We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Villalovos and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brandon, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I think if you are a creative person in any regard and you enjoy expressing yourself at a young age, a creative career ends up choosing you. I found myself conflicted growing up and entering adulthood, going to college, and associating with non creative people in my life wondering if I was sort of an outcast for believing that I could pick up a camera and know that at some point it would be a mainstay in my life and a way to live on top of that. Of course, that did not happen overnight, but being persistent and having role models and seeing other creative people succeed in any form was, and still is, a real indicator that it can become a reality. I realized in my younger years that doctors and lawyers listen to music, watch movies, buy art, and more, so that means those artists have a place in the world and are just as valid as any other career path.

What should our readers know about your business?
After years of working as a freelance camera person on various projects and scope, I created Sleepless Format with Mike Williamson in 2018.

It was a big leap to hand over creative control as a one man show working for others and enter a creative marriage with someone else. I didn’t know him that long before we went all in as Sleepless Format, but our minds clicked instantly and our styles, background, and aspirations were undeniably a match made in artistic heaven.

Fellow freelancers are no strangers to the grind of it all. Getting jobs is not easy and there’s really no formula to it. It’s easy to constantly second guess your worth, your ability to market yourself and at the most, work on projects you are excited about. Almost instantly we took on music videos jobs for accomplished artists with real budgets and found our groove in that world. That wasn’t the plan at all, but that’s what happened. Fast forward a couple years now and we have produced videos for artists of nearly every genre and each one is a wild journey in itself.

We stay true to our DIY background but when you have a budget to play with, it feels like anything is possible. And we’ve found out anything is doable if you know how to execute it. We take pride in the crews we hire giving us feedback as positive company to work with the artists enjoy our work ethic and work flow. We try not to take ourselves too seriously.

So to tie it all in, Sleepless Format’s business plan has been entirely word of mouth for almost 3 years. We have about 80% repeat clients and 100% new clients are referred. It’s been a dream.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have to give the East Side of LA and LA County some high recommendations. Pasadena is a magical town that has a lot to offer. You can go on a hike to Mt.Wilson with hundreds of miles of views. There’s the Old Pasadena in the downtown area that has great restaurants, parks, and sights to see.

Hop on the Gold Line to South Pasadena and check out Videotheque if you’re a film nerd. Go one corner down and wait for your train across from the Halloween house.

Thai Town in East Hollywood has amazing, you guessed it, Thai food for cheap. My favorite Spot is Torung and it’s only a few blocks walk to Griffith Park.

But if you want to drive about 35 minutes East, I recommend a little town called Claremont. Most people haven’t heard of it but it’s a creative post-war oasis at the edge of LA County. It’s picturesque and has developed a tenfold since I was a teenager growing up there.

Last, just drive 15 miles up from Claremont to Mt.Baldy and take the ski lifts to the Notch. it’s the closest place around to go 10,000 feet up and see Southern California from below. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Three people come to mind in serving as a force of inspiration for me. First is Mike Williamson, a talented Director of Photography and co-founder of Sleepless Format. Mike has unveiled a whole new world of production that has made the last 2 years possible in regards to making top notch music videos and other projects come to life that I would have otherwise not been able to make. He’s helped me step away from the camera and focus on developing a directorial style that pairs with his skills and is a signature look for what you see coming out of Sleepless Format.

Second is Bart Vandever, a documentarian/producer/director. Bart gave me my first real gig right out of college working on his first feature film called Talons. We hit it off and have been collaborating ever since—going on 8 years now. Bart has always encouraged me and our creative relationship has evolved from crew to collaborators and I find myself learning from him everyday.

Third is my college professor and award winning documentarian/director Alan Bloom. I was pursuing journalism when I got lumped in a documentary filmmaking class he was instructing and I those short months under his guidance I made my first documentary and earned his approval in many ways. We don’t talk much as the years have gone by, but he is the real deal old-school filmmaker who taught me about the importance of storytelling during a time when gear was all the hype.

Website: Sleeplessformat.com

Instagram: @sleeplessformat

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.