Brandon Tauszik & Cameron Woodward take us inside the creative video production house known as Sprinkle Lab
It was Brandon Tauszik’s poignant documentation of streetside murder memorials that originally introduced us to one half of the creative partnership behind Sprinkle Lab. A videographer turned photo documentarian, Brandon’s a fixture of the Oakland arts scene, and has popped up here and elsewhere for work that’s stark, deliberate, and no frills in its approach. In 2012, Brandon partnered with his business savvy co-founder Cameron Woodward to form the indie video production house Sprinkle Lab.
Having crafted memorable videos for Bowties favorites like Antwon, Main Attrakionz, and Queens D. Light, and lifestyle campaigns for Levi’s and Mishka, their portfolio is an eclectic mix of art house visuals and for-hire commercial work. A few years in, it seems the future is bright for the duo. Having added a team of creatives to the squad in the past two years, today Sprinkle Lab runs as a lean business with their eyes on developing engaging visuals. Sitting down with Brandon and Cameron in their studio, we spoke to the founders about their early days as business owners, the challenges of entrepreneurship, and the greatness of Beyonce.
How did you guys first meet?
Cameron: We met in San Diego at a non-profit called Invisible Children.
Brandon: We’d both been there for a few years, and I was ready to move on, and feeling a bit restless. So I got a photo internship up here with a photographer named Jim Goldberg in the city. So I told Cameron, “Ok I’m gonna move,” and he was like, “I wanna move too…You know how to make videos, and I know how to run a business, we could try making a video business… And combine the skills we have.” That was just one Saturday night back at his pad, probably drunk. We were like, “Yeah that would be cool…”
And then the next day we thought, did that really make sense? And then two months later we moved up here.
How would you guys describe your approach to business?
C: I’ve always believed that survival is success when it comes to building a new business. If we can continue delivering for our clients — which to us, means making the best work we can with the resources we’re given; we know the challenges of keeping the doors open are worth our effort. We want to always be better, and we want to make beautiful work.
B: But it is scary. Regardless if you’re gonna end up in the streets or end up a failure in the eyes of your parents and friends. There is that risk [of failure], but you just have to take a step back and put it all in context. “Don’t be a pussy, come on, you can do it…”
You said your first office was in the living room?
B: We were trying to find housing while we were in San Diego, up here in San Francisco. And we quickly realized that our 4K would go mostly to rent in SF. So we tried Oakland and found two awesome ladies, who were crazy enough to let us take over their living room entirely for the office, and then they’d let us sleep in the attic for like $600 a month.
Wow. So from there how did you gain momentum to start a business?
B: We woke up Monday, ate breakfast, sat in the living room, opened our laptops, and were like, “Here we go…”
C: We really didn’t do much work before that. We were just like, “Monday it starts.” First job came in six or seven days later.
Having crafted visuals for creatives like Antwon and Queens D. Light, how do you choose which projects to take on?
B: My mentor always said, “Be careful what you’re good at.” If you don’t want to be a plumber, don’t be great at fixing sinks. Because chances are, people are gonna hit you up to come fix their sink for the next 10 years. So we want to be very careful about the projects we take on. We want to leave the door open, and make money, pay rent and pay our employees, but we also want to be very clear about what we’re making and what we’re putting on our site. Because if we’re not proud of it, or if it’s something that takes us in a different direction than where we want to be headed, then that’s ultimately shooting ourselves in the foot.
And in regards to creative versus commercial work, how do you navigate those waters?
B: You derive different value from doing each kind of work. With client work you have the ability to write that ambitious treatment and receive the budget to pull it all off correctly. The potential is there to make those grander ideas happen on film. While with music videos, you can have this great concept, a real dope song, but it’s like what can we effectively pull off for this pocket change?
If you could do a music video for anybody living or dead who would it be?
C: Definitely Beyonce. I think she’s a positive force culturally. And she has a budget to make something beautiful on camera.
B: Well I was gonna say Jay-Z but I can’t now. Recently I’ve been really into Wiki from Ratking out of New York. I’ve just been listening to them on repeat for the past two years. Recently it’s kinda art-rap music I’ve been listening to and seeing see strong visuals that could accompany it.
Much love and many thanks to the Sprinkle Lab fam, Irma Kollar: Producer, Matt Barnes: Head of Business Development, Eric Lattin: CFO, Cameron Woodward: CEO and Founder, Brandon Tauszik: Director and Founder and our big homie Bradley Smith: Head of Production.