We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Celia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, what do you attribute your success to?
Do good work. It’s the mantra we always try to adhere to. There are times when that’s hard, or when circumstances prevent you from feeling like you’ve done your best work, but ultimately we’ve always wanted to create good work over making money. We’ll sometimes dip into our own pockets to give a job that extra thing that we think is going to be important to make it a success for us and for our clients.
I think that your brand is always judged by the work that’s created. It’s the same way when I hire folks to collaborate with. I always ask to take a look at their work and judge them accordingly. We’ve been so lucky to work with great brands and talent and I think that’s created a body of work that I’m really proud of, but we continue to push. I know that every future job we get is going to depend on what we’ve done before, and that’s not easy when working in an industry like immersive cinema where a lot hasn’t been done before. So I think the key here is to show a consistent quality level with high end talent and that’s directly led to the success we’re experiencing today.
What should our readers know about your business?
Light Sail VR is a commercial production company specializing in crafting immersive stories. We primarily work with brands, agencies, and studios on the cutting edge of immersive storytelling. It’s always a challenge to push forward from both a storytelling and creative side, as well as a technical side.
On the creative front, getting folks to think in 360 and collaborate on the language and best way to tell that story is still challenging. Part in parcel with that is the fact that technology is very new and it takes a lot of resources to create something at the professional level in which we operate. It hasn’t been easy. A lot of our time is spent researching and developing techniques, learning new software, failing a lot, and losing quite a bit of sleep in the process. I like to think that we can work out any problem and in the 5 years we’ve been in business that has been true.
At the end of the day, we always need a creative reason to push forward the tech. We love working at the very edges of technology (8K stereoscopic, 60fps media) but if only 100 people can experience it, it’s not that interesting to us. We want to create content for a wide audience, and that means accessibility as well as a balancing of resources. Having a frank discussion with our clients about their goals at the start of every project has probably killed a few ideas, but at the end of the day we want our clients to be as thrilled with the work as we are and that just doesn’t happen if, for example, we are trying to fit a 2D story into an immersive world.
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 love Los Angeles, but it took me about a decade to appreciate it. I think that’s because a lot of the gems are hidden, so here is my short list.
First, I think Los Angeles is the best food city in the country. It’s got the perfect mix of super fresh ingredients, innovative chefs, and people who cook for their neighborhood (as the late Jonathan Gold would say) rather than critics. You can really find anything. So eating is an absolute must and you don’t need to spend a fortune to do so. I don’t know if these spots will survive the pandemic and that makes me really sad. I’ve taken to ordering takeout (call them direct!) at least once a week and tip generously. There are my favs, but here is a list of food places I’d order for guests: Smorgasburg in downtown Los Angeles is a popup food dream. The Grand Central market is also a cool spot with some delicious choices for the undecided. My favorite French bakery is La Tropezienne on La Brea in mid city. Cofax on Fairfax has the most stellar breakfast burritos. Hi-Ho Cheeseburger is amazing (especially their Willie Mae fried chicken sandwich). And pretty much any taco truck in the city is phenomenal, especially the one that parks outside the Vons on Alvarado near Sunset. You see, it’s not fancy stuff, but it is delicious.
As a father of two daughters, I don’t get out to drink much, but I’m a huge fan of The Varnish on 6th and Main St in downtown. Excellent cocktails, great atmosphere. Just get there early so you don’t have to wait.
I tend to stay away from Hollywood and all that showbiz stuff and for activities just enjoy the spectacular weather. Some highlights would be building a beach bonfire at Dockwiler beach, check out the Studio City farmers market on Sundays, visit the Getty museum and enjoy the view from the garden.
Lot’s to do here, I can’t wait for the city to open back up from the pandemic. 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?
I’d like to shoutout my dad. When we were just starting the business and things were rocky (like 1 month away from losing it all) he told me to put my head down and stick with it rather than throw in the towel. That advice was really important in helping me be where I am today.