A multi-award winning Director, Executive Producer and Creative, Pete Guzzo doesn’t think outside the box. His mantra is, “What box?” His eclectic and notable 15-year career includes over 100 productions. He’s directed everything from the devastatingly emotional PSA Against human trafficking in Tampa, the deeply sweet and personal Jackson Memorial commercial, and an inspiring weight loss product.
Pete is a creative with unlimited vision. The space from which he works best is outside of the creative box. He always looks to expand his horizons and constantly seeks creative challenges.
Pete has forged an eclectic career from behind the camera. He has quickly catapulted to success through a variety of production experiences as a Commercial Director, Executive Creative, Executive Producer, and Indie Film Director, winning numerous and substantial global awards
In the wee hours of any given morning you’ll find Pete coming up with ambitious workout routines, conjuring new grill recipes with his smoker and juicing everything from turmeric to golden beets.
Pete’s creativity continues away from his production work. He creatively challenges himself by coming up with new, ambitious workout routines, grilling new recipes on his smoker, or volunteering to produce PSAs for non-profit organizations and charities.
Pete’s rich background and elevated production experience ensure that he has nurtured and grown many client relationships with advertising agencies and their clients, reaching and even exceeding their financial goals and marketing results.
From your original career plan, when and what made you get into the Arts & Entertainment Industry?
Pete: I have always been a creative person who is intrigued by the mysteries of the universe and the human spirit. I actually started off studying philosophy during high school. During my time at Pennington Prep in New Jersey I took a couple of Philosophy classes and instead of going out on Friday and Saturday night I decided to read about philosophers and Greek Mythology. I won an award (that never existed before at this school) for my research and report on the Human Mind.
After studying Philosophy and Poetry for the next two years of my life I quickly learned that I would rather voice my opinion using my vocal cords instead of writing about it all the time. I turned to the radio and was a DJ at Rowan University for over a year.
However, my pursuit of becoming a DJ quickly went away after moving to Tampa and attending the University of Tampa which had a radio station that only had a reach of .2 miles.
My Communication and Law professor actually turned me on to Film and Video Production. He took us over to the local Public Access (his client) and they told us that they would teach how to shoot, light, work in the master control, and how to produce a show For Free. I jumped all over this. I finished my 13 weeks of training, gathered all of my friends, and for the next three years we produced a local television show compiled of skits, live discussion panels, and goofy game show segments. As soon as learned these new skills I new this is where I wanted to use all of my creative energy. And ever since that day I have spent probably about 80% of my time (I need to date and eat) molding my craft.
What type of training did you get? or Where did you train?
Pete: As I stated above I received my local training at the local Public Access studio. I did take about 4 production courses where I luckily had a great film professor (Dr. Tregenza) that I latched onto his experience for two year learning whatever I could from him. However, most of my training was in the field. UT didn’t have a film program then, so I had to learn most it through internships (City of Tampa Television – an awesome place to for an internship!), directing/shooting/editing short skits with my friends, and spending a bunch of my parents money on our first film ‘A Joyce Story’ (that surprisingly had distribution.)
Throughout my early years in the industry I learned so many valuable skills by simply screwing up and learning how to make my craft better the next time. So many students are so afraid of failing or of people not liking their work that they would rather do not take risks as a filmmaker and not create on their own. I always tell students ‘An artist isn’t artist if he doesn’t paint’ ‘A musician isn’t a musician if they don’t play’ and ‘A filmmaker isn’t a filmmaker if he doesn’t make films.’
I have never been scared of failure and that is why I have always been able to succeed in this industry. And to be honest I never stop training or learning. I learned essential skills through internships and early grunt work, I learned my creative edge working on films with my brother, I was able to reshape my style after working at Tampa Digital and watching a great commercial director on staff and even today I am constantly learning more effective techniques while working on different projects.
However, most of my training has come by working with my brother on multiple award winning films over the last ten years.
After your training, how or what helped you get a job? Or tell us your early professional years.
Pete: My career began at the age of twenty holding a microphone in a courtroom as a production assistant for a County Television Station. The only exciting part of my day was when the main microphone died, so I could jump up and replace it.
Four years of college never prepared me for the cold hard truth that I would not enter the real world as a famous Director or Producer. I would enter a runt and it was up to me to guide my career in the right direction.
Therefore I realized if I was going to make it in this industry I would need to take matters in my own hands and prove to colleagues and myself that I would one day could become a successful Creative, Producer and Director in the industry as my choice.
I decided to start up my own film and video production company and eventually reenter college to obtain my MBA. After successfully running a small business for five years and Directing multiple award winning films I was hired by Tampa Digital as an on staff Director/Senior Producer.
As I was working at Tampa Digital I started to rack up accolades and Addy awards for my commercial work for clients such as: The Salvador Dali Museum, Human Trafficking is in Tampa Bay, Dell, Transitions, Purina, TEDx… just to name a few, but I never let myself become complacent in my career.
I knew if I wanted continued success (and to keep my creative side happy!) I would still need to take matters in my own hands and push myself beyond the workplace to accomplish other goals in my life.
While working at Tampa Digital I was able (along with my brother, Paul Guzzo, screenwriter) to keep our company Guzzo Bros Films going strong and went on to Direct and Produce a multiple award winning film “Caged Dreams”, I was the Producer and Director on the feature film ‘Who is Delsin?’ (Distribution: Osiris Entertainment – Street Date, July 2013) and I was the Producer and Director for a family fairy tale pilot “Childish Dream Tales (currently being shopped around, 2013.)
Over the years I also made sure to give back to the community by volunteering at organizations such as; Meals on Wheels and the SPCA of Tampa Bay. I amongst several colleagues also hold film schools where we educate students on how to become successful in the media/entertainment industry.
I did not choose the easiest or most lucrative industry to enter or to maintain to be in, but I quickly learned as cutthroat as this field can be it is one of the most awarding industries in the world and I never once doubt my choice of careers.
What are your future plans?
Pete: I plan to continue to enhance my skills as commercial/film director and producer within the industry. There are so many different jobs out there for a creative and I plan on touching upon most of them before I am done. I would touch upon on all of them, but everyone needs to vacation once in awhile.
My newest goal is to work with my community by launching Jolt and making it a successful organization. Chanse and I both feel very strongly about the concept of Jolt and know that the team (Mike Compton, Joe Davison, Kim Jackson, Ginger Watters, and Curtis Graham) at Jolt is going to make sure that this organization is a success.
What is Jolt to you?
Pete: Jolt is a culmination all of our business and community experience. It is sharing our knowledge as professionals with the students and using it to help give back to the nonprofits of Tampa Bay. Jolt to me is the obvious symbiotic relationship that should occur in our community. Jolt is built to help our nonprofits by supplying them with essential marketing needs, the programs are designed to keep the young creative minds in Tampa by helping them build their portfolio, and it most importantly it exemplifies that when you are passionate about your career – great things will happen.