We had the good fortune of connecting with Connor Scofield and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Connor, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I look at risk as an opportunity for growth both personally and professionally. Taking risks is the foundation for how I’ve learned from my failures or realized my true abilities and potential. In life and business, there have been numerous times where I did not know what I was doing or getting into, but went for it anyway. Most of these instances would turn out successful in the end, but not without a lot of hurdles and learnings. Even when I did not fully succeed, the outcome was never a complete failure.
I think that’s important for people to realize since many are afraid of taking risks and sticking to their comfort zone of what they already know. Overcoming adversity helps shape your personality to and builds confidence in yourself; especially when you put that adversity upon yourself to start.
I remember not knowing a thing about VFX or CGI when my first VFX project opportunities came to my door. Instead of saying, “Oh we don’t do that type of work” or “We don’t know how to”, I took it upon myself to learn the process, terminology, vendors, and artists that would help me succeed and become knowledgable in this space. The mindset that “I took this on and I can’t fail on behalf of my client” lit a fire in me to make sure we did everything we could to be successful, and if we weren’t in the end, then I did all I could do. Thankfully the project was a success and led to many more VFX based projects and the start of our VFX department.
Of course some risks aren’t always worth taking on; especially if it’s a financial risk. You need to do a cost-benefit analysis and really ask yourself “what’s the purpose of taking this risk on?”. I’ve taken on some lower budget VFX projects to get in-the-door with new clients which ran the risk of losing money. While that work may not have been as profitable, or even lost us money, the final product was so great that it led to more business and new clients to offset that effect. Maybe someone asks you do to low-budget or pro-bono work for them; is there a potential for you to get in front of a new client for future business? I’m always a proponent for getting paid your worth, but sometimes your worth can be recognized in that 1st bout and catapult you from there. Just don’t get stuck in a constant cycle of ‘favors’ or ‘carrot dangles’!
Take risks, fail often, learn from your mistakes, & be genuine.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career has been ever-evolving from the start. I was first a camera operator editing my own work and making ski movies for fun with my now business partners. After college, I decided to focus on sports broadcasting between the ski movie productions. I was hired as a steadicam operator for a football league in Las Vegas and was quickly promoted to producer for all of the league’s media. That position wore many hats and taught me more about pre-production, live game production into post, and curating promotional content around all of it. It was a place where I truly cut my teeth with the grind of 7 day work weeks and sleepless nights in a highly demanding, time-sensitive environment. It taught me invaluable lessons upon returning to Stept Studios and building the post-production department from the bottom up. Having wore most hats in production and post, I know what it feels like to be at the bottom working your way up and I take that to heart with my staff. This industry is highly-demanding so it’s important to be empathetic with others knowing what they’re going through, while also pushing them to be their best and create the best possible product. Last minute revisions, aggressive clients, and all-nighters can bog people down, so be good to others and lend a hand. It always comes back full circle in the end with dividends.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m definitely a South Bay guy through-and-through. We’d start with my local watering holes in El Segundo, The Standard Station or The Richmond Bar & Grill. After tossing back a few cold ones, we’d head to El Porto to soak up some rays and party waves. After we’d bike the beach path during the sunset to either Manhattan / Hermosa Beach (anywhere by the pier) or north to Playa Del Rey for dinner at Bacari. At night we would either hit a sports event at SoFi stadium or a show at one of my favorite venues in in the city: 1720, The Novo, The Wiltern, Shrine, or Exchange (to name a short few).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my best friends and business partners who started this journey with me at the age of 15: Nick Martini, Alex Martini, and Cam Riley. Through the years we’ve grinded it out together to figure out what works and what doesn’t, building a business from the ground up. It’s pretty rare to be able to grow a company to scale with your friends and compliment each other in the overall vision year over year. There are so many intangible moments that have taught me to be a better person, artist, friend, and business owner, all thanks to these guys.
I also want to give a shoutout to my mother and late father who have supported my dreams in media since I was a kid. My father’s entrepreneurial spirit and my mother’s compassion are embedded in me and the way I conduct business daily.
Last but not least; I want to give a shoutout to all of the Stept Studios family and creatives I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined from school or books, just from the daily interaction and collaboration of all the awesome people connected to us.