Member Feature: Brandon Carleton

Meet Creative Member Brandon Carleton

How long has Brandon Cartleton Content Creation been in operation? As a side-gig: 3 years. As a full-time job: 8 months.

Favorite part of the work you do: I love getting to meet new people and hearing their stories. A lot of my work takes me around the Midwest doing mission statement videos and capturing people’s stories. I get to work with people I’ve never met, in cities I’ve never been to, and sometimes speaking languages I don’t understand! It makes the world seem huge, but at the same time I feel connected to everyone. I love it.

Biggest challenge of being a sole proprietor: Definitely budgeting. I don’t have a steady paycheck coming in like I would if I had a typical job, so one month I might have five small projects and another month just one big project. I am learning to be smart and spread my money out and think ahead if I see months coming up where I know I won’t have several projects.

Inspiration: I try to follow people on Instagram that make me angry. I know that sounds odd, but there are some people that create things that make me say: “WHAT THE HECK. HOW DID THEY DO THAT? I COULD NEVER DO THAT IF I TRIED!” This motivates me to keep working and keep growing as an artist. Music is also a big inspiration for me. I listen to different music depending on the project I am working on to get my mind right.

Where did you learn to do such amazing animations? I taught myself to do it. I hate school. I always have. I can’t learn in classrooms. So I spent a ton of hours tinkering with different cameras, software, and watching YouTube videos. I still have a lot to learn—I’ve probably only mastered about 5 percent of the software I use. I often tell someone I can do something, have them hire me, and then I go learn how to do it!

You’re always wearing headphones at work. What are you listening to? If I have my headphones on I am probably listening to hip-hop of some sort: Nas, Lupe Fiasco, UGK, Atmosphere. My guilty pleasure is 90’s R&B: TLC, Aaliyah, R. Kelly, Bell Biv Devoe, All-4-One. If I’m not listening to music, I'm editing a video or animation, which requires listening to the same piece of audio a thousand times. So I put on headphones not to bother people!

What are you working right now? I'm currently working on a new music video for a local band, Condor & Jaybird, that is going to blow up soon. It’s been a fun process filming this video because we got a slow-mo camera and got some shots of people going crazy at a house party. Also, we did some different lighting methods I’ve never used before.

What are your top three professional goals for 2016? Number one would definitely be to diversify my client base. Two would be to have enough work to hire a second person to help me with my work. (Almost there!) Third would be to travel outside of the Midwest to film...and get paid to do it!

When you take time to look out the window at The Creative Collective, what do you see? I see a downtown area on the verge of something great. I really think the Quad Cities is going to grow a lot in the next 5-10 years and I think Davenport is leading the movement. It’s also fun to look out and see two breweries one block away!

Tell us about your dream of Taco Fest. Let’s make this happen. Be still my heart! I could talk for hours about local food. Long story short: In 2014, my good friend/business partner and I ate at every Mexican restaurant in the Quad Cities (over 45!) and we made a website ranking them all. We were blown away by the amount of awesome people, food, and culture in the Quad Cities that flies under most people’s radars. We thought a Taco Festival would be a great way to introduce people to all the culture our area has to offer.

Follow Brandon on Twitter and Instagram: @brandoncarletoncc.

Visit his website at

Check out Brandon's work for The Creative Collective: