Ben Gattegno is a 28-year-old adventure videographer currently residing in London. Working as Head of Video Production for Contiki, Ben has covered an incredible 350,000 km's in the last 24 months. That’s a lazy eight times around the world, or one journey to the moon. If you’re looking for the kind of job that pays you to travel the world, creating incredible content as you’re doing so, they don’t come much better than this…
Where has your job/personal life taken you in your career and how did it all begin?
To be honest, it’s been a total journey. I graduated university in 2008 with a Bachelor degree in business majoring in advertising and applied for a job with a business-coaching firm in Brisbane. At the time I thought I really wanted it, so when I didn’t get the position it felt like the end of the world. 3 months later I came across an ad for a graphic design course. Little did I know this would be the turning point of my career.
My first design job saw me designing event posters and company branding. Part of the company also hosted music events, so being really into indie music at the time, I persuaded my boss to run a band night called Petty Thieves. I set up a Petty Thieves blog, and began creating content – things like interviewing interesting Australians who had awesome jobs. The blog began to gain serious traffic, so I took the plunge, moved to Sydney, bought myself a Canon 7D, and started working on Petty Thieves full time. Before I knew it I was creating content for the likes of Red Bull and MTV, with an office and several staff.
We were contacted by Contiki to create some video content for them, and after building up a year 2 relationship I was offered the role of Head Video Director, based here in London.
What qualities do you think employers look for?
Creativity, perseverance, and ability to work in a fast-paced environment whether it’s independently or with your team. You need to be confident in your approach, reliable and hard-working.
How do you think the digital landscape is changing? Do you think there are more opportunities for young aspiring videographers than there were before?
One of the biggest changes is the decreasing cost of camera hardware and software, making the production of video content more accessible to the masses. Competition is stronger but at the same time people are consuming video more and more, so the industry needs more content creators to meet this demand. People also care less about the quality of video content – think about all those grainy Facebook videos that go crazy viral – and are more connected to the story and the person behind, or in front of the camera.
YouTube is obviously the main driver here. YouTubers content doesn’t necessarily need to have a high production value, but because they are letting their audiences into their world, people become connected and form an attachment, and it’s this super engaged audience that brands are looking for. This is where the shift began, as companies began to realise there’s greater value working with influencers than with production companies. Sure the content wasn’t as slick, but it’s being put in front of millions of fans from a source who’s opinion they trust. Fast forward today, and you have influencers like Devin Supertramp, who creates top quality branded content that he feeds to his millions of subscribers generating millions of organic views.
So the landscape is saturated, sure, but it’s also a gold mine of opportunity. If you’re starting out or are interested in video production, look at creating your own channel, blog or website where you can create and publish content. I follow Phillip Bloom – he has loads of tutorials online. Now is the time us small timers can compete with the big, bad ass agencies, so don’t feel daunted, just do it – it’s never too late.
What’s the most memorable project you have worked on?
I would have to say working with Team Supertramp on the Amalfi Coast. I spent a week before the shoot navigating the coastline driving a boat looking for the biggest and best cliffs to jump off, and we then flew in Devin, his team and a crew of professional cliff divers. We seriously had the trip of a lifetime. Watching these guys jump off of 80+ foot cliffs was something special. It also performed really well online – now with over 2 million views. Watch the video here.
5 HELPFUL TIPS TO BECOMING A VIDEOGRAPHER
- Look for a mentor and work with someone who is better than you so you can learn from them.
- Research, research, research. I have spent a lifetime reading absolutely everything online. We are so lucky to have the information available so easily.
- Be organised & professional, and always have a positive attitude. You want to be someone that people enjoy working with.
- Work full time for at least two years. Even if you want to freelance or work on your own, the experience you gain from working full time is worth it.
- Create your own content, don’t wait for someone to give you a job. Get out there, start filming and publish it to your own channels. People will then come to you.
- Pack your bag – then halve it. You never need to take as much equipment / clothes as you think you need.
- Always be prepared for Customs – Have a story and stick to it, know your rights and don’t lie. I’ve found Canada, the UK, USA & Peru customs to be the most difficult. Have a proof of ownership for your equipment too. Countries like Peru will think you are bringing electronics into the country to sell and therefore want to charge you tax.
- Think about what you wear through the airport. I like to wear no metals, shoes that are easy to take off and on and comfortable clothes that are warm. This makes going through security so much easier and guarantees you won’t freeze on the plane.
IS THIS THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD?
Yes! It is absolutely the best job in the world, but it’s also extremely busy and full on. Definitely not all cocktails on the beach!
Follow Ben Gattegno’s adventures around the world on Instagram as a content creator and videographer. He really does have the best job in the world…
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, youtube.com/contiki to see Ben’s work for Contiki.