Making Your Career from Passion: Carlo Alberto Orecchia Shares His Insights on Creative Business

I feel incredibly lucky that my passions became my career.

2016-04-19-1461100208-9682416-zoe.jpg
With Zoe Kravitz

Professionals working in the arts are almost always working independently--true entrepreneurs refining their craft with every new piece, project, and era. Sometimes this creativity is manifest in a 16 year-long battle between tree and marble, sometimes it morphs into creative philanthropy to give back some of that hard-earned acclaim. The common denominator to all of these independent artists is passion, and when the artist can truly excel as an entrepreneur is when he or she can channel that passion into a business both in high demand and true to their art.

Carlo Alberto Orecchia--native to Mantova, Italy--does exactly that. His career has been about marrying his passions for filmmaking and photography with business acumen. After studying marketing and business in Italy, he moved to Hollywood to start up CAOPictures in 2011. He makes his move sound simple:

I started from the very bottom--trying to connect with talented people and learn from them, always working as hard as possible. I still haven't slowed down today. I always do the best I can to push my skills and passion and get to the next level.

But it is fair to say that Carlo has worked incredibly hard to satisfy his creativity while running his own successful business. With more than a few Emmy's under his belt, Carlo directs commercials, food shows, travel and lifestyle shows, documentaries and music videos for various entities. Besides that, his still photography business is going strong--working with celebrities and advertising campaigns. And today Carlo is traveling the world--this time in front of the camera, hosting a pizza travel show. He tells us how.

2016-04-19-1461100235-1499600-IMG_4489.jpeg
On set with comedian Lil Rel and actress Amber Stevens West.

Steve Mariotti: When did you first think of yourself as an entrepreneur?
Carlo Alberto Orecchia:
In a place like Los Angeles, you can find so many talented people who know their crafts so well. With my producers, we try to put together always the best team for the job, incredibly skilled passionate people that will make the difference. Every production, even the smallest one, is like a company, always starting from just an idea, going through all the steps, sales, business plans, human resources, creation, execution, marketing, etc, to end with the final product. Every step always very exciting.

SM: You've clearly had great success but can you recall an important failure along the way?
CAO:
When I think of events that didn't go well or as I had planned, I don't call them failures. I call them learning experiences. Every time something ends outside of my expectations, for many different reasons, I feel it's the natural way of teaching us what could have been done better and improved, what could have been differently, or what could have been avoided. In that way, every experience is bringing you more expertise that you can use for your next project.

2016-04-19-1461100459-1157989-mixingtable.png
On a commercial set with actor Andrew West ('The Walking Dead').

SM: What inspires you?
CAO:
I feel incredibly lucky i met wonderful people who taught me many things in many different areas. I learned so much and I keep learning from working with masters like Fredrik Bond, Eric Curtis and Kuaku Alston, Fred Segal, Nick Nanton, Peter Diamandis. Also very inspired by the classic Italian directors and the best film directors of all time. I often watch these great classics with my friends.

2016-04-19-1461100355-3322101-HeadshotcreditEricCurtis.jpeg
Photo Credit: Eric Curtis

SM: What would you like to say to young people interested in pursuing a career like your own?
CAO:
Sometimes I meet people who just arrived in LA and want to start their career in the entertainment. It is very challenging because everybody is doing pretty much the same things. The competition is insane. I usually say:

Be so good that they can't ignore you.

Find your own style and niche. Be unique in what you do.

Try to say YES and be open to all the opportunities you can encounter. In my own experience, every job -- even the smallest ones -- brought me to wonderful people and led to a series of other amazing jobs. There is a chain reaction to these things -- and I couldn't be more grateful for that!