Interview: Stopdown Studio
So, let’s go straight to the point. Let’s start knowing you better:
Name. Surname. Age and favorite flavor of ice cream.
Samuel Giudice, 32 years old, dark chocolate raspberry and coconut.
Fabrizio Falcomatà, 33 years old, before becoming celiac and diabetic I would say plain ice cream and chocolate.
Now that we know who you are: Describe the other in less than 50 words.
Fabri? Haha, he’s in many ways my opposite: relaxed, unabashed, sometimes in his own world. But when it comes to party, he’s the first in line and he surprises for the contagious idiocy (in the good sense of the word). He’s one you can rely on, no doubt, always by your side and with the right word at the right time. Creative of course and a little dreamer but that is a common trait!
Samuel is precise, professional, and unlike me orderly (I’m working on this last point I swear). Always available if you need him, he’s a person on whom you can always rely.
Tell us about your adventure from the beginning to the present…
Well it’s really long, we work together from 14 years now… We met at the examination for the driving license, Fabrizio was playing in a band and I was starting the first shots. So I began to photograph the band and I discovered his passion for the video. We started to put the pieces together, each with his own skills but also Fabri quickly fell in love with photography. The studio where I was working was looking for staff and I suggested Fabrizio, so we started to work more assiduously together. We realized that we worked well togheter, that we completed each other. Then in 2007 began the adventure as freelancers and was founded the Studio Metrò, or 7 professionals with various skills in a single space and it went really great; as a first experience as freelancers was a nice discussion table, we learned a lot.
In 2010, however, we felt the need to have an identity a bit more ours, more defined and specialized: we detached ourselves and so it was born the Stopdown Studio, our small space that we cultivated and we are still cultivating. At the same time the network of partnerships has grown, we met Martin and all the Creative family, the work engaged well and today we can live with dignity of our passion, to take off also some whim and especially to continue to dream and grow with this our project…
Come on, 14 years in four lines, was I still good right? I omitted of course the thousand obstacles and all the bad stories but we are made in this way, we prefer to tell about the smiles that help the most.
This is just to say that the path has been certainly very hard, difficult choices and moments of discomfort, but it’s all part of the game and we have to keep believing.
Was there a moment when you have thought to desist? To throw the sponge and relocate to Honolulu with Merlin?
Oh endless difficult moments. We both have children and isn’t easy to decide to put everything you have in a dream, especially considering the cost of rentals and diapers. Sometimes with the hands in the hair at the end of the month, often looking the accounts and ask ourselves who have had us to do that. To be clear we have no economic solidity behind us, but ordinary families who sometimes struggle to make ends meet. In this scenario becomes even more complex to believe in it. But on the contrary we had two great fortunes: the first is to have at our side a lot of people who have always believed in our potential and they have morally supported us, our families in the first place; the second is to be there the one for the other, and often, we have made strength by ourselves. Ok it sounds a bit as a homosexual discourse, but I couldn’t describe it differently… In the end, for now, everything has gone well.
You now have the possibility to leave a message to “yourself” when you embarked on this journey, what would it be? (One for each of you)
Sam: Go forward buddy, at the end you know how to shovel and the rest comes by itself. Ah, you must know that finally you decide to get a tattoo, you will have 2 cats, a wife and daughter. Wedding in Las Vegas, quiet. At the end, all right. No, no, no lottery, some small strokes of luck but mostly flour of your sack.
Fabrizio: My dear you’ll have to trot, it will not be always easy. You’ll have close wonderful people whose you can trust. Constance and consciousness will bring satisfaction and smiles. You will find new friends who will be an inspiration for you.
And what would you say to the other?
Sam: Hey buddy we will do a lot of funny things. We will see a lot of places. We will have a lot of hangovers. And all paid.
Fabrizio: What can I say man, be ready to turn our hobby into a business. There will be ups and downs and in both cases I will be there with you.
It helps to be in two? How do you deal the critical situations when you have opposite points of view about a subject?
Yes, we have already answered in part, for that matter us to be in two helps a lot. Sure it takes a degree of maturity and patience very high and it’s always good to cultivate the relationship; we have often two different visions of things but we have learned to make a treasure of it, listening and evaluating objectively the other’s ideas and then trying to draw the comparaisons to achieve the best result. It’s important to take a step back sometimes without putting in the middle the pride that’s useless in these cases. It’s important to have a good dialogue and to draw comparisons with calm. We know we are very different, but this helps us: we compensate ourselves and we are both aware of the limitations and strengths of each, and thanks to this the team works. When we disagree we give ourselves a little time, we drink something, we get distracted a bit and then we go back on it with a cool head. For us it has always worked, it’s a simple but effective recipe. Ah, and you need to be able to say “I screwed up” and laugh about it. It happens.
There’s a myth or rather an urban legend… The fateful moment of the “turning point”; exists? If the answer is yes… How to recognize it? What are the symptoms?
For us there has been, but not in the legendary sense that it means: we were both responsible of the studio and we wound up almost from day to day without a working certainty due to certain contractual deadlines and age; Fortunately, the skills acquired and the partnerships launched in the meantime convinced us to try and put ourselves on our own. It was a good kick in the ass there and then but it was the right blow that made us make the leap. We took everything we had and we got in the game, in our case the effort has paid off. You recognize that moment because if you follow the logic it takes you to the exact 50% in two opposite directions, only with different variables; try or search different certainties. And then you have to decide with what you’re feeling in the stomach, because in the end you feel it. And especially it’s necessary to repeat yourself that in life, a solution can always be found, you might as well try it. Better to have a bit of bad memories that have only one regret. The moment of “turning point” as is meant in the movies, well we haven’t had it for now. But I’ll tell you, we are happy with the path that we are building, piecemeal.
What’s your project you love the most? The one of which you are most proud of.
It’s hard to say; every time we finish a project we are exhausted, emptied, tired and satisfied at the same time. So out of hand I would have to say the last one we’re working on, but maybe it’s the enthusiasm of the moment. We always try to put 100% in all the work, and as far as rhetoric it may sound this makes any work special. Of course some are more successful than others and represent us more. We could cite “Of the Genesis and the Word”, “Mithosis” and “Pirates”. But we have a couple of cartridges that we are going to shoot and they are stuck for some time now, we are sure they will give us great satisfactions.
Your intervention at the CPS creative lounge gave me a smile (and a minimum of hope in this valley of tears that’s the working scene for creative Italians) and I thank you again.
What’s the advice that you can give to all those people who are about to pursue a Freelancer career or who have just started?
(In addition to the one to have the cheek and ask … As you can see it works!)
Two on everything: the first is to study and to get passionate, the world today is an inexhaustible source of notions and inspiration. The second is to be aware: we are all humans, even the ones you see on Behance and you wonder from what planet they have come to be able to do that job; so if you wonder “how the hell he will have done” or “why he did it”… Well just ask him.
Learn to expand your vision of the world, to empathize with other people, other cultures, other tastes and flavors. Then take everything and put it in your backpack, mix well and see what comes out. And if it doesn’t satisfy you, work on it and be patient and persevering. In short, you have the same chance of anyone else, you just have to understand on what lever you must act.
In your opinion what’s the mistake that people commit in the beginning of a career like that (as a freelance)?
Shyness and arrogance. These are the two things to be avoided at all. To approach yourself to anyone with one or both of these attitudes never lead to anything, they are customers, colleagues, guru or presidents. You must be smiling and well taken, polite and always ready to learn something, even by those you don’t expect it. There’s always something to learn and it’s a great thing. Be in your turn always ready to share your experiences with a genuine and passionate spirit. Transmit something that in 99% of cases will come back in some other form. And if someone doesn’t show himself equally available have no fear: you probably haven’t lost anything.
Finally… Is there anything you want to add?
We add that we are very happy and flattered for this interview and precisely because of everything that we said we invite anyone who desire it to write to us, contact us, visit us… We work in a remote but wonderful place, the fatigue to be seen is dual but equally the satisfaction. So if anyone is in self-esteem debt, come to Stopdown, you’ll see fantastic places that will give you back the measure of things and their role, a few glasses of wine and a chat; you’ll come out with a big smile and a renewed desire to do.
You can try the same feeling at any CPS and certainly we will meet also there. For this we thank wholeheartedly all the family of the Creative and we invite you to be there at the next edition. And finally, we invite you to follow us on our website, on Behance, on the social, on the street; in short, we do a lot of stuff and we are always curious to know what you think about it and vice versa to tell you our opinion on what you do.
See you very soon then!