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Meet Andrew Denaro of Studio Denaro in Boulder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Denaro.

Andrew, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Where the business began? Hmm. It’s hard to tell, really. I think of the operatives that come to mind: desperation, inspiration, perspiration, cooperation…

Just out of film school in Chicago, I applied to work for production companies around the country. After weeks of tightening ties, pressing pants and wiping snow off my shoes, I was left empty handed. I kept at it, but ultimately the search left me disheartened about working in the industry. How can I make it if I can’t even get a job?! After a few months, it was time to throw in the towel and settle for something, anything to bring in some money. What was it? Pushing carts at Home Depot: Desperation.

Know that I am a creative first. At the end of the day, I need to produce something. This urge kept driving me toward my own productions and small side projects here and there. I thought whether there is a paycheck or not, I have two choices with the hours given to me each day. I either shoot or I don’t shoot -might as well be shooting. One day, I went in for an interview for an unpaid internship at a company twenty miles away (you do the math on the daily gas bill). I go in and they have lights haphazardly held up by PVC pipes, loose paper everywhere and their shirts weren’t even tucked in! Like a typical hot-headed, idealistic new hire, I thought to myself, “Why would I pay these people to work for them. I can do this better myself.” Enter day one of my own business: Inspiration.

Day one was a lot of typing, building a business plan and developing a trajectory that could bring the business to the top. How do I break into this industry? How do I convince people to trust this silly kid and write me a check? I can’t tell you enough how much I couldn’t help but focus on that end result- the depositing of that check. The artist in me was dying as my mind focused more and more on the money. A new set of operatives took over: advertising, market shares, time management, assets, balance sheets, debt consolidation, bankruptcy. One word of wisdom to budding creatives out there looking to start their own business. Go to business school. The art will come with practical knowledge and practice. Business school will prepare you for actually succeeding in this world.

Once again, I was forced to get a job to make ends meet. Say hello Mike’s Camera! Side PSA: Go there. Don’t buy your stuff online. Go speak to a pro and get some decent, relevant and honest wisdom passed down. Mike’s Camera in Boulder is where the wheels really started to turn. What changed? What was different? I was neck deep in it. I was surrounded by cameras. Cameras, lights, and more cameras. Every day I was speaking to camera people about cameras. I played with cameras. I dreamt about cameras. This total immersion really helped me understand the market and meet local professionals. This was it. After years of bouncing around, this was my break into the industry: Perspiration.

So, Studio Denaro? What’s that about? Why the name? During this tumultuous time building, learning and growing, I rekindled a relationship with my high-school sweetheart and got married. In one day, we went from just two kids in love to Mr. and Mrs. Denaro. Time to grow up. If you couldn’t tell from what you’ve already read, my mind is kind of a scatter-puff. I’m a dreamer at heart. My sweetheart, on the other hand, is a realist. Her feet are planted firmly on the ground. These ground dwellers are frustrating to us dreamers because they’re always popping our balloons and bringing us back down to earth. It was hard for me to come to terms with this. It frustrated me, and who knows when things changed, but eventually I caved in. I’ll always say one of the best lines to live by is from Rocky, “She’s got gaps, I’ve got gaps. Together, we fill gaps.” Everyone should take this to heart. Alone we are weak, but together we can make it to the moon. My special lady introduced me to my gaps, filled my gaps and helped me understand my contribution in filling her gaps.

So, there we were, both working our 9-5’s, coming home and working on the business until we passed out. We loved spending time together and we wanted to travel. With our photo/video business, we could accomplish these goals. Together, we could accomplish these goals: Cooperation.

Let’s talk a bit more about the challenges you’ve had to overcome.
Want to start a career in the visual media industry? I’ve got an idea for you. I call it my descendant-of-a-dentist philosophy. Meaning, if you are the child of a dentist, it will be a lot easier for you to become a dentist. You’ll be surrounded with dentistry from an early age. You’ll go to dentist conventions with your parent and you’ll meet lots of people in that field. You’ll essentially be interning before you even realize it. By the time you graduate medical school, you’ll have a job lined up and clients knocking at your door.

I think the same applies for many creative industries. Sure, you need to learn the basics and practice the proper techniques, but true success in this industry will come from being face to face with others doing actual work. School is important, but knowledge is key. With each production, I developed skills in a real-life setting. This practical experience, in my opinion, provided me with more knowledge than any lecture could. In this day of internet education, YouTube, Udemy, Lynda, etc…information is everywhere. Get out there, meet people and sift through the aggregate of information to learn the proper modern techniques in order to accomplish your goals.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Studio Denaro – what else should we know?
Studio Denaro comprises mainly of a creative husband and wife team. The goals my wife and I bring to each production are simple. We want to work together, we want to meet and interact with interesting people, we want to share the emotions that make their stories meaningful and we want to travel. Any production that happens outside of our small apartment accomplishes these goals. Easy.

At Studio Denaro, we concentrate on the quality of the final product but focus on the moment at hand. The balance my wife and I bring to each production provide us with eyes on each aspect. Together, we make sure the lights are set just right, the camera angle is perfect and the person in front of the frame is comfortable to deliver their best self.

We understand that being in front of the camera is a raw and revealing moment. We strive to capture that perfect fleeting emotion and make sure our subjects feel as comfortable as possible.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Studio Denaro is a full-service production studio of everything visual. We produce photos and videos for any application. We have a close adherence to a time-tested creative process.

We begin with careful story development. This step is centered around listening and diligent note-taking. We pay attention and absorb the messages, interests, and dreams of our clients.

Next, we develop a plan. The key to repeated successful productions is structure and foundation. We create our plan to maximize efficiency, compensate for contingency and minimize the client’s investment. Remember, just because we carefully construct a detailed plan, doesn’t mean we can’t throw it out during production should a unicorn fly across our frame. We understand you must also be open to the creative moment.

Production is a step executed with care and attention. We wake up early, focus on the plan for the day and work hard to accomplish the desired goals. We practice leave-no-trace production practices to keep things clean. We are kind to our locations and develop lasting relationships with the communities where we operate.

Post-production is where everything comes together. This is where the house is finally built. It’s where the image is realized or the film actually flows through time. Post-production is so important, so the technology we use these days is state-of-the-art and keeps us on the forefront of the visual frontier.

All of this work would be for nothing without this last step: delivery. We want our collaborative project showcased as much as those paying for it, so we make sure to help in the delivery and implementation of our work. We will be with you until the very end until the goal is achieved.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All images copyright Studio Denaro.

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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