We’re not quite sure what you’ve been up to exactly if you’ve never heard Matt Komo’s name or stumbled upon his work. Matt started his career at GoPro, where he worked on the social media team, and then continued his career as a freelance filmmaker, scoring a client base of successful DJs that includes such lauded names as Tiësto, Chainsmokers, and Grey.
What has Matt done differently to reach this level at the young age of 25? What are some of the things he has learned over the last couple of years to become one of the most sought-after videographers and, also, his own boss? We sat down recently to discuss it on FaceTime.
Making it to these career heights so young means you probably paid the price somewhere along the way. Matt didn’t just get lucky or buy his way into the business—it took him 13+ years of refining his craft to get to the point where he is now. Contributing much of his growth to his unending work ethic, he seized every opportunity he could. “Just like any skill, I was not good at [videography] in the beginning. I just had a feeling that I could do this and eventually become great at it.” Matt said.
Over the years, Matt not only developed just the professional skillset and knowledge he needed for his field, but also he developed the mindset adjustment required to become a key player in the industry. “My goal is always to try and understand where people are coming from. To not only have empathy but to know the reasons why people do what they do,” Matt said. “I try my best to not rest too much on my achievements or on the excitement of the people I work with.” This is a huge part of his success. No matter how influential the people are he works with, he doesn’t let it go to his head.
For Matt, he realized the only way you can get to the top is by putting out a high-quality product consistently. Also by being reliable and trustworthy. “Once you break through, it’s kind of like a snowball effect,” says Matt. “Just try to be a good person, who does good work, and do it consistently.”
Matt is a hard worker, but he is not too hard on himself. When I ask him if he’s ever critical when he watches his previous work, he says, “Your idea of perfection is always changing, so you can only do your best at the available moment. My best two years ago is not the same as it is right now. Now, I look at it, and I see that this cut is not good, but I wasn’t at that point of my expertise at that time to even do it. I’m sure it will be the same five years from now when I look back at the things I am making now.” The lesson here? Don’t be so hard on yourself and realize that you will continue to grow and improve if you put the work in.
“I don’t necessarily think working harder is always the key,” says Matt. “I used to think that for a long time, but at some point, there’s just no more gas left in the tank.” Matt figured out the formula that works best for him, and sometimes that can mean taking on fewer projects in order to deliver the best product. Even when touring with a big name like Tiësto, he also still finds time to prioritize his workout routine.
Matt’s thoughts on touring. “It’s tricky because you are working when they are working, because you are filming their performance. But when they are done working they are done for the most part,” says Matt. “For me, I have to go back, charge and organize my cameras, transfer my memory cards, and edit. I did the touring lifestyle for a bit–I am only 25, why not? It’s a good experience, but it’s not a sustainable life. It’s about finding that fine line.”
What makes his lifestyle sustainable now? The people who are by his side and support him. “For me, it’s my parents, really close friends, and my peers,” says Matt. “Your parents see it from a macro level because they’ve raised you and know your journey from the start to the present. Your close friends are the ones who can really relate to your life at its current state because most likely they are the same age going through similar things. And then your peers can also function as a support system from a generalized point of view.” Matt learned early on that you can’t wait for your parents to give you advice when you reach a roadblock in your professional career. “I turn to different people for advice depending on what the situation is. In the end, though, you have to trust your gut to make the best decision for you because you are the only one who really knows all the variables involved.”
In the end, only you can make the best decisions about how to live your life. When I asked Matt what was the biggest price he has paid for success, he answered, “Friendships. Not everybody on your journey will understand the path you are on. Only you really know what is best for you. You have your own idea of success and the choices you’ve made to get there. You have to be confident enough in yourself to choose that.”
When it comes to his career, he is at a turning point. “Nowadays, I’m doing a lot more directing,” Matt said. “There are different avenues I can go down with this skillset; I just need to figure out what the best avenue is for me. Bigger videos, a series, a movie?”
“Nobody really knows what’s next,” says Matt. “The content world moves so incredibly fast. It’s always evolving. Eight years ago, social media wasn’t really around. Who knows what’s going to be here eight years from now? You just need to stand on your toes and do your best to anticipate the next wave.”
Matt is an inspiring example of how dedication, hard work, and being a genuine human can really propel your career to unimaginable heights. Having a positive mindset and treating people right can greatly support you on your journey of success.