X4Y Filmmakers

How To Succeed as a Creator: YouTube Filmmaker Matteo Bertoli Interviews X4Y’s Michael Sugar

X4Y can grow revenue for creators anywhere in the world by helping to sell their unbranded commercials, films, and other content to brands on the X4Y marketplace.


Matteo Bertoli welcomed X4Y founder Michael Sugar for a one-on-one interview for his filmmaking-focused YouTube channel.

The Italy-born cinematographer and Oscar®-winning producer shared their content production tips, talked about the best ways to get discovered in Hollywood, and of course everything X4Y, which Michael sees as an innovative – and badly needed – solution to building a career as a filmmaker.

Since day one of X4Y, the X4Y team has been continuously impressed by Matteo’s YouTube channel and his “how to” production videos which he publishes regularly to his community of over 50,000 strong. Matteo has fostered a community of aspiring as well as established filmmakers that spans the globe – an international appeal and diversity that aligns with the X4Y vision.

While headquartered in Los Angeles, the X4Y team has always seen X4Y as a tool for creators around the world. X4Y believes that all types of creators, anywhere, can grow their careers if they have access to hundreds of buyers in need of good creative, and the ability to connect with thousands of other creators looking for collaborators. Keep an eye out for the Creator Profiles and full marketplace launch in early 2022!

Check out some highlights from the interview below.

X4Y believes that all types of creators, anywhere, can grow their careers if they have access to hundreds of buyers...

Michael Sugar: We’re creating an opportunity, a new product, as well as a new market.

MS: So the market [X4Y] links creators and brands. The product is unbranded content. So we are trying to say to all these people who are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars globally on short films and on creative that will not ever monetize to take the same effort, the same money, less time probably, and make 30-second commercials that have brand ubiquity, that can speak to many, many, many brands because it is emotional or funny and moving or shocking or whatever it is, and some company can slap their logo on that; they will own it. You, the creator, sets the price so you’re happy, your team is happy, and it’s off.

Michael: The other thing that it will create, and it already has, is a community inside of X4Y for creators to collaborate with each other.

MS: So now, with X4Y, when you have an account, you will be able to interact with each other. If you have a great idea but you need a director, you can find one. If you’re a filmmaker and you need a great cinematographer, you can find one. If you need an animator, you can find one. If you need music, we got it.

Michael: I think brands are starting to see… that they’d rather have something really emotional or funny or memorable and then put their logo on it than have their product in the actor’s hands.

MS: And I think that evolution is gonna open up the door widely for what we’re doing at X4Y.

Matteo Bertoli: I think [people] are tired of seeing just the car driving through skylines and everything, you know? Maybe a story with the grandpa and the kid together, I think that’s the future for sure. And what’s behind the thing is interesting because of the network you have of connection, right?

MS: This hinges on company, on buyers being in the marketplace for the creative. Now I should say, the real solution here is, you spend a thousand dollars making something and maybe Gatorade buys it, but probably not because there’s a lot of friction against that. But there are thousands of companies that can’t afford or don’t think they can afford a commercial, right? I’ve spoken to so many companies who wish they had the ability to make a commercial but they can’t afford to go to a creative agency, to figure out production, take that risk. So that doesn’t have to be everything selling for global brands. In fact, it’s designed for the millions of companies that advertise on our Twitter and on our Facebook and on our Instagram. And so the perceptual advantage of a produced, high-end video content is a massive unlock and a massive solution at scale for a global community of advertisers, tens of millions of them.

Michael: If your audience thinks about the 10 commercials they remember, they will remember the commercial 9 out of 10 times if not 10 out of 10...

... but they won’t remember what the product looked like, who was holding it, what the car was. My proposition to creators globally is this: Think about a 30-second story. Shoot that story. Have it be funny, have it be emotional, have no brands inside of it. Don’t wear a Nike swoosh. Don’t make it for Gatorade. Don’t make it for a brand. Make it a story.

Don’t make it for a brand. Make it a story.

Matteo: Pretty amazing what you said is true. Because sometimes we put those Nike sneakers in there because we’re trying to do it for Nike, but that’s a big mistake...

... especially if you want to sell it to another brand. Because of course what I tell other people is that Nike will never buy it. I mean, it happened, what, once in a million times.

MS: Nike will never buy it, like you said. And also if you were making a lemonade stand as a kid and said, ‘I only want to make this cup of lemonade for my neighbor Joe.’ If Joe’s not home, you don’t sell any lemonade. So you make a lemonade stand for anyone who’s driving by. And so we’re doing the same thing with commercials. Make a commercial for anyone who’s driving by.

Michael: We are also going to be blasting out opportunities to make spec commercials for a specific buyer.

MS: So we will come to you, the creative community, and we will say, ‘this company is offering $100,000 to the best spec commercial.’ This is a great way to get into the spec commercial game. You’re not guaranteed to get that $100,000 award because… the brand is gonna choose its winner. But, the beauty of doing it this way is that once that winner has been selected, if it is not your commercial, you can still put your commercial on X4Y and we can help sell it to a different company.

MB: I’m pumped, man. I can’t wait to do more specs.

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