Hadleigh Painter

Hadleigh Painter modeling in one of Carlos Crupi's photos.

Sharing a love for the cinematic and soundtrack aspects of music videos, Carlos Crupi turned his interests into a career and continues to achieve his goal through his work of cinematography.

During his junior year at East Carolina University as a student in the College of Business, Crupi wanted to pursue cinematography and hoped to turn it into a stepping stone for his future in film and marketing. Crupi said after a few of his friends recommended him to start making YouTube videos, he bought a GoPro and started posting videos on Instagram to practice and build his portfolio.

“I spent so much time on YouTube watching tutorials and everything I could,” Crupi said. “I was just obsessed with trying to be the best. I think I improve on every project that I worked on. I learn from my mistakes and I'm constantly trying to learn new techniques and tricks as well as investing back into my equipment.”

Crupi was then later contacted by Steve Mims Jr., former trainer of NBA athlete Dennis Smith Jr., to produce content to capture his work. Crupi said from this point on “he hasn’t stopped making videos or continuing to grow.”

After a month of producing, Steve Mims Jr. reached out to Crupi to produce content for him using his Nikon DSLR. Mims is known for training NBA athlete Dennis Smith Jr.

Afterward, Crupi was contacted by the ECU Athletics department to produce social media post for the marketing division.Director of video production at ECU, Brian Meador stated that Crupi stepped right in and continued the cinematic approach that a previous student used in projects created for the football and basketball teams.

Meador said Crupi took on the baseball and softball introduction and hype videos and expanded ECU’s digital footprint and look on game days.

“Carlos’ creativity always stood out, but so did his work ethic,” Meador said. “He is an artist and sometimes artists don’t like to relinquish creative control. Carlos never pushed back on changes that were implemented by the department and never hesitated to re-shoot or re-edit his work.”

Towards the end of March 2017, Crupi was able to talk his way in to produce videos for popular Uptown nightclub, Stilllife, and has been working there ever since. He said that he has produced videos for Stilllife every weekend and said that working with Stilllife was crucial to his growth and it leads him to meet multiple different artists that came there to perform.

“My favorite part about being on the team there is the constant progress and success,” Crupi said. “Every year it's a bigger concert, now it's a festival. I’ve seen the club grow into what it is now and it's great to be apart of the powerful team of people we have and I'm looking forward to what's in store this year.”

Junior religious and Hispanic studies major at ECU, Hadleigh Painter, said she met Crupi through her cousin who works at the nightclub and noticed his videos during the time she was a promoter there and it lead them to become friends. Now modeling for Crupi, Painter states that after working with him and seeing his work ethic and dedication, she hopes he can continue to grow with his career on a bigger scale.

“With his videos, he can go a lot further and work on a bigger scale than where he’s at,” Painter said. “He’s definitely really reliable to get pictures and videos really quickly and communicates really well. I’m excited to see where this takes him.”

Crupi said that there is not an individual he takes inspiration from, but there are music video directors and YouTubers that he has studied to get ideas from, such as filmmaker Sam Kolder. With all the experience he has earned and the relationships he has built, Crupi states that he is confident he will be able to turn this into a career.

“I've been fortunate enough to have surrounded myself with a great and successful group of friends,” Crupi said. “Being around other people that are constantly growing and pushing each other is the best form of motivation, but you also have to be able to motivate yourself and in-vision what the future can be.”

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