Latin - Noun captīvitās f (genitive captīvitātis); third declension
1. To Capture
Chasing your dreams in life is something we at Noble are always pushing you to do. Juan Leon did just that and soon realized it wasn’t for him. Since he attempted to achieve his dream he eventually found his true passion. Working full time, a full time side hustle and a family to provide for hits close to home for many of us. Tell Alexa to stop the music, grab a bang energy drink, put your Warby Parker reading glasses on and get ready to meet Captivitas.
NOBLE: Tells us a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you currently reside and what you do for a living.
CAPTIVITAS: Hi my name is Juan Leon also now known as Cap in the social world, I currently reside and grew up in Central Coast California. I am married to my best friend and we have a three year old boy and another one on the way! For work, I currently do bookkeeping for a small Ag Company and photography/film on the side.
NOBLE: When you were young what did you want to be when you grew up?
CAPTIVITAS: Since I can remember I always wanted to be a professional soccer player. I grew up watching my brother play, so I started playing at the age of 6(and currently still play when I can) after High School I moved to Mexico City to pursue my dream. I was there for about 1 year, playing semi pro. While playing soccer in Mexico I started getting sick physically and homesick, I would travel 3 hours to practice and 3 hours back everyday just to train and eventually my body could not keep up., so I made the decision to move back and start college.
NOBLE: Tell us a little about college?
CAPTIVITAS: Once back in Cali I enrolled in a local Junior College, Allan Hancock College. There I played soccer for two years and enrolled in their graphic design program. Since I did not want to move out of the Central Coast I figured it would be easier to find a job in the business field, so I switched to the business program with an intent to transferring. After completing all the required general ed, I applied to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and got accepted. Huge relief as I was the last out of my siblings to get accepted and graduate from there. I graduated with a bachelors in Business Administration, Concentration in Accounting.
NOBLE: When did you decide you wanted to get into videography?
CAPTIVITAS: A few years back I bought a GoPro, and we took a trip up to Big Sur with a couple friends. I filmed the trip and made a 2 minute edit, which I uploaded to Facebook and got a lot of positive feedback. Prior to this trip I would never go out, I was big on staying home and playing FIFA all day, but the trip and GoPro literally changed the way I spent my free time. I was suddenly hooked on exploring new places and making videos. While all this was happening, SLO County Parks and Rec had a hiking challenge, where you had to Hike 7 peaks and take a picture/ tag to get a shirt. I took it a step further and would create video edits or time lapses for each peak. The more I would post, the more people would reach out and compliment my work. After completing the challenge the SLO Parks and Rec team reached out to see if they could hire me to film a Skateboarding Competition. I was in shock, somebody actually wanted to pay me to do something I genuinely loved doing (It still amazes me that people are willing to pay me to do something I love.) I knew I could not deliver quality content with a GoPro so it was then when I bought my first DSLR. After buying my first DSLR I got hooked into photography. My everyday routine consisted of going out and capturing all these rad landscapes. We have so many beaches, dunes open landscapes here on the coast that everyday was an adventure. I was still doing video here and there, but suddenly my main focus was landscape photography. This went on for about 2/3 years, I met tons of other talented photographers, traveled too lots of neat places that otherwise I would have never visited. A couple years ago, we actually took a 2 week road trip with our 9 month old at the time to Nevada, Utah and Arizona to explore, what they call the "South West" We visited a total of 10 National/State Parks, definitely something we will remember for years to come! After our sons first year I made a highlight reel from the moment he was born up to his first birthday. When I uploaded that video to Instagram, again a lot of people started reaching out, inquiring about photography and video.
NOBLE: How did you come up with the name Captivitas?
CAPTIVITAS: Once I started taking things a bit more serious, I knew that:
- I did not want my name or last as my "business name" not that there's anything wrong with that, but there are a million Juans on this earth lol.
- If I ever did create a business I wanted it to be more than just photography and video, something that I could brand beyond my images.
- The word Captivitas is a Latin word which translates to "capture" and the three triangles represent the "A's" and "V" respectively, in Captivitas and they stand for Explore/ Create /Transcend.
NOBLE: Tell us a little about your brand and what it means to you.
CAPTIVITAS: My mission statement really defines it best, Explore, Create & Transcend
Explore- be open minded and try new things, it's ok to be different.
Create- Get creative, don't settle for the first thing that comes to mind.
Transcend- Always learn and grow
On a more personal level though, Captivitas, means freedom. Freedom to let my creativity flow, freedom from my daily 9-5 routine and freedom to express myself.
NOBLE: How do you feel you differentiate yourself from other videographers?
CAPTIVITAS: Personally I feel that over the years of doing both landscape photography and videography it has helped me develop a unique style. My colors are vibrant yet moody, which came from shooting sunset after sunset, and a lot of clients seem to really like that style along with the way I tell stories through my visuals.
NOBLE: What do you enjoy most about running your business?
CAPTIVITAS: Being able to say that "I Love My Job!" Like I mentioned earlier, it amazes me that people are willing to pay me to shoot photos or videos because they genuinely love my work. I love music and in the past year I've really focused on directing music videos, and being able to work and bring visuals to life for music has been awesome! Lastly, just being able to meet and work with other like-minded individuals is rad!
NOBLE: What are some of the biggest challenges of running it?
CAPTIVITAS: Currently, this Corona Virus! There are lots actually, but I feel the biggest is Uncertainty. Not knowing whether you will have work in 4 months or even a month from now is scary! Luckily it has been nonstop over the last year, being able to book almost two months in advance has been a blessing. Currently I'm stuck in a weird transition stage between my office job and going full time with my business. My goal for this year is to go full time, but in the meantime I work Monday through Thursday at the office and spend the rest of my time working on my business. This includes time after work and weekends, which brings up another challenge, time. Balancing work, my business and personal life has been difficult, my work day is not over when I leave the office, I still go home and edit for hours at a time, sometimes sacrificing sleep, but most importantly sacrificing time with my loved ones. I find myself spending every other weekend in LA now oddly enough (which was why I chose business as a career, go figure) and after a while it drains you mentally and physically. I know this challenge is temporary and all the sacrifice will pay off in the end.
NOBLE: Most people don’t see the endless work and effort that goes into running a business. Shed some light on this topic and share a little bit of what actually goes on behind the scenes.
CAPTIVITAS: There is tons of back end work, from prepping/cleaning your gear/ creating treatments/ location scouting, but of course the most time consuming is all the editing! I feel like people sometimes don't have a clue of what it takes to even make a 30 sec video. Now imagine creating a whole story that goes with a song, commercial or even a wedding. I can usually shoot a full music video in one day, but that usually consists of a 12 hour day of filming, with little to no breaks. There are so many moving parts on shooting day, that it is imperative to prepare beforehand. This is, just the creative process, there is a whole business side of it as well, dealing with clients, invoices, contracts, scheduling shoots, dealing with budgets and EXPENSES! Gear is expensive, besides the camera and lenses, you need lights, stabilizers, drones, sd cards, editing software, licensed music, hard drives (I went through about 10 "2 TB" hard drives last year) And of course you can't do anything without a computer, so I recently invested and built a computer specifically for editing.
NOBLE: What are some of your plans for future growth?
CAPTIVITAS: My ultimate goal is to eventually have a full production team so I can really focus on directing and having the ability to take on other projects and spending more time with my family. I know this will take time, but I really want clients to come to me with ideas and have the ability to make it happen regardless of what it is. In the meantime, just working building relationships and learning as much as I can, landing bigger shoots and capitalizing on every opportunity I get. Like I mentioned above when I created Captivitas I wanted it to be more than just photo and video, I really like fashion so a clothing line is on my list. I released my first shirt late last year and it did really well, but I want people to buy my clothes because they like it not because they want to support me. Currently working on a sweater!
NOBLE: How many hours do you work per week?
CAPTIVITAS: I work 32 hours per week at my office job and around 5 hours editing per day after work so about 25 hours per week plus Filming on weekends. Film days(Friday/Saturday) , typically can range from 4 hours to 12 hours a day just depends on the type of shoot.
NOBLE: What does success mean to you?
CAPTIVITAS: Being able to provide for my growing family!
NOBLE: Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
CAPTIVITAS: Definitely doing film/photography full time and hopefully have a full team/studio.
NOBLE: What's currently at the top of your playlist?
CAPTIVITAS: Bad Bunny!!! and honestly a lot of underground/local artists. Artists send me tracks for music videos all the time so I listen to them all day and jot down ideas.
NOBLE: Do you have any words of motivation you can offer entrepreneurs or anyone thinking about starting their own business or being a videograhper?
CAPTIVITAS: Things don't happen overnight, at least not for most of us. It takes time, dedication and hard work. As far as filming/photography, learn to shoot in Manual mode and shoot every opportunity you get. Be smart, but be willing to take risks, stay grounded and don't forget to Explore Create and Transcend!
NOBLE: Anyone you would like to thank or shout-out?
CAPTIVITAS: First and foremost the wifey for holding it down while I'm out pursuing this crazy dream of mine. Shout out to Noble Timepieces for the opportunity not only to be on the blog, but for trusting the vision. Finally shout to all of my clients who continue to believe in my work and keep pushing me evolve as creative.
Thanks so much Cap! We really appreciate your time and we wish you nothing but success! Feel free to follow him and check put all his incredible work on IG @_captivitas_ and check out his website to learn more. (https://www.captivitasmedia.com/) Over at the Noble HQ we’ve had to halt several projects we were working on because of the novel corona virus. We are all healthy, feeling great and ready to get back to work as soon as we can. Stay tuned for the next edition of Motivation. Don’t let the corona virus stop you from what you were in the middle of pursuing. Stay positive, stay humble and never give up!
-Westley Noble | Founder