Living the Dream

USD senior Mitch Flippo

CREATING A CAREER PATH THAT FEELS LIKE PLAY

For all intents and purposes, USD senior Mitch Flippo is living the dream. The 21-year-old has crafted a career path doing what he loves: creating visual stories through video, photography and fashion while traveling the world as much as possible.

While Flippo — who’s produced music videos for rapper Macklemore, traveled on tour for producer and electronic dance music artist DJ Cesqeaux and filmed at various music festivals and concerts in pre-pandemic times — describes himself as “super-competitive,” he comes across as soft-spoken and deliberate.

Drawn to all things aquatic, the Seattle native knew as a teen that he wanted to attend college in Southern California due to his love of the ocean and “the sort of chill, laidback vibe compared to Seattle, where it rains 60% of the time.”

A trip to USD’s campus sealed the deal. “Once I visited, it was hard to get over the beauty of campus,” he says. A public speaking class as a first-year student inspired him to choose to major in communications, primarily because he found the class really fun.

Although he doesn’t consider himself a social media influencer, a video that he made of himself and his friends simultaneously surfing and playing basketball went viral with millions of views on his website. But when ESPN and other big athletic accounts promoted the video, the engagement and views exploded exponentially.

“A lot of the stuff we did was surfing and watersports, which got a lot of views and engagement,” he explains. “So I started a clothing brand that I’d been working on, which I dropped online right when there was a lot of attention on us. It ended up taking off overnight, which was supercool.”

Once the lockdowns started to ease during the Spring 2021 semester, Flippo embraced the flexibility that remote learning provided. “It was kind of a blessing in disguise for me,” he says. He was able to travel to Mexico to do both fact-finding and look for inspiration for his as yet unnamed clothing line, recently spending two months in Mexico City, Baja and Tulum.

It’s been a learning curve, for sure, but he’s excited to see what comes next. “I don’t know what the new normal is,” he admits. “I think we all have to take things day by day, but I think things are starting to settle down. I’m excited to see San Diego how it used to be.” — Julene Snyder

 

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