Westy DN Interview: Scenes with a Digital Nomad Film Director
Armando Costantino, Italian Film Director
How do you start your working day?
Coffee’s not a bad start, checking online either for feedback or new possibilities. Good weather helps. (laughs)
The two biggest pet peeves of your job are…
I’m the boss, so I really can’t complain.
The two perks of doing what you do are…
Um, everything. The fact that I can travel, meet people, see places, increase my life experience- it also comes from other people and their experiences. I learn. I have a huge repertoire now of ‘round table stories’ to tell (laughs). I’m digital, but my life is very grounded in the real world.
How do you find new work or clients? How has it changed from when you first began your job?
Sometimes freelance websites for filmmakers or videos, but right now I have clients that need me to travel and shoot videos for them in international cities. I’ve also adapted my skillset, where some people I meet have requests (websites, for example). It’s a matter of the right place at the right time. If the job doesn’t come to you, go where the job is.
What tips would you give to anyone considering doing what you do?
First: find or discover your own talent. What you’re good at. It depends on your background. I started out directing, and branched out into editing film later. Think about how your interests can apply to work or travel- your ‘moveable skills.’ When you find that skill, which places or countries have a high demand for what you can offer?
Don’t rush, be patient. Not my strong point (laughs). If it doesn’t work, try again. Try harder. Don’t give up after the first rejection.
How tricky is the balance between your social life, personal time and work?
It’s strange, because most of the time it’s mixed. The difference? When you’re in a stable place, you have a routine, things, a personal life- your local bar, your friends. This kind of life…it’s more mixed because after work, you can get to know the people you met that day. You constantly make new connections.
Has being a digital nomad altered your life in any significant way, compared to an ‘office job’?
I never worked in an office, except maybe years ago. But it’s now a challenge every morning. I have more creativity. I’m not stuck. My mind’s opened up to new possibilities a little bit more.
How on earth do you find motivation on lazy days?
Sometimes I don’t (laughs). I take the day off. You can’t work 24-7. I don’t know, it’s good to take time for yourself to get motivated. Taking a walk in a new city, for example.
Who was the strangest client you’ve worked with, or oddest job request?
I’m lucky so far. Nothing strange yet.
What’s the average length of time or days you spend working (i.e. weekends) and is the trade-off worth it?
It’s a complete mess. There are no ‘working hours’ or days. I get lost. I don’t pay attention to what day it is. If it happens to be Sunday, and I have to work, then I do it. If I have a free Monday to work on my documentary or street chalking, I do it.
Name your top three tools of your specific trade- the ones you can’t live without:
An iPhone, without a doubt. My computer, a Dell PC. And my camera. That’s all I need (laughs).
Is there anything you’d change about your digital nomad lifestyle?
No, I think when I started being a digital nomad and using my skills to be able to do it- it gave me happiness. I’m happier now. When you’re unhappy, you look outside- you buy a new plasma or things that give you a false sense of happiness. I don’t need that now.
What’s the most annoying misconception about what you do for a living?
Either that I don’t work, I’m on a ‘permanent vacation,’ or that I’m homeless because I live in a van (laughs).
Describe your ideal client OR your worst nightmare of a client.
My ideal client- they understand my lifestyle, so that if you want to find me, you know not to look in the office or try to call me every 5 minutes. They understand I’ll do the job, and do it well. The worst? They only care about a deadline, not the final product or the quality. It’s irritating.
Any last thoughts, last words you’d like to add for those considering becoming a digital nomad?
Yeah. Think twice (laughs). It’s not as simple as the pictures of the so-called digital nomads you see, a computer on the beach. Not at all.
Have any questions for Armando or about freelance film? Write below or contact us, and we’ll try to answer as much as we can!