I would burn out with certain projects.
I ended up abandoning some of these projects because I couldn’t see them coming to fruition. But I bet that if I had been more patient, they would’ve ended up amazing. Now, I try to see my goals and projects in the span of months and at times, years. It allows me to focus on the little wins rather than on instant gratification.
What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
I’d say there are three key learnings for me in the past year:
1. Value yourself. Just because you’ve been offered your dream job, you shouldn’t sacrifice a fair salary.
2. Always have a savings account and prioritise it. You never know when things might go south. There are times when work doesn’t come in and you need to cover rent.
3. Money is not everything. Although this is kind of contradicting my two previous statements, I think it’s important to find happiness outside the cash. If you’re really doing what you love and can sustain yourself, you’ll be happy.
What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Practice doing nothing. A creative mind needs time to rest. This could be meditating or just staring blankly at someone’s shoes on the tube. I guess a way of looking at it would be that, only an empty and rested head can get filled with ideas.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
Create for passion, the job will follow. If you really want to film, don’t wait to get a job within it, just go out and do it. Then, when you’ve practised and got some good projects under your belt, you can reach out for jobs.
Interview by N'Tanya Clarke
Mention Quinn Lovero