We had the good fortune of connecting with Samson Binutu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samson, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
This is a great question! I began working at a very young age. My first job was at 14 years old working at McDonald’s and that was my introduction of what it felt like to work a 9-5. Time in equals pay out. I didn’t like the idea of it initially but I knew I had to do what I had to do to make money. Working while maturing as a young man shaped how I saw my time, freedom, and flexibility. There was a lack of control of my time that I did not like at all. However, I am a firm believer of everything having a season. Although I did not like working for another person/company, it taught me so much about myself. Five 9-5s later, I am now self-employed and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Outside of being able to control my time, I started my own business to give our services to as many businesses as possible that we align with. I love story-telling and being able to do that for businesses for a living is a dream. Also, I am a big advocator for providing opportunities especially for people of color. Being self-employed, we get to choose who we collaborate with on projects. My heart is for the community so every chance I get to teach or employ, I do it.Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love, love, love creating. A little context behind my artistic upbringing, my father was a musician and he played a variety of instruments. He played the trumpet, guitar, piano, and sang. I grew up around music and it’s actually my first love above filmmaking. I played the trumpet and drums growing up so that was how I formally expressed myself. Music plays a MAJOR role in the inspiration behind a lot of the art I create today. I play music all the time because it keeps me imagining. When and if ideas come as I am listening, I take out my phone/notebook and jot the ideas down. As an artist, I think it is important to know your process so you can do the process every time to keep you inspired and sharp.
Now, let’s talk about how I got into photography. This was back in the year 2011 when life was simple lol. I have a friend by the name of Deborah Euzebio that was taking a photography class around that time. Everywhere we would go, she would bring her camera along. It was an Olympus E-42o. One day, I asked her if I could use it out of curiosity and initially hated it because I did not know how to work it lol. However, I asked her to teach me and once I was able to understand how to use it, I fell in love instantly. I ended up buying the same exact camera and began my discovery from there. I remember telling myself I wanted to be a landscape photographer and that became boring very quickly. I never wanted to shoot people for some reason, I don’t remember why lol. I was always into fashion so I thought fashion photography would make the most sense to me. Fast forward, I was into fashion photography from about 2013-2019 creating work that I am still very proud of. One thing out of many things I have learned is to not be afraid to be an amateur. Most of us are super hard on ourselves when we are not good at something in a short time span. That is not how learning a skill works. It takes years and countless hours to become a professional at anything. During those years, there was work I was not proud of but it was fun learning and that is what it is all about. Learning your craft while enjoying the process of learning you and it.
2019 is when I made the leap into filmmaking. Although I loved photography, I wanted to branch out and challenge myself a bit more with motion pictures. I shot weddings, promo videos, commercials, events, and all that lol. I knew I had to learn what I like vs what I don’t like and the only way to know that is by trying my hand at those things. As I continued doing those things, my eye developed, my taste developed and my shooting/editing style matured. Over time, I began giving myself passion projects to create based on what my heart was yearning to create at that moment. These were my favorite moments because you are not asking permission to create. You just create and put the work out. These are the moments I get to use my art to speak on my behalf and people were very receptive to it. Fast forward to this day, I am still creating passion projects as my values, voice, and passion change.
The biggest advice I want to give to anyone reading this is to start. Period. I know fear is a real thing and you will definitely feel that and honestly, I don’t know if it truly ever goes away but courage becomes easier to embody. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BE AN AMATEUR. You will make mistakes, you will make things you are not proud of, you will not get paid immediately but do it anyway. Do it for yourself. People may not always be there to encourage you so be your biggest cheerleader.If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hmm, I would take them to some of my favorite food spots in DC. I think the community you have honestly makes the area fun vs going to fun places lol but that’s me.Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
God. God deserves all the recognition in this story because, without Him, I would not where I am today. I put my trust in Him and He continues to lead me into the unknown.
I would like to thank my wife Katrina Binutu for being my number one fan. Thank you for always believing in me even when I did not believe in myself at times. I love you, babe! I would like to thank my family for always encouraging me to be myself and to seek after things that genuinely make me happy. Lastly, I would like to thank all my friends who challenge me and make me better in all ways. As a son, a husband, a friend, and a brother. You all are true MVPs.
Instagram: @samsonbinutu @cruefilms
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Headshot by Othello Banaci.