Behind the scenes of “We Are Optimus”

They are Optimus. Whether it’s creating and delivering top-notch, award-winning content or throwing their legendary block party, which was talked about for an entire year… until the next, this diverse collective of award-winning editors, filmmakers, storytellers, and artists share an unrivaled passion for life. And more importantly, each other. You can feel it the moment you enter their doors.

Nowhere does Optimus’ love for Chicago and creativity come through more than in their new home video – “We are Optimus.”

Inspired by the Apple ad, “Creativity Lives On,” editor and partner Angelo Valencia wanted to drill deeper into an Optimus creative’s life. Having seen a lot of content showing the various workstations that people have set up at home, to me that seemed like a given.  We wanted to go beyond that and showcase that we as creative people have other outlets—ones that we have found, developed, or enhanced during these times.”

Once the concept was approved, the project took approximately two weeks to produce. All content was original, created and submitted by the Optimus staff from home.  “We had two editors working in tandem on it throughout the process and the piece was completed with full color, mix and finish,” Valencia told Reel Chicago.

“It is meant to capture a moment in time that we as a company could look back on one day and say we went through this together.  We also wanted to share a little bit more of our creative selves with our dear clients, friends and family.  We have no doubt in our ability to seamlessly execute any project, even while working remotely from home.  But you, me, each and everyone of us, are so much more than that,” added Brian Hrastar, Executive Producer. Watch below:

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“What Optimus people love to do more than anything is rally around each other. This whole WFH time has proven how resilient, creative, and engaged our people are. When Angelo came up with this idea, it got us all excited to show a little bit of our individual personalities in an open and creative way,” Tom Duff, Optimus’ Presdent noted.

On a personal note, Optimus helped me with my first short film, The After Party. When I – a poor director over budget and out of money – asked Tom if he could help me, he didn’t bat an eye. He assigned his Senior Audio Engineer Marina Killion to help me with a superb 5.1 mix. That’s the Optimus way.


  • Edited by Ben Winter & David Cea 
  • Edit Supervised by Angelo Valencia
  • Edit Assist by Margo Hess
  • Color by Paul Galati
  • Color Assist by Kalvin Johnson
  • Original Music & Mix by Ben Treimer

Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1