Courtney Sposato, cinematographer and Founder of The Electric Feels
Courtney Sposato is the cinematographer, editor and creative director of The Electric Feels. This film buff is not only a storytelling mastermind, but she is our dear friend with talent and a heart as pure as gold. Since day one of seeing her work, we've been dying to get her out from behind the camera and into the Spotlight. Courtney's vision to execution proves passion and leaves her viewers feeling related to. Are you ready for all these feels?! We now invite you into Courtney's world of magic through visual art. Prepare to daydream:
Courtney: the cinematographer, editor, creative director, the entrepreneur. Who is Courtney on a personal level?
On a personal level, I’m someone who values family above all else. I grew up as the middle child of six children, and am really close with my two sisters and mom. I am also a huge, HUGE dog lover. My husband and I rescued a dog named Mouse last year and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. He’s quickly become part of the family, and I can’t imagine my life without him. He’s a miniature pinscher mix, and he’s absolutely insane, but we love him like a son. I’ve also been a movie fanatic for as long as I can remember. Some of my first memories ever are of going to the movie theater. I would go every weekend, and it was always the highlight of the week. Back then, the internet wasn’t widespread, no one had computers at home, there was no Netflix. People went to the movies on Friday night, and there was this palpable positive energy and excitement that is hard to describe. Every night at the theater felt like an event, a moment to connect with the community through sitting together and receiving stories from the big screen.
You’ve worked on some pretty major projects for some pretty big people (ahhemmm: Beyonce!) Can you describe what it’s like to reach that level and how to stay humble during all of it?
I remember when I got the call for the Beyoncé job. The person on the phone was being pretty cryptic, and said that they got my name from a friend who recommended me, and that the job was for post supervising an upcoming HBO film for a huge celebrity. They wouldn’t tell me who it was until I got to the office. I walked in, and the she was: a big photograph of Queen Bey herself. At first I felt incredibly excited, which was immediately followed by incredible nervousness. To be honest, I wasn’t a super-fan and only knew the songs I’ve heard on the radio. My experience working for her is one that I will never forget, and throughout the process I actually became a genuine fan. As everyone knows, she’s an incredibly hardworking and inspiring woman, one I am proud to have worked with. Working for someone like her just makes you want to be better at your craft. To keep pushing for your art and keep trying to evolve. The experience definitely made me feel like almost anything is possible if you keep pushing yourself, and to remain open to new experiences. It was great to just be in that environment, and try to soak in as much as I could.
Have you ever had to compromise your own ethos for a project, especially under a powerful creative director?
I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve never had to compromise my own beliefs for any project I’ve been involved in. However, of course there have been times when I didn’t agree with the direction of the project, or thought that there was a better way to make the project work. In those situations, I usually present two options. One: the way that the client wants it, and two: the way that I think works better. I feel like giving the client what they asked for is very important, because I’ve been hired to do that. But I’ve also been hired for my skill set and my own creative vision. So it’s incredibly important to me to present that as an option as well. The best situation is when you can work together to come to a sort of fusion of both your ideas and visions. That’s the thing that I truly love most about filmmaking, and editing. It’s so collaborative. It’s a bringing together of minds, people who are experts at their specific craft. Everyone bringing something special to the table to create art together. It’s so exciting to me. At the end of the project, you see so much of yourself in it, but you also get to see the amazing things that other creative people have infused in the final product.
So with all of this incredible opportunity and impressive resume, tell us why you decided to break away and start your own company, The Electric Feels?
It’s something that my husband Mark and I have talked about for a long time, but the time never really felt right. Last summer I ended up leaving my full-time editing job at a big ad agency to go freelance, and then shortly after my husband did the same. And everything sort of just fell into place. We both felt like it was time that we took all the skills we’ve learned over the years at the great places we’ve worked, and put them into practice doing our own thing, together. It’s really freeing to get the opportunity to work for yourself, and be the creative driving force behind every project you’re working on. Mark is an extremely talented graphic designer and creative director, and I’m a seasoned video editor and videographer. So we thought if we joined forces, we could have a company that could offer so many different things to potential clients. We’re also just so excited by the prospect of working together as a team.
What is your best advice for readers looking to break into this competitive industry?
My best advice for anyone trying to break into the film industry or the advertising industry is to really pursue the exact thing that you want to be doing. I noticed that when many of my colleagues were starting out, they sort of got stuck in the field in which they got their first job. So be really sure about what you want to do, and go hard at pursuing that thing. Because once you’re in, it’s really hard to switch to something else. Also NETWORK.
This is probably the most important thing you can do. Meet other like minded individuals, and build a team of people you trust and like to work with. Almost every job I’ve ever gotten was by recommendation. So make friends, do great work for those friends, and you will keep on getting recommended for things you didn’t even know were possible. And lastly, stay creative. Keep making things. For so long, I stopped creating my own work and fell into a creative rut. But once I forced myself out of it, I had this amazing burst of energy and put out some of the best work I’ve ever made. Now I make sure that I’m always working on a personal project on the side.
What’s next for you, Courtney?
There are two things that are next for me. One is to keep growing The Electric Feels. I want to keep telling people’s stories, and to keep creating work that my clients are proud of, and that I’m proud of. It’s such an exciting time, because it’s the first time that I’m working for myself completely. We’re just starting out, but I hope we continue to grow and that I get the chance to keep creating. The second thing is to finally make my own feature film. It’s been a dream of mine since I was 10 years old, and it’s one that I finally want to realize. I’ve been working on a script and I hope to have a first draft done by summer. I have been reflecting a lot on how much moviegoing meant to me as a kid. It gave me so much in so many ways, and my hope is to make other people feel the way that I felt when watching movies. I want to make my 10 year old self proud.
Interviewed by Emily